Museum of Bad Art
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”. Its permanent collection includes 500 pieces of “art too bad to be ignored”.
Image 1: 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.
Image 2: In 1996, the painting Eileen, by R. Angelo Le, vanished from MOBA. Eileen was acquired from the trash, and features a rip in the canvas where someone slashed it with a knife even before the museum acquired it, “adding an additional element of drama to an already powerful work”, according to MOBA. The museum offered a reward of $6.50 for the return of Eileen, but the work remained unrecovered for many years. The Boston Police listed the crime as “larceny, other”, and [the MOBA Director] was reported saying she was unable to establish a link between the disappearance of Eileen and a notorious heist at Boston’s famed Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum that occurred in 1990.
Image 3: Think Again: 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.
Image 4: Charlie and Sheeba: No longer able to tolerate the incessant barking, Charlie the Chipmunk used a band-aid to tape Sheba the Sheepdog’s mouth shut before posing with her on the picnic table.