Art is a very old aspect of society, it has existed almost from the moment humanity set foot on Earth. It is a perfect form of expressing feelings, ideas, messages and it is so wide and relative that the same piece can have a million different interpretations from all the individuals that watch it.
Also, it is universal, all countries and cultures have art, from sculptures, paintings, pictures, and all. Most cities in the world have a museum or several ones of different themes.
Museums are such a great touristic attraction, there is a perfect one for each visitor and there can be about anything, but some topic that isn’t very popular among museums is bad art. As we said before, art depends on the individual that is analyzing it, so in the creative world, there is nothing such as “bad art”.
But the founders of the MOBA, or Museum of Bad Art doesn’t agree with that thought. This institution was created by Scott Wilson in 1993 and now has two branches, both in Massachusetts. Wilson was the owner of an antique store, and he got the idea after he showed his friends a painting that he found in the garbage.
Meet The Museum Of Bad Art:
This piece called Lucy in the Field with Flowers gave him the idea to start a collection of art that wasn’t considered conventionally pretty, or appealing for the collectors. A friend of his, Jerry Riley, and his wife were also drawn to this new hobby and both of them decided to seek odd pieces that the three of them shared with their friends at parties, where other free spirits enjoyed analyzing special and particular pieces.
The parties became really popular and that is how the MOBA first started as a little exhibit in the basement of a theater, to then became part of the touristic routes in the outsides from Boston. Once they consolidated as a proper museum, it gained more and more popularity, which they weren’t expecting at all.
The MOBA started to show temporary themed exhibits set in the perfect and according music, sound effects, and lights that created the right atmosphere for watching the worst art on the planet. They continued with this dynamic until this date and they opened another branch with new works.
Today the Museum of Bad Art counts with about 800 pieces that are rotated in different exhibitions in the two branches, however, there is a permanent gallery placed in the basement of the theater of Somerville, the original location, that you can visit freely as long as you have purchased a ticket for a movie.
All the shown paintings were found by Wilson and Riley, donated by the artists, by the public, or by local antique stores. But not any art will be accepted, like their motto says it has to be “art too bad to be ignored”, though the pieces can be a mess, they have to be original, sincere, and have some kind of meaning that isn’t appreciated in the conventional museums.
But don’t worry, if you ever give them a piece so bad that not even them would want, they have another gallery where they auction the rejected art and sell them for no more than 6,50 dollars. And sometimes in exceptional cases, if someone really wants a painting from the exhibits, they would give it to them for a similar price. And all the money collected goes to a fund to support this and other museums.
There are so many exhibits and many popular pieces that they decided to put them on their website, so anyone can see them at any time. Just like the true galleries, most of the paintings count with a brief description about what led the artist to create that art, sometimes it can be a mistake, other times doesn’t know how they got to that place, or they can be the result of an amateur artist excited to express themselves but realizing that this wasn’t their call on life.
Obviously, this is such a unique concept that many people across the world are excited to see it in their own flesh, so no wonder how it got so much attention from the media since it was first inaugurated. This place has inspired other popular collections, and some pieces have even been exhibit in other museums from New York, Virginia, and Ottawa.
Also, it has been visited by many researchers to understand the perspective of what is awful and what is pretty and attractive for the brain, so it has been helpful in psychological studies about quick judgment and how art is perceived in modern society.
Albeit the museum is very popular, it has been often criticized for being “anti-art”, but on the contrary, the purpose of the place is to give those misunderstood artists a place where they would feel embraced and considered. They take their job extremely seriously and don’t understand how people would think this place is a joke or destined to mock other people’s creations.