Beauty Is Embarrassing

Wayne White has two words for F. Scott Fitzgerald's contention that "There are no second acts in American lives": Fuck you. As any child of the '80s can recall, Pee-wee's Playhouse blew tiny minds and furrowed parental brows when it exploded onto children's TV screens. It was psychedelic-level bizarre, creepily annoying, and it was where White got his first big break. A few years down the line, the same kids were watching White's art direction in the video for Smashing Pumpkins' "Tonight, Tonight." And then things started to peter out. In Beauty is Embarrassing, we're given White's story in typical rise-and-fall fashion, but instead of the heavy substance-abuse dramas of celebrity biographies, here there's a stable marriage and supportive family. Perhaps it's this network that allowed White to reinvent himself by embellishing thrift store paintings with pithy, F-word-laden phrases and becoming a star again, this time in the "legitimate" art world. by Marjorie Skinner
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Neil Berkeley

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