Wayne White 101: Why the New Art Exhibit at Artspace May be the Best of 2014

Photo Note: The featured photo is a promotional still from the documentary film about Wayne White, Beauty is Embarrassing.

The first time I saw the full schedule of Unscene Shreveport events in the works for 2014, my jaw dropped. Well, honestly, I can’t remember if it dropped. That was six months ago. But that’s how I picture myself reacting when I saw that, beginning in June and stretching into July, artist Wayne White would be bringing his psychedelic, hilarious and often profound art to Shreveport. This Friday, June 6, Artspace in downtown Shreveport will open an exhibit of White’s work called “I Took Off Work and Came All the Way Down Here: The Art of Wayne White” (Facebook invite). The show opens at 6 p.m. with live music by The Seratones, “nibbles” (I believe this means art reception food!) and – the best part – Mr. White himself in attendance. Admission is $10 or $5 with military ID.

If you’re not familiar with White’s body of work, here’s a Cliff Notes version of why – if you’re even casually interested in art – you ought to be very, very excited about this Friday night:

-As you may have heard, the man won three Emmy Awards for designing the set of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.

-White also art directed two of the more memorable music videos ever made, Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time” and The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight.”

-More recently, he’s been purchasing kitschy paintings from thrift stores and painting colorful, 3-D text on top of them, and the results are pretty delightful. Check out pieces like “Invisible Ruler” and “Gotta” for good examples of these irreverent paintings.

-If that’s not enough, he also builds giant puppets, such as the enormous puppet of George Jones’ head that he recently installed on the campus of Rice University.

What I love about White’s art is that it never fails to make me smile. The opening of “I Took Off Work…” on Friday night stands to be one of the most entertaining openings we’ve seen at Artspace – or any other local museum or gallery – in a very long time.

For more on Wayne White, visit his website.


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