TAM to open Outwin exhibit Feb. 4

The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today, the exhibition resulting from the triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, will open at Tacoma Art Museum on Saturday, Feb. 4

Amy Sherald's 'Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance),' 2013, oil on canvas. Credit: TAM/Frances and Burton Reifler
Amy Sherald’s ‘Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance),’ 2013, oil on canvas. Credit: TAM/Frances and Burton Reifler

The exhibition features 43 innovative works in the art of portrayal including paintings, sculpture, drawings, photographs, and mixed-media installations. The variety of media and diverse approaches to exploring “self” and “other” will challenge preconceived notions of portraiture and expand visitors’ imaginations. The exhibition will be on view through Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 14.

The Outwin 2016 has been one of the Portrait Gallery’s most popular shows, drawing more than 900,000 visitors to their Washington, D.C. galleries. The exhibition features finalists from the competition’s fourth iteration. More than 2,500 artists from across the United States submitted entries. The Outwin 2016’s appearance at Tacoma Art Museum presents a rare opportunity for art lovers as this is the first time that the show has traveled beyond the Portrait Gallery. TAM will be the first stop on the national tour and the only West Coast location.

The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition is made possible by a gift from National Portrait Gallery volunteer and benefactor Virginia Outwin Boochever (1920–2005). Boochever was passionate about the transformative power of portraiture–one of the most beloved and timeless art forms.

“The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today showcases national conversations from the past three years,” said Kim Sajet, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, who will speak at TAM’s Members’ Opening Celebration on the evening of February 4. “These works not only are geographically diverse, they also reflect discussions around gender, race, poverty, healthcare, at-risk youth, migration and the power of family.”

Special events mark the opening day including a Curator Conversation at 3 p.m. with Dorothy Moss, Associate Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the National Portrait Gallery. Moss will talk about the competition’s history, and how the six judges went about selecting finalists from the thousands of entries. During the run of the exhibition, visitors can participate in a Portrait Party free community festival, artists talks, free Third Thursday gallery access and activities, and interactive social media opportunities.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring the Smithsonian’s exhibition to TAM and to the region. It is a great fit for many reasons. Portraiture is one of TAM’s collecting strengths. Portraits carry meaning that everyone can relate to. And it is a significant area of practice for many Northwest artists,” said Stephanie Stebich, Executive Director at TAM. “The Outwin 2016 brings a selection of the most exceptional and exciting works in portraiture from across our country. These portraits tell stories of national concerns that resonate in Tacoma, too. We look forward to sharing it with everyone.”

First prize went to artist Amy Sherald of Baltimore, for an oil on canvas titled Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance). Sherald received $25,000 and a commission to create a portrait for the Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection.


– Tacoma Art Museum