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Multi-Faceted Art World Phenomenon, Wayne White, Explores the Battle of Hampton Roads in a Multi-Media Installation at Virginia MOCA

Monday, September 11, 2017

Dot Greene 
PR & Marketing Specialist 
757-425-0000 x321 


(Virginia Beach, Va.) Aug. 18, 2017 — The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) announces the opening of their Fall/Winter Exhibitions on view Sep. 16, 2017 through Feb. 11, 2018 featuring an exclusive on-site installation; Wayne White: MONITORIUM. Artist, designer, author, entertainer and the subject of the 2012 documentary, Beauty is Embarrassing, Wayne White explores the 1862 Battle of Hampton Roads through a multi-media installation of the first battle of ironclad ships. Focusing on the intimate, human side of this game-changing moment in US naval history, the Union’s USS Monitor will set the stage for White’s dynamic exhibition. White’s experience as set and character designer for shows like Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and music video art direction for The Smashing Pumpkins and Peter Gabriel will transform MOCA’s TowneBank Galleries into an evocative world of maritime wonder. Monumental-sized puppets, props, dramatic lighting and sound will carve out White’s unique perspective, featuring individuals who helped shape the Monitor’s history.  

The Mariners’ Museum and NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary have been instrumental partners in facilitating the veracity of White’s vision. These organizations, dedicated to maritime history, have been enormous resources; providing history, facts, and data (and in one case – sound) about the USS Monitor. In celebration of MONITORIUM, MOCA and The Mariners’ Museum will launch a reciprocal membership program, allowing members of both museums free admission to their perspective institutions for the duration of the exhibition. 

Alongside MONITORIUM is an exhibition featuring nine Virginia artists titled Small Works, Tall Tales. This exhibition presents smaller scale sculpture from artists who infuse their work with sharp wit and a complex interpretation of the world around them. Each artist presents pieces of their own narrative in a vast array of sculptural material. Artists include: Kim Overstreet and Robin Kranitzky, Wade Mickley, Deborah G. Rogers, Robin and Julia Rogers, Tracey St. Peter, John Tobin, and Aggie Zed.  

MOCA’s Community Gallery will feature Toobz Muir: Misshapen Demise. Muir is a Roanoke-based artist known for his murals, surreal paintings and detailed graphite drawings using subject matter ranging from allegorical to darkly satirical themes. Primarily using spray paint, Muir freehand renders his work directly onto surfaces creating fantastical imagery that in his words is “both edgy and playful while also emerging from a personal place.” 

Exhibition exploration continues hands-on in ARTlab. Housed in MOCA’s Butler Gallery, guests of all ages can delve deeper into the story of the USS Monitor and its crew though a partnership with The Mariner’s Museum and The Office of the National Marine Sanctuaries at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Visitors may also create their own narrative by adding to a giant Mad Lib, pose for portrait using props inspired by the 1800’s, assemble their own cardboard character or discover more about the creative process of artists featured in Small Works, Tall Tales. 

Screening daily in MOCA’s Price Auditorium is the Disposable Film Festival (DFF). Selected by Moviemaker Magazine as one of “The World’s Coolest Film Festivals,” the Disposable Film Festival cultivates and supports filmmakers of the digital age through a juried competition. Submissions are created using everyday equipment, like cell phones, pocket cameras, and other inexpensive devices. 

This year, on the 10th anniversary of DFF, MOCA will present two different festivals; DFF X, which is the 2017 Disposable Film Fest, and the DFF 10-year retrospective. The first set of films are the winners chosen from this year’s submission. The second will highlight some of the best films from the past ten years.  

MOCA’s mission to education will branch into Hampton Road Public Schools in conjunction with MONITORIUM. MOCA will host A Day for Educators this fall to train interested art teachers how to create Wayne White-inspired, over-sized cardboard puppets. Character selection will be based on each school’s curriculum as it pertains to Virginia history. A “puppet parade” will occur in Virginia Beach’s Creative District, the ViBe, in celebration of the student artwork. 

“Creating works of art influenced by history affords students a unique, hands-on experience we hope translates into increased passion for learning – especially about subjects that can be more challenging to embrace,” said MOCA’s Director of Exhibitions and Education, Alison Byrne. 

In addition, the museum will present a diverse array of educational programs inspired by these exhibitions to the public. Highlights include: 

Small Works, Tall Tales: Panel Discussion  
Date: Saturday, September 16 
Time:  2:00 p.m. 
Cost: Free with admission 
Description: Small Works, Tall Tales exhibiting artists will discuss their inspiration, techniques, and process. Moderated by MOCA Curator Heather Hakimzadeh, panelist include artists Aggie Zed, John Tobin, Wade Mickley, Deborah G. Rogers, Tracey St. Peter, and artist teams Kranitzky and Overstreet and Robin and Julia Rogers.  

