The Outwin: American Portraiture Today

Jun 1, 2024 — Sep 14, 2024
Level 2 Changing Exhibition Galleries

The Outwin: American Portraiture Today demonstrates how broad and ever-changing the genre of portraiture can be and highlights the potential for art to respond to adversity and promote positive change in the world.

About the Exhibition

Every three years the National Portrait Gallery invites artists working throughout the United States to submit recent work to the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. Out of 2,700 entries received in 2022, forty-two finalists were selected for inclusion in The Outwin: American Portraiture Today. This touring exhibition of contemporary portraiture illuminates the genre’s power to communicate a multitude of life experiences. The artists responded with works that engage and reflect contemporary society, many providing new insights into the unprecedented reality we have experienced in the time surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The selected artists create artworks in a wide range of media, including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, textiles, video, and performance. They demonstrate how broad and ever-changing the genre of portraiture can be and highlight the potential for art to respond to adversity and promote positive change in the world. 

The invited jurors for the 2022 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.

This exhibition has been organized by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

The competition and exhibition are made possible through generous support from the Virginia Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition Endowment.