Wayne White's cardboard, hot glue and paint in Beauty Is Embarrassing | Film Review | Indy Week
Pin It

Wayne White's cardboard, hot glue and paint in Beauty Is Embarrassing 

Opens Friday

Wayne White in "Beauty Is Embarrassing"

Photo courtesy of Future You Pictures and Tremolo Productions

Wayne White in "Beauty Is Embarrassing"

The first thing you notice about Wayne White in Beauty Is Embarrassing, a documentary about the artist's life and work, is his intense, pale eyes sparkling from sunken sockets in one of the more worn-out, grizzled faces you've ever seen. It gives you the sense that he's been through the wringer. The wringer, as it turns out, is a persisting lack of recognition of this self-taught artist's talent, a lack that more or less ended with the 2010 publication of his book with the designer Todd Oldham, Now Maybe I'll Get the Respect I So Richly Deserve.

As it turns out, we've all been Wayne White fans for years. Remember Pee-Wee's Playhouse? White made and voiced all the puppets. That cool Smashing Pumpkins video with the Georges Méliès-like spaceship and moonscape? The insane look and feel of Beakman's World (ten times better than Bill Nye, by the way)? The Red Grooms-like machine puppets of Peter Gabriel's "Big Time" video? All cardboard, hot glue and paint wrought by Wayne White's restless hands.

White's now well-known in the art world for painting funny, ironic text on top of the pastoral landscapes of thrift-store paintings. Derivative of Ed Ruscha, you say? Well Ruscha never nestled the phrase "Heinies n' shooters w/hotties at Hooters" in block caps into autumnal kitsch so that the letters reflect in a pond. Ruscha wouldn't dare paint Fuck You Invasion, in which rows of White's favorite two-word catchphrase march through waves like forces storming Omaha Beach. White's an original, bitches. Deal with it.

Ultimately, Beauty Is Embarrassing is about how White's ego and identity have changed while weathering a rural Tennessee upbringing, Hollywood success and conflicted art-world aspirations. Plenty of more analytical questions go unasked, like, "Why is there so much latent sexual aggression in your work?" But the White you come away with is the man who tears up when his first-grade teacher randomly arrives at a book signing—a sincere and kind hooligan we all could sure use more of.

This article appeared in print with the headline "A great escape."

Tags:

Film Details

Beauty Is Embarrassing
Rated NR · 88 min. · 2012
Official Site: beautyisembarrassing.com
Director: Neil Berkeley
Writer: Chris Bradley and Kevin Klauber
Producer: Neil Berkeley, Milan Erceg and Morgan Neville
Cast: Wayne White, Mimi Pond, Woodrow White, Lulu White, Gary Panter, Mark Mothersbaugh, Ric Heitzman, Billie June White and Willis White

Trailer


Now Playing

Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for Beauty Is Embarrassing

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Film Review



Twitter Activity

Comments

I'd be more interested with different actors, but at least it's not a fucking super hero movie or squequel, so …

by terryboo on H.P. Lovecraft Meets Art House Cinema in the Odd, Ominous A Ghost Story (Film Review)

Spiderman homecoming is the best spider man movie that I have seen yet https://goo.gl/jhKahk

by Hazel Gomez on Spider-Man: Homecoming Makes a Fifty-Five-Year-Old Hero Feel Like a Kid Again (Film Review)

Most Recent Comments

I'd be more interested with different actors, but at least it's not a fucking super hero movie or squequel, so …

by terryboo on H.P. Lovecraft Meets Art House Cinema in the Odd, Ominous A Ghost Story (Film Review)

Spiderman homecoming is the best spider man movie that I have seen yet https://goo.gl/jhKahk

by Hazel Gomez on Spider-Man: Homecoming Makes a Fifty-Five-Year-Old Hero Feel Like a Kid Again (Film Review)

I was born and raised in Bertie County, and believe me, this was painful and beautiful to watch. I was …

by Tar Heels forever on Know More About Manhattan Than Your Embattled Neighbors in Rural North Carolina? Then See Raising Bertie. (Film Review)

Clint's film is trashy? maybe that's why all of us pigs would like to wallow in it.

by Jovana Dimitrijevic on In Her Remake of Clint Eastwood's Lurid, Trashy The Beguiled, Sofia Coppola Probes Deeper Rhythms (Film Review)

Thanks for spoiling the movie. Just because you didn't like it doesn't mean you have to ruin it for everyone …

by Carly L. on The Book of Henry Is a Blatant Tearjerker Whose Elaborate Plot Serves a Useless Solution (Film Review)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation