This week, Jared Bowen brings us a Smithsonian exhibition on portraiture and an Addison Gallery exhibition you must see before it closes. Plus, an encapsulation of “The Walking Plays” presented by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston.

“The Outwin: American Portraiture Today,” on view at Springfield Museums, extended through May 9

The Outwin: American Portraiture Today
"Legacy" by Wayde McIntosh. Oil on Dibond, 2017
Collection of the artist, courtesy of Springfield Museums

Every three years, the Smithsonian National Portrait gallery hosts the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. Artists from around the country are invited to submit portraits, and in 2019, 50 of the best works from more than 2,600 entries were selected to be showcased in “The Outwin: American Portraiture Today." Of note, Amy Sherald, who rocketed to fame with her official portrait of Michelle Obama, was the 2016 Outwin Prize winner. Now on view at the Springfield Museums, the exhibition features a variety of mixed-medium portraits — including stop-motion-animation, photography and sculpture — that were curated specifically to address our current political climate.

“This Outwin exhibition really takes the pulse of portraiture at this moment in time,” says curator Maggie North. “It's a massive range of media, but also of ways of understanding what a portrait can be.”

“Currents/Crosscurrents: American Art 1850-1950,” on view at the Addison Gallery of American art, closing on March 7

Currents/Crosscurrents: American Art, 1850-1950
"Brown and Silver: Old Battersea Bridge" by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, 1859–1863. Oil on canvas mounted on Masonite. 25 1/8 x 29 15/16 inches
Courtesy of the Addison Gallery of American Art

Now is your last chance to catch “Currents/Crosscurrents: American Art 1850-1950” at the Addison Gallery of American Art. Drawn entirely from the Addison’s permanent collection, this exhibition features highlights from 90 years of collecting showcased in chronological order. Works by iconic artists such as Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Jackson Pollock are hung alongside work by lesser-known artists from the same time period, creating a comprehensive picture of almost a century of American art-making. It’s a show by curator Gordon Wilkins that brilliantly creates reference points for a wide cross-section of artists both well-known and often, and more interestingly, those we’re just discovering.

“The Walking Plays,” a series of audio plays presented by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston

The Walking Plays - On Paying Attention
The walking route for "On Paying Attention," presented by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Courtesy of the Lyric Stage Company of Boston

Get an on-the-ground perspective of Boston with a new series of audio plays from the Lyric Stage Company of Boston. “The Walking Plays” feature works by six playwrights who weave a narrative along different walking trails of Boston. Audiences are encouraged to walk these trails while listening to the plays, with maps provided online by the Lyric Stage Company, although they can also be streamed from the comfort of home. The series premiered on January 15 with the release of “On Paying Attention” by Cuban-American playwright David Valdes. Two plays have been released so far, with four more slated for release later this year.

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