Master Class with John Tobin  
Date Saturday, October 14 
Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 
Cost: MOCA Members $60, Non-members $75 
Description: Small Works, Tall Tales exhibiting artist John Tobin will share his artistic viewpoint in this a unique class setting with one-on-one interaction with a contemporary artist. 

Free Admission on Veteran’s Day 
Date Saturday, November 11 
Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 
Cost: FREE admission for all active and non-active duty (Veterans) military and their families in honor of Veteran’s Day. 

Military Family Day 
Date Saturday, January 20 
Time: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. 
Cost: All active and non-active duty (Veterans) military and their families are invited to spend the day at MOCA. Create, explore, enjoy art, and most important, have fun together! Join a family conversations tour, play detective in a gallery scavenger hunt, and experience the interactive ARTlab. Families are also welcome to visit our Studio School for drop-in art making activities. 

USS Monitor: Heavy Metal on the High Seas 
Date: Tuesday, January 30 
Time: 6:30 p.m.  
Cost: MOCA Members, Non-members $5 
Description: Tane Casserley, Research Coordinator and Maritime Archaeologist, NOAA's Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, will discuss ongoing research to document the shipwreck of the USS Monitor and the maritime landscape of WWII's Battle of the Atlantic off the coast of North Carolina.  

MOCA’s Fall/Winter Exhibitions will debut Friday, September 15 with an opening reception starting at 6:30 p.m. featuring live music with Norfolk’s JANKS, creative fare, a cash bar, and complimentary valet. Guests can meet artists, including Wayne White. Tickets are free for MOCA members, $10 for non-members and may be purchased online at or by calling 757-425-0000. 

For more information about the exhibitions, visit MOCA’s website at


Wayne White: MONITORIUM is made possible by support from the members of MOCA’s Chairman's Circle. 

MOCA's exhibitions are supported in part by generous contributions from TowneBank, Capital Group Companies, and PRA Group, with major support from Acoustical Sheetmetal, Fulton Bank, Helen G. Gifford Foundation, Signature Family Wealth Management, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and Whole Foods, as well as the Business Consortium for Arts Support, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission.  

ABOUT WAYNE WHITE: Artist, art director, illustrator, puppeteer, and more, Wayne White was born and raised in Chattanooga, TN. White’s career has had a meandering path. Starting in the 1980’s, he worked for the East Village Eye, New York Times, Raw Magazine, and the Village Voice. White designed sets and characters for the hit television show Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, Shining Time Station, Beakman’s World, Riders in the Sky, and Bill & Willis. As a fine artist, White’s most successful works have been his word paintings. They feature oversized, three-dimensional text painted on top of vintage landscape reproductions. The paintings are thought-provoking and witty, with a pointed finger at vanity and ego. 


The Mariners' Museum and Park connects people to the world's waters because through the water – through our shared maritime heritage - we are connected to one another. The organization is an educational, non-profit institution accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and preserves and interprets maritime history through an international collection of ship models, figureheads, paintings, and other maritime artifacts. The Mariners’ Museum is home to the USS Monitor Center, and is surrounded by the 550-acre Mariners’ Museum Park, the largest privately maintained park open to the public in North America. The Mariners’ Museum Library is the largest maritime library in the Western hemisphere. Because of the Museum’s world-class collection and its reputation for high-level exhibits and programs, in 1999, the U.S. Congress designated The Mariners’ Museum as one of only two maritime museums that comprise America’s National Maritime Museum.  For hours and information, visit, call (757) 596-2222 or write to The Mariners' Museum, 100 Museum Drive, Newport News, VA 23606. 

ABOUT NOAA’s MONITOR NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY: Managed by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary was designated in 1975 to protect the wreck of the famed Civil War ironclad USS Monitor, which sank during a storm, 16 miles off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina in 1862. 

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.  Visit the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary online for more details: 

ABOUT MOCA: The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), located in Virginia Beach, is a non-profit that exists to foster awareness, exploration and understanding of the significant art of our time. MOCA is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). As Virginia's only museum dedicated solely to the exhibition of contemporary art, MOCA encourages visitors to discover and explore art and to engage in hands-on art experiences.  

MOCA is located at 2200 Parks Ave., at the entrance of I-264 in Virginia Beach. The Museum is open Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission is $7.70 for adults and $5.50 for seniors/65+, students (includes children 5 and up) and active military. MOCA members and children four and under are admitted free of charge.