wikipedia's featured article today. i think it's hilarious.
has anyone ever been to MOBA or heard of it?
history:The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) is a privately owned museum whose stated aim is "to celebrate the labor of artists whose work would be displayed and appreciated in no other forum". It has two branches, one in Dedham, Massachusetts, United States, and the other in nearby Somerville. Its permanent collection includes 500 pieces of "art too bad to be ignored", 25 to 35 of which are on public display at any one time. MOBA was founded in 1994, after antique dealer Scott Wilson showed a painting he had recovered from the trash to some friends, who suggested starting a collection. Within a year, receptions held in Wilson's friends' home were so well-attended that the collection required its own viewing space. The museum moved to the basement of a theater in Dedham. Explaining the reasoning behind the museum's establishment, co-founder Jerry Reilly said in 1995: "While every city in the world has at least one museum dedicated to the best of art, MOBA is the only museum dedicated to collecting and exhibiting the worst." To be included in MOBA's collection, works must be original and have serious intent, but they must also have significant flaws without being boring; curators are not interested in displaying art that is deliberately kitsch.
MOBA has been mentioned in dozens of off-the-beaten-path guides to Boston, featured in international newspapers and magazines, and has inspired several other collections throughout the world that set out to rival its own visual atrocities. Deborah Solomon of The New York Times Magazine noted that the attention the Museum of Bad Art receives is part of a wider trend of museums displaying "the best bad art". The museum has been criticized for being anti-art, but the founders deny this, responding that its collection is a tribute to the sincerity of the artists who persevered with their art despite something going horribly wrong in the process. According to co-founder Marie Jackson, "We are here to celebrate an artist's right to fail, gloriously."
The Museum of Bad Art was established in 1994 by antiques dealer Scott Wilson, who discovered what has become the museum's signature piece—Lucy in the Field with Flowers—protruding from between two trash cans on a Roslindale-area curb in Boston, among some garbage waiting to be collected. Wilson was initially interested only in the frame, but when he showed the picture to his friend Jerry Reilly, Reilly wanted both the frame and the painting. He exhibited Lucy in his home, and encouraged friends to look for other bad art and notify Wilson of what they found. When Wilson acquired another "equally lovely" piece and shared it with Reilly, they decided to start a collection. Reilly and his wife, Marie Jackson, held a party in their basement to exhibit the collection to date, and hosted a reception they facetiously titled "The Opening of the Museum of Bad Art".
('Lucy in The Field With Flowers')
on their most famous painting, 'Lucy In The Field With Flowers':
sources: wikipedia : MOBA, MOBAMany of MOBA's works generate extensive discourse from visitors. Lucy in the Field with Flowers (oil on canvas by Unknown; acquired from trash in Boston) remains a favorite with the news media and patrons. As the first work acquired by the museum, Lucy is "a painting so powerful it commands its own preservation for posterity", setting a standard by which all future acquisitions would be compared, and causing MOBA's founders to question if Scott Wilson found Lucy or she found him.
Kate Swoger of The Montreal Gazette called Lucy a "gorgeous mistake", describing her thus: "an elderly woman dancing in a lush spring field, sagging breasts flopping willy-nilly, as she inexplicably seems to hold a red chair to her behind with one hand and a clutch of daisies in the other". Author Cash Peters, using less florid language, summarized it as "the old woman with an armchair glued to her ass".
MOBA's statement about Lucy reads: "The motion, the chair, the sway of her breast, the subtle hues of the sky, the expression on her face—every detail combines to create this transcendent and compelling portrait, every detail cries out 'masterpiece'." The Times recounted comments left by a museum visitor regarding the "endless layers of mysteries" the image offers: "What is Norman Mailer's head doing on an innocent grandma's body, and are those crows or F-16s skimming the hills?"
Lucy's granddaughter, a Boston-area nurse named Susan Lawlor, became a fan of MOBA after seeing the portrait in a newspaper. She recognized it as her grandmother, Anna Lally Keane (c. 1890–1968); upon seeing the picture, Lawlor snorted Coca-Cola from her nose in astonishment. The painting was commissioned by her mother, and it hung in her aunt's house for many years, despite the trepidation family members felt at seeing the final composition. Says Lawlor: "The face is hauntingly hers, but everything else is so horribly wrong. It looks like she only has one breast. I'm not sure what happened to her arms and legs, and I don't know where all the flowers and yellow sky came from."