Famed Corpus Christi Museum Reopens Even as Harvey Limits its Contact with the Outside World: The Art Must Go OnBY Catherine D. Anspon & Catarina Williams // 09.03.17
The Outwin's hefty first prize award of $25,000 went to Amy Sherald of Baltimore, Maryland, for her 2013 painting “Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance)." (Collection Frances and Burton Reifler, copyright the artist)
The Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi, where the national traveling portrait competition is currently on view through Sunday, September 10. The museum has gallantly reopened post-Harvey, in time for Labor Day weekend.
The Outwin portrait exhibition as installed at its organizing venue: the Smithsonian's venerable National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., 2016. (Photo Matailong Du)
Houston artist Marti Corn's "Johnny Jones," 2013, documents a resident of a disappearing Freedmen's Town south of Conroe, Texas. (Collection and copyright the artist)
Rigoberto A. Gonzalez's "La Guia (The Guide)," 2014, offers a Baroque take on life at the border. (Collection and copyright the artist)
One of seven prize winners: Sedrick Huckaby's "Sedrick, Sed, Daddy," 2014. The Yale Art School graduate returned home to Fort Worth to paint portraits of his community. He also created Big Momma's House, in Fort Worth, preserving his grandmother's Victorian-era home as a meditation on the power of place. (Collection Beverly and George Palmer. Courtesy Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden, Dallas. Copyright the artist.)
A masterful acrylic on paper by Gaspar Enriquez: "John," 2013 from De Puro Corazon series. The retired El Paso-area high school teacher has inspired many of his students to go onto creative careers. (Collection and copyright the artist)
Michael Meadors' "Agnes," 2013, demonstrates extraordinary prowess with graphite and enamel on paper, while possessing a retro vibe. (Collection Andrew Meadors, copyright the artist)
Brenda Zlamany's "Portrait #138," 2014, serves up a likeness of painter David Hockney. (Collection and copyright the artist)
Carolyn Sherer captures the awkward state of adolescence in "Lucy, 15 Years Old," 2014. (Collection and copyright the artist)
Louie Palu's "Deported," 2013, evokes the immigrant's plight. (Collection and copyright the artist)
Paul Oxborough;s "Harvey and Teddy," 2014, sensitively records a gay couple at home. (Collection Harvey Filister and Ted Bair, copyright the artist)
Christine Osinski's "Atisha at the Cooper Union School of Art," 2014, stands out as one of the strong photographic offerings of The Outwin. (Collection and copyright the artist)
Jarod Lew's "Audrey," 2014, emits a film noir vibe. (Collection and copyright the artist)
Allison Janae Hamilton's "Haints at Swamp II," 2014, is imbued with mystery. (Collection and copyright the artist)
Jona Frank's image of a young boxer is utterly timeless: "James, Post-Wirral Fight," 2013. (Collection and copyright the artist)
Donita Simpson photographs artist "Gilda Snowden in Her Detroit Studio," 2014, to produce a depiction of strength and determination. (Collection and copyright the artist)
Lucy Fradkin's "Arthur Dreams of India," 2014, forsakes realism for a charming folk quality. (Collection and copyright the artist)
Photography stood out at "The Outwin 2016": Maureen Drennan's "Shannan," 2013. (Collection and copyright the artist)
Tim Doud's "American Prize," 2014, conveys its sitter's theatrical personality. (Collection and copyright the artist)
Paul D'Amato snapped churchgoers "Margaret and Marquetta Tisdell, Original Providence Baptist Church," 2013, to create an unforgettable double portrait. (Collection and copyright the artist. Courtesy Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, Illinois.)
Claire Beckett's "April and her daughter Sarah," 2013, is among The Outwin's images of diversity. (Collection and copyright the artist. Courtesy Carroll and Sons Art Gallery, Boston.)
Wendy Arbeit's elegaic photograph, "A Moment in Time (1900s)," 2014. (Collection and copyright the artist)
Sculpture also literally figured into "The Outwin 2016": Dean Allison's "What would the earth look like if all the shadows disappeared?," 2014, formed from cast glass, resin, and paint. (Collection and copyright the artist)
Detail from John Ahearn's double portrait sculpture, "The Rodriguez Twins," 2014. (Collection and copyright the artist)
Thu Nguyen's charming and slightly surreal "The Valentine Dress," 2014. (Collection and copyright the artist)
Tim Okamura's "I Love Your Hair," 2013, puts forth an optimistic portrait of identity. (Copyright the artist. Courtesy Yeelen Gallery, Miami.)
Ray DiCapua's "Phyllis," 2014, presents an unflinching image of aging rendered in charcoal on paper. (Collection and copyright the artist)
“The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today” currently graces the walls of the Philip Johnson- and Ricardo Legorreta-designed Art Museum of South Texas (AMST) in Corpus Christi. And remarkably, the museum has reopened in the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s rampage through South Texas.
By reopening, the Corpus Christi museum is giving art goers two finals weekends to see the blockbuster which traveled from Texas from the prestigious halls of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C..
The D.C. museum is the organizing institution that every three years casts a wide net across the U.S. for the tip top of examples of the almost lost art of portraiture. In 2016, an astounding 2,500 submissions — from emerging talents to Yale-educated notables — were considered. The media submitted and ultimately selected are as diverse as the subjects of the portraits, spanning traditional oil painting, to Old Master-level drawing, photography, sculpture, and even digital animation and video.
The competition is named after the late Virginia Outwin Boochever, a docent of the National Portrait Gallery who dedicated her life for nearly two decades to sharing her knowledge and love of art with NPG visitors; the beloved volunteer passed away in 2005, leaving a generous bequest to fund the competition.
Intimate encounters with subjects and their implied stories, often intensely investigated, reflect the diversity of 21st century America. The exhibition at AMST features 43 finalists, addressing topics that are affecting our nation and world today.
The portraits probe gender, race, poverty, gay rights, migration, deportation, border issues, and family. The resulting images — searing, poignant, intense, ambiguous, or compelling — seem perfectly matched for our time.
A committee of august invited curators, critics, and artists oversaw the 2016 judging including the incomparable Jerry Saltz, senior art critic at New York magazine; John Valadez, a Los Angeles.-based realist painter and muralist; Helen Molesworth, chief curator at Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA); photographer Dawoud Bey, professor of art at Columbia College, Chicago; and National Portrait Gallery chief curator Brandon Brame Fortune and colleague Dorothy Moss, the NPG’s curator of painting and sculpture, who served as Outwin competition director.
Four Texas finalists made the curatorial cut: documentary photographer Marti Corn, a 2015 Houston Arts Alliance Grant recipient; painter Gaspar Enriquez, a retired high school art teacher from the El Paso area; painter Rigoberto A. Gonzalez, art professor at the University of Texas-Pan American, Harlingen (seen at Art League Houston in a 2012 solo, “Baroque on the Border”; and Fort Worth-based Sedrick Huckaby, Texas’ 2018 2D Visual Artist of the Year, recently profiled here for his ongoing social sculpture dedicated to his late grandmother.
Catch this remarkable ode to the face of contemporary America, and the courage of one hurricane-impacted coastal community and its museum to forge ahead. “The Outwin 2016” remains on view at the Art Museum of South Texas through Sunday, September 10.
Friday, September 8, 6 pm, hear Texas headliners Sedrick Huckaby and Rigoberto A. Gonzalez present insights into their creative process.
Note: the museum ‘s Internet access and phone lines are still down, but AMST will be open regular hours.