Museum of Bad Art
The Museum of Bad Art was established in 1994 by antique dealer Scott Wilson. The museum’s current branches are in Somerville, Brookline, and South Weymouth in Massachusetts, and in Dedham, Massachusetts. 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.
About Museum of Bad Art in brief
The Museum of Bad Art was established in 1994 by antique dealer Scott Wilson, who discovered what has become the museum’s signature piece, Lucy in the Field with Flowers. 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. 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 deliberate kitsch. In the early days, the museum hosted traveling shows; on one occasion the works were hung from trees in the woods on Cape Cod. In 2001, an exhibition titled “Awash in Bad Art” featured 18 pieces of art in a shrink wrap and car wash for the first drive-thru and car show in the world. In 2004, the Museum’s Director of Aesthetic Interpretation noted, “We didn’t put any watercolors in there, we didn’t want to put any nudes in there — nothing but nudes” The museum’s current branches are in Somerville, Brookline, and South Weymouth in Massachusetts, and in Dedham, Massachusetts, with a second branch planned for Somerville in the future. The Museum’s website is at: http://www.museumofbadart.org/museum-of-bad-art-museum.html. It 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.
It 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’ The museum was founded in 1994, after antique dealers 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 needed its own viewing space. In 1995 the display space was moved to the basement of the Dedham Community Theatre, a building with an aesthetic described in 2004 as ‘ramshackle’ The museum had no fixed operating hours, instead being open while the theater upstairs was open. The founders’ initial attempt at dealing with their constrained exhibition space was to create the Virtual Museum Of Bad Art, a CD-ROM with a cast of 95 people that presented the MOBA art collection in a fictional imaginary museum. It got completely out of hand when a group of senior citizens on a tour bus stopped to see it. In 2005 the museum moved to a new location in the Boston suburb of Somerville. The current location is in the Somerville suburb of Brookline and has a permanent collection of over 700 works of art, 25 to 35 of which are on display at any one time.