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Hugo Crosthwaite, A Portrait of Berenice Sarmiento Chávez, 2018. Photo: Hugo Crosthwaite. Courtesy of Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.

National Portrait Gallery Awards Hugo Crosthwaite Its $25,000 Triennial Prize

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery announced that artist Hugo Crosthwaite has been named the first-prize winner of the fifth triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, which aims to reflect the contemporary state of portraiture in the United States. Recognized for his stop-motion drawing animation A Portrait of Berenice Sarmiento Chávez, 2018, Crosthwaite is the first Latinx artist to receive the $25,000 award since the national competition was founded in 2006. Following in the footsteps of Amy Sherald, the previous winner of the prize, the San Diego–based artist will receive a commission to create a portrait of a living individual for the National Gallery’s collection. With her commission, Sherald painted the official portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama.

Crosthwaite’s work, which recounts a woman’s journey from Tijuana to the United States in pursuit of the American dream, was selected from more than 2,600 submissions from artists working in fourteen states. The piece will be on view in the exhibition “The Outwin 2019: American Portraiture Today,” which addresses themes including the American workforce, gun violence, and LGBTQ rights, alongside fifty other works completed by finalists in the competition, from October 26 to August 30, 2020. Curated by museum curators Taína Caragol and Dorothy Moss, the show also features the first-ever performance—Sheldon Scott’s Portrait, number 1 man (day clean ta sun down), 2019—nominated for the prize.

In addition to Caragol and Moss, the jury for this year’s prize comprised artist Harry Gamboa Jr., codirector of the program in photography and media at the California Institute of the Arts; Lauren Haynes, curator of contemporary art at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; artist Byron Kim, senior critic at the Yale School of Art; and artist Jefferson Pinder, professor of sculpture and contemporary practices at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. National Portrait Gallery chief curator Brandon Brame Fortune also served on the committee. In May 2020, the museum will announce the winner of its People’s Choice Award, who will be chosen based on votes cast by visitors to the exhibition.

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