Jesse Waugh

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Jesse Waugh (born May 6, 1974) is an American artist who works in painting, film, writing, and music. His short film El Angel was exhibited at the 5th LA Freewaves Festival held at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and his work has appeared on television and in other media.


Waugh was born in Berkeley, California on May 6, 1974. [2] Beginning in the early 1990s, he studied at Los Angeles City College, Pasadena City College, East Los Angeles College, and City College of San Francisco. During this period, Waugh began working with various media and art combinations. His film El Angel , shot in the form of an old silent film, chronicles the birth, climax and death of Los Angeles, commenting on how greed corrupts art and commerce; [3] the film was exhibited at the 5th LA Freewaves Festival in 1997 (which was held at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art). [3] After graduating from San Francisco State University in 2000, and subsequently spending some time in Europe, Waugh returned to the US. Waugh took part in the University of Brighton's Master of Fine Arts exhibition in 2015.

Waugh's short films and physical works have been used to illustrate educational projects. He created artistic prisms which appeared as educational material on the BBC documentary Rocket Science in 2009. In 2012, video he shot of the Amazon rainforest was used in Episode 1 of the National Geographic Channel show Access 360° World Heritage. One of his paintings, a reworking of a Martin Johnson Heade painting, was used as the cover for the book The Rise and Fall of the Trevor Whitney Gallery by Lauren Rabb.

Conceptual style

Waugh employs the Latinate term Pulchrism (which dates to The Athenaeum [4] and journals of John Barton) as a name for his artistic movement that idealizes beauty as the purpose of art. [5] Pulchrism, as Waugh describes it, contrasts with the celebration of ugliness which he believes took place in Modernism. [6]



  • 1997 – Group exhibition, El Angel – Fifth L.A. Freewaves Festival [3]
  • 2003 – Art film screening, Nanay – Center for Environmental Studies, Brown University, Rhode Island
  • 2008 – Art film screening, El Angel and Hydrophobe , Pill Awards – New York City

Visual art

  • 1997 – Solo exhibition – Free Exhibition Not Prostitution Gallery, Los Angeles
  • 2015 – Group exhibition, Posthumous – University of Brighton, England, UK [7]
  • 2015 – Exhibition, Butterflies – Ingeborg Verlag, Horn-Bad Meinberg, Germany [8]
  • 2015 – Group exhibition, Beauty Sublime, Grand Parade Gallery – Brighton, England, UK [9] [10]

Written works

  • Jesse Waugh: Portrait of an Artist and His Strivings for Pulchrism (2011)
  • Pulchrism: Championing Beauty as The Purpose of Art (2015)
  • Paintings: 2013 (2013)
  • Paintings: 2014 (2015)
  • Paintings: 2015 (2016)
  • Paintings: 2016 (2016)
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