For every great master painter of genres throughout history, including the Oil Paint Abstract Painting, 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 like the “American Idol” contestants who insist that they sing well, regardless of all evidence to the contrary. They make art not because they are any good at it, but since they love doing it.
There exists nothing as contemporary and abstract as bad art. Bad art has occurred throughout history, though with the arrival of contemporary art, modern art, and abstract art, which question popular and standard conceptions of beauty, bad art has flourished. The particular essence of all modern art is doing away with convention, and that includes what we should consider good (or beautiful) art and bad art.
There’s actually a location on earth where these issues aren’t just observed, but celebrated: The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA), in Dedham, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. (Their second branch is at nearby Somerville.) MOBA has a permanent assortment of 500 items of, as their 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 hardly any 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 to a few friends, who suggested that he start an accumulation of similar pieces of Abstract Painting Acrylic. Initially, the first collection was shown in Wilson’s friends’ home, however it soon became very popular and large that they had to move 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 ensure it is to the museum. Works accepted into MOBA must be original and have serious intent, nevertheless they should have significant but interesting flaws. The curators of MOBA refuse to display art that’s deliberately kitsch, or bad for bad’s sake. At any rate, MOBA is the only museum in the world dedicated to collecting and exhibiting the worst. Its collection is really a tribute towards the sincerity of the artists who preserved their works even though something has gone horribly wrong along the way. Put simply, MOBA celebrates an artist’s directly to fail, and also to fail gloriously.
The presence of MOBA, some say, is really a reaction to the advent of Contemporary Abstract Landscape Paintings in the early twentieth century, which made art more esoteric and much less accessible for the public. To most Americans, museums are intimidating places ruled by experts whose tastes are mysterious and impossible for most people to know. 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, and in some methods, frees them up to have opinions and discuss what they see. Teachers in the Boston area have got their students to MOBA, and after that to more prestigious museums like Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Their MOBA experiences free them from feeling intimidated and to be more expressive regarding the art there.