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Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2006

Sam and the Perfect World, David Lenz

Portraits are records of public figures, mementos of loved ones, documents of life’s milestones, and metaphors for the human condition. Today, portraits are created in all mediums, from painting to images created from sequenced DNA. There are just as many ways to create an exhibition, featuring the choices of one curator, a team, or through a competition. For this exhibition, with the support of Virginia Outwin Boochever, the National Portrait Gallery chose to hold an open competition, asking artists throughout the United States to submit painted and sculpted likenesses of people close to them. The jury saw only one portrait from each artist. From more than 4,000 entries from every state, the jury chose 51 works of art. They are as diverse as America, and represent numerous stylistic approaches. These are today’s faces, compelling our curiosity, and documenting the dynamic relationship between artist and subject.

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