An Ode to MOBA

22 Nov

Artistic expression is often hailed at the pinnacle of human achievement. Whether or not this is true, history fails to find a single culture that does not regard their art with a great sense of pride and esteem. But for every creative master, there a surely thousands of aspiring artists who didn’t quite make the cut. And for every one of those, there must be many thousand more who really just didn’t have a clue.

But every dog has his day! Finally, there is a museum for art is that is… bad. Since 1994 MOBA, the Museum of Bad Art, has been “the world’s only museum dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition and celebration of bad art in all its forms.” The 500 piece collection has been accumulated from galleries, yard sales, and other places where bad art lives and thrives, and is displayed online and in three different gallery spaces in and around Boston.

Museum owner Michael Frank explains that the idea came from a gallery owner friend, who would frequently purchase art from thrift shops, only to discard the actual artwork in favor of the frame. “What we look for are pieces of work that are produced in an attempt to make some sort of artistic statement — but clearly something has gone wrong,” he says. “There has to be something about it that makes you stop, and very often wonder why the artist continued down the path to produce what he or she did.”

If you ever find yourself in Boston, treat yourself to a laugh and give MOBA a visit. Or, save yourself a place ticket and enjoy MOBA’s bounty from the comfort of your couch at http://www.museumofbadart.org/. The captions make it extra delightful.

Think Again Acrylic on canvas by Unknown Acquired by Scott Wilson from trash  This disturbing work "makes an offer you can't refuse". The chilling, matter-of-fact manner in which the subject presents the severed head to us is a poignant reminder of just how numb we have become. The understated violence implicit in the scene speaks volumes on our own desensitization, our society's reflexive use of force, and the artist's inability to deal with the hindquarters of the animal.

Think Again

Acrylic on canvas by Unknown
Acquired by Scott Wilson from trash

“This disturbing work “makes an offer you can’t refuse”. The chilling, matter-of-fact manner in which the subject presents the severed head to us is a poignant reminder of just how numb we have become. The understated violence implicit in the scene speaks volumes on our own desensitization, our society’s reflexive use of force, and the artist’s inability to deal with the hindquarters of the animal.”

Two Trees in Love

Acrylic on canvas by Julie Seelig
Donated by Sally Seelig, the artist’s mother

“A heartening painting which makes up for lack of realism with a surplus of symbolism. The cloud caught in the branches of the most prominent deciduous confirms the artist’s vision of a world where dreams can be captured and landscapes tamed, if you only try hard enough. “

Dog

Acrylic on canvas by Unknown
Donated by Elizabeth and Sorn Pöckel, Copenhagen, Denmark

“A remarkable fusion of ski resort and wolf puppy — stoical in his yellow-eyed silence, frozen beneath the ice-capped peak, Dog eloquently challenges the viewer to re-examine old concepts of landscape.”

 

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