For every great master painter of genres throughout history, such as the Abstract Painting Art, you will find 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 similar to the “American Idol” contestants who insist that they sing well, despite all evidence to the contrary. They make art not because they’re any good at it, but since they love carrying it out.
There exists nothing as contemporary and abstract as bad art. Bad art has occurred throughout history, however with the advent of contemporary art, modern art, and abstract art, which question popular and standard conceptions of beauty, bad art has flourished. The very essence of all the modern art is doing away with convention, and that includes whatever we consider good (or beautiful) art and bad art.
There’s actually a spot on the planet where these problems aren’t just observed, but celebrated: The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA), in Dedham, Massachusetts, just outside Boston. (Their second branch is within nearby Somerville.) MOBA includes a permanent variety of 500 items of, as his or her motto states, “art too bad to become ignored.” Their stated goal is, as his or her founders assert, “to celebrate the labor of artists whose works would 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 became the museum’s signature piece), inside the trash. He showed it for some friends, who suggested which he start a selection of similar pieces of Abstract Painting Acrylic. Initially, the first collection was shown in Wilson’s friends’ home, but it soon became so popular and enormous they had to maneuver it to some more permanent place.
MOBA doesn’t just exhibit any bad art, so my attempts at portraiture (which can be really just stick figures) wouldn’t allow it to be in to the museum. Works accepted into MOBA has to be original and also have serious intent, nevertheless they must have significant but interesting flaws. The curators of MOBA refuse to show art that’s deliberately kitsch, or unhealthy for bad’s sake. At any rate, MOBA is definitely the only museum on earth dedicated to collecting and exhibiting the worst. Its collection is a tribute to the sincerity from the artists who preserved their works even when something has gone horribly wrong along the way. In other words, MOBA celebrates an artist’s straight to fail, and also to fail gloriously.
The particular existence of MOBA, some say, is a reaction to the advent of Contemporary Art Abstract Paintings during the early 20th century, which made art more esoteric and fewer accessible for the general public. To the majority of Americans, museums are intimidating places ruled by experts whose tastes are mysterious and impossible for most of us to understand. MOBA is at direct vhhhlg to this particular trend. Its curators insist that they’re not parodying art; instead, they’re parodying the art world.
The reaction of most of the museum’s visitors is extremely interesting. A few of the exhibits make sure they are laugh out loud, as well as in some ways, frees them up to have opinions and discuss whatever they see. Teachers in the Boston area have taken their students to MOBA, and then to more prestigious museums like Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Their MOBA experiences free them from feeling intimidated and also to become more expressive regarding the art there.