The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today

April 30, 2022 - February 26, 2023

The National Portrait Gallery’s triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition celebrates excellence in the art of portraiture. As the realization of a gift made by Virginia Outwin Boochever (1920–2005) to the Smithsonian, both the competition and this exhibition demonstrate the power of one individual to make a transformative impact. The forty-two portraits on view here were selected through an open call that garnered more than 2,700 entries from artists working across the United States and Puerto Rico. The artists responded with works that engage contemporary society, many providing new insights into the unprecedented reality we have experienced in the time surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The selected finalists create artworks in a wide range of media, including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, textiles, video, and performance. They demonstrate how capacious and changing the genre of portraiture can be and illuminate the genre’s power to make visible a multitude of life experiences. 

The competition and exhibition are made possible by the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition Endowment, which was established by Virginia Outwin Boochever, a longtime docent at the National Portrait Gallery. The endowment is sustained by her family.

THE EXHIBITION

Marquetry of a man styling hair under a bridge


 

View all 42 portraits and vote for your favorite in this extraordinary exhibition.

The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today

VIDEO: Juror Perspectives

The invited jurors for this year’s competition were Kathleen Ash-Milby, Catherine Opie, Ebony G. Patterson, and John Yau. They were joined by the Portrait Gallery’s curators Taína Caragol, Dorothy Moss, and Leslie Ureña.

 

Native American woman in colorful dress

Exhibition catalogue:

The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today

Published to accompany the exhibition “The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today,” celebrating the finalists of the sixth triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition

This gemlike publication presents the work of the forty-two finalists in the 2022 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition and features an engaging essay by Taína Caragol, the National Portrait Gallery’s curator of painting, sculpture, and Latinx art and history, who directed this year’s triennial. Insightful entries on this year’s top prizewinners were written by Leslie Ureña, the museum’s curator of photographs and co-curator of the exhibition. The competition’s other five jurors (Kathleen Ash-Milby, Dorothy Moss, Catherine Opie, Ebony G. Patterson, and John Yau) also contributed short texts. In addition to showcasing excellence in the art of portraiture, The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today highlights art’s potential to respond to adversity and promote positive change. This book, the competition, and the exhibition are the realization of a gift made by Virginia Outwin Boochever (1920–2005) to the Smithsonian. The forty-two selected artworks were chosen through an open call that garnered more than 2,700 entries from artists working across the United States and Puerto Rico.

96 pp. | 75 color reproductions
Paperback
Available in the Museum Store