Paula StruckmanCultural Confidential Contributor

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December 13, 2012
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Grand Junction Community Cinema presents 'Beauty is Embarrassing'

Journey back into the 1970s when hair was long, dissent prevailed, smoking pot reigned, and the psychedelic culture emerged. The artwork of Wayne White is a product of this era.If you're a fan of pop art and dark humor, you will love "Beauty is Embarrassing," a documentary by Neil Berkeley. Or, if you are interested in the story of a talented artist who left his rural Tennessee roots, moved to NYC, then LA, and back home to Tennessee, you will discover who Wayne White is, why his work is iconic in the art world, but often shunned by scholars.As early as first grade, Wayne's teacher predicted that he would be a great artist. Wayne was driven to create; he has been a sculptor, scene designer, puppeteer, art director and animated illustrator. Believing "that humor is the most important sacred quality" and that entertainment is lacking in the art world, wacky fun is an essential ingredient of his art. As he says, "Do things that shock people, and you attract kids of all ages."Starting with childhood cartoons and progressing to a creator of television's "Pee-Wee's Playhouse" and his Dirty Dog puppet, Wayne White has had fun spoofing societal values. Whether or not one is a fan of White's art, one cannot deny his proliferate creativity and craftsmanship, i.e., the large-headed puppet of Lyndon B. Johnson is both amusing and beautifully executed. Wayne is happiest surrounded by the junk he collects. What someone else would see as a twig, he sees as part of a composition; an odd shaped piece of wood has beauty. His studio overflows with mobile figures, masks and weird sculptures - all of which make one laugh.While in NYC, Wayne met a well established cartoonist, Mimi Pond; they were married, and after living in LA, returned to Tennessee. Mimi and Wayne have two children, a boy and a girl, both of whom inherited their parents' artistic talent. He credits Mimi with "keeping the universe in order" while he works.When viewing this movie, view it with an inquiring mind. Why was Wayne a dissident?How did his mother influence his humor? How did an accident shape his life? How did the explosion of visual technology inspire? Why is Beauty Embarrassing?

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The Post Independent Updated Dec 13, 2012 04:30PM Published Dec 13, 2012 04:29PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.