Huckaby Named Smithsonian Competition Finalist

A painting from Assistant Professor Sedrick Huckaby (Art & Art History) that will included in an exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. (Photo contributed)
A painting from Assistant Professor Sedrick Huckaby (Art & Art History) that will included in an exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. (Photo contributed)

Assistant Professor Sedrick Huckaby (Art & Art History) has been named a finalist in a national competition hosted by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

Huckaby is one of seven finalists in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition and his work will be included in a juried exhibition set to open in Washington, D.C., on March 12, 2016. The first-prize winner will receive $25,000, as well as a commission to create a portrait of a living individual for the museum’s permanent collection. Winners will be announced March 10.

“It’s great that I’m in the top seven. There is stiff competition and if I win it, this will rank among my greatest accomplishments,” said Huckaby. “[The Boochever Competition] affirms that the work I’m doing is substantial. Portraiture still continues to capture the imagination of people and I’m honored to be included among some of the best work on display in the nation.”

The announcement has garnered praise from colleagues and mentors alike for Huckaby, who has won several major awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008.

Huckaby
Huckaby

“Sedrick Huckaby continues to contribute to The University of Texas at Arlington’s strategic plan and our message of national and international excellence,” said Robert Hower, professor and chair of the Department of Art & Art History. “Sedrick’s creative work is inspirational. The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition recognizes the best portraiture work produced in the United States. When the final results are announced, I am sure this recognition will be at the level of Sedrick’s Guggenheim Fellowship.”

After receiving more than 2,500 entries, the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition jury narrowed the field to 43 short-listed artists. Submissions included digital animation and video, large-scale drawings, prints, photographs and textiles, as well as painted and sculpted portraits. Jurors considered this exhibition a synopsis of historical and cultural events, particularly in terms of race, sexual identity, gender and concerns about protecting childhood in an age of technology and gun violence.

“I was very impressed with the social-impact choices made this year,” said Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery. “This year’s competition finalists are truly remarkable and reflect the rigor with which they were chosen by the judges. Each judge came with a definite and strong point of view about what he or she considered a portrait to be and how today’s artists are part of the national dialogue around issues of race, identity, family and community. I defy anyone coming to the exhibition not to be fundamentally moved by this year’s interpretation of the human condition.”

Held every three years, the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition was made possible by benefactor Virginia Outwin Boochever (1920–2005), a former Portrait Gallery docent who volunteered at the Smithsonian museum for 19 years. Boochever also shared the museum’s increasing interest in the important role that contemporary portraiture could play in the life of the gallery, as well as in heralding the museum’s engagement with figurative art and portraiture in today’s world.

Jurors for the fourth competition are Dawoud Bey, professor of art at Columbia College in Chicago; Helen Molesworth, chief curator at MOCA LA; Jerry Saltz, senior art critic, New York magazine; and John Valadez, a Los Angeles-based realist painter and muralist. National Portrait Gallery staff on the jury include Brandon Brame Fortune, chief curator, and Dorothy Moss, associate curator of painting and sculpture and competition director.

The competition has accelerated the careers of participants. The winner of the first competition (2006), David Lenz, created a portrait of Eunice Kennedy Shriver for the museum’s collection. Dave Woody, who was awarded the top prize for the second competition (2009), was commissioned to create a portrait of Alice Waters and Bo Gehring, whose video portrait won the third installation (2013), was commissioned to create a video portrait of Esperanza Spalding.

In addition to the juried prizes, one exhibiting artist will win the People’s Choice Award, which will be announced Sept. 20, 2016. Visitors to the exhibition, both online and in the gallery, will be able to cast a vote for their favorite finalists.

The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition exhibition will be on display in the National Portrait Gallery from March 12, 2016 to Jan. 8, 2017. The gallery is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture in Washington, D.C. After closing, the juried exhibition will travel to three host museums across the country from February 2017 through June 2018.

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About the College of Liberal Arts

The College of Liberal Arts at UT Arlington serves more than 4,000 students enrolled in 26 undergraduate and 21 graduate programs. National accreditation includes the Department of Art & Art History through the National Association of Schools of Art & Design and the Department of Music through the National Association of Schools of Music. The College of Liberal Arts employs more than 300 faculty across 12 departments; faculty awards for research and creative activity include a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Pulitzer Prize nominations, a winner of La Cruz Andina de Oro [Andean Golden Cross] from the Bolivian Government, and multiple awards from the Fulbright Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

About UT Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 50,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as one of the 20 fastest-growing public research universities in the nation in 2014. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as a “Best for Vets” college by Military Times magazine. Visit http://www.uta.edu to learn more, and find UT Arlington rankings and recognition at www.uta.edu/uta/about/rankings.php.

 

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