For every great master painter of genres throughout history, such as the Abstract Painting Art, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of artists whose work will never see the outside of their home or studio, or the home of their family members. These artists are just like the “American Idol” contestants who insist that they sing well, in spite of all evidence to the contrary. They make art not because they are any good at it, but because they love carrying it out.
There is certainly nothing as contemporary and abstract as bad art. Bad art has occurred throughout history, though with the advent of contemporary art, modern art, and abstract art, which question popular and standard conceptions of beauty, bad art has flourished. The essence of modern art is doing away with convention, and this includes whatever we consider good (or beautiful) art and bad art.
There’s actually a location on the planet where these issues aren’t just observed, but celebrated: The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA), in Dedham, Massachusetts, just away from Boston. (Their second branch is at nearby Somerville.) MOBA includes a permanent assortment of 500 items of, as their motto states, “art too bad to get ignored.” Their stated goal is, as his or her founders assert, “to celebrate the labor of artists whose works could be displayed and appreciated in no other forum.”
MOBA was founded in 1994, after antique dealer Scott Wilson found a painting, “Lucy inside the Field with Flowers” (which took over as the museum’s signature piece), in the trash. He showed it for some friends, who suggested that he start a selection of similar items of Abstract Painting Acrylic. Initially, the primary collection was shown in Wilson’s friends’ home, however it soon became quite popular and huge they had to move it to your more permanent place.
MOBA doesn’t just exhibit any bad art, so my attempts at portraiture (which are really just stick figures) wouldn’t allow it to be to the museum. Works accepted into MOBA has to be original and also have serious intent, nevertheless they should have significant but interesting flaws. The curators of MOBA refuse to display art that’s deliberately kitsch, or unhealthy for bad’s sake. At any rate, MOBA is the only museum in the world focused on collecting and exhibiting the worst. Its collection is actually a tribute for the sincerity in the artists who preserved their works even when something went horribly wrong along the way. In other words, MOBA celebrates an artist’s right to fail, and also to fail gloriously.
The particular presence of MOBA, some say, is really a response to the advent of Contemporary Art Abstract Paintings during the early twentieth century, which made art more esoteric and less accessible for most people. To many Americans, museums are intimidating places ruled by experts whose tastes are mysterious and impossible for many people to comprehend. MOBA is at direct vhhhlg to this trend. Its curators insist that they’re not parodying art; instead, they’re parodying the art world.
The reaction of many of the museum’s visitors is quite interesting. A few of the exhibits make them laugh out loud, as well as in some methods, frees them as much as have opinions and discuss what they see. Teachers inside the Boston area have taken their students to MOBA, then to more prestigious museums like Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Their MOBA experiences free them from feeling intimidated as well as be a little more expressive concerning the art there.