The Museum of Bad Art
September 9, 2021 5:07 AM   Subscribe

Art too bad to be ignored The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) has a mission: to bring the worst of art to the widest of audiences. Their three brick-and-mortar locations are shuttered due to the pandemic, but you can view the collection on the website.

Galleries include the MOBA Zoo, Unlikely Landscapes, Unseen Forces, and more.
posted by bunderful (26 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
(This was previously posted in 2009, so I thought it was okay to share again).

I cannot say why this delights me so much. I have made and am still making my share of bad art, and I don't view these works with snark. Somehow they seem more alive and fun than a lot of "real" art.
posted by bunderful at 5:09 AM on September 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

I have a small collection of bad art, but it is hard to find these days. Thrift stores seem to have acquired taste. Maybe I'll have to take road trips out of the city, like antique collectors do.
posted by kozad at 5:25 AM on September 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

The only bad art is art that promotes harmful political beliefs, such as paintings glorifying the former president. Everything else is merely a disagreement on subjective matters of aesthetics and technique.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:33 AM on September 9, 2021 [7 favorites]

Ferret in a brothel
I know
I know
It's seeeriousss
posted by chavenet at 6:45 AM on September 9, 2021 [7 favorites]

I legit like a lot of these paintings.
posted by emd3737 at 7:02 AM on September 9, 2021 [3 favorites]


That was the EXACT one I was going to post as a counter-example. Ferret in a brothel speaks - no! sings to me. It is an icon - it's like my soul is staring directly into the mirror of my heart's spirit. It is a perfect visual depiction of my entire life up unto this point.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:21 AM on September 9, 2021

I maintain a collection of gatekeepers. This is one of the more unusual in my collection. I like it because I hate it.
posted by a complicated history at 7:32 AM on September 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Quite a few of these work for me, no irony needed. I'd hang Regatta on my wall.

The site's faux commentary on the paintings, I'm done with that.
posted by away for regrooving at 8:37 AM on September 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

yeah I feel like most of these you could hang in an art museum with a little plaque & I'd just assume they were interesting and good
posted by taquito sunrise at 8:39 AM on September 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

The site's faux commentary on the paintings, I'm done with that.

Awww, I like them:
"The artist took liberties with perspective, but paid meticulous attention to anatomic details such as the central figure's underboob shadows and thigh gap".
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:46 AM on September 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

Whatever floats your boat! I just get more jazzed by the idea of flipping to the next picture to see what that it.
posted by away for regrooving at 8:52 AM on September 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

I've been to this "museum" twice, at different locations. Only because I was walking in the lobby to kill a couple minutes before a film. Any if seen at a goodwill store would at most elicit a perplexed thought, "why was this not left in the trash".
posted by sammyo at 10:32 AM on September 9, 2021

For those of delicate sensibilities - there are noods.

Some of this seems a little mean spirited - making fun of people who painted stuff that isn't very good (everyone who has ever picked up a paintbrush or pencil has art that isn't very good and the better the artist, the more piles of crap they will have stashed away somewhere).

Then there is the stuff which is perhaps not good, but can hardly be said to be bad. "Elvis Descending a Staircase" is great.

Is "Woman At Her Leisure" bad? It doesn't do much for me, but that's not saying much. If I saw it in a gallery I'd take it perfectly seriously.

I've seen folk art that is held in high regard that I like less than a lot of these pieces.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:41 AM on September 9, 2021 [4 favorites]

there's a lot going on in Elvis Descending a Staircase, but (what I think is) the stamp-perforation bit is my favorite
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:14 AM on September 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

I don't find the ones that are merely technically bad especially funny (painting is hard yo), but there are some that are conceptually bad. Which is the best kind of bad.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:15 AM on September 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

I have a family member whose works would make a fine addition here. she is VERY prolific, and I have stacks n stacks of her drawings. like, for real, Jesus riding a unicorn, type stuff. envelopes full of it...

anyone redecorating? (I have a bunch of sexy, scantily clad angels you might like...)
posted by supermedusa at 11:28 AM on September 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Metafilter: conceptually bad.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 11:58 AM on September 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Seattle's Cafe Racer had the anointed Official Bad Art Museum of Art (OBAMA). Article with pics.
posted by splitpeasoup at 2:00 PM on September 9, 2021

Visited a big art gallery today, and the first several paintings in one exhibit were so bad they could have been included here. I agree that it's about the concept being bad rather than just the execution.
posted by blue shadows at 5:52 PM on September 9, 2021

I had the MoBA cd-rom back in the day when that was a thing, but I've never actually been. And that's weird since I now live fairly close to Somerville. Thanks for reminding me to keep an eye out for their reopening.
posted by jwest at 6:16 PM on September 9, 2021

Ferret in a brothel

I’ll send an SOS to the world?
posted by panama joe at 7:28 PM on September 9, 2021 [5 favorites]

If you like MOBA, you may also be interested in OBAMA. I've met the curators; they're absolute delights.

Cafe Racer changed locations and isn't actually closed as the footnotes say. I believe OBAMA will take up residence in the new space eventually.

EDIT: heyyyy looks like I was beaten to the punch. Glad to see some more love for bad art!
posted by cyranix at 11:22 PM on September 9, 2021

I really like The Dance of Family Relations.—I'm not sure that link will go directly to it.

The artist who painted that one had a creative vision, and it doesn't have the technical failings that so many others do. I'd like to have a chance to look at it in person, really study it.

I'm currently listening to the book Art & Fear, which I highly recommend to creative people, or people who aspire to be. At least the first chapter, which is as far as I've gotten so far.

I want to say the world is a better place because these unknown people picked up their paintbrushes and had at it. I wish they'd find a different name than "Museum of Bad Art." It's folk art? It's hopeful art? It's failed art? It's abandoned art. I'm not sure what the word is I'm reaching for, but "bad" isn't it. If I were a muse, hovering just over the shoulder of a person with no training and little talent, but a blank canvas, and a pallet, and some paints, I would not want them to wonder if someday what they are about to create would end up in a place like this, labelled "Bad." I would lean over and whisper in their ear, "Do it. Be delighted by it. Do it again."
posted by Orlop at 4:17 AM on September 10, 2021 [6 favorites]

I can show you some of my drawings and paintings if you want to see bad art....
posted by kathrynm at 11:31 AM on September 10, 2021 [2 favorites]

My favourites are the ones donated by the artist.
posted by harriet vane at 5:57 AM on September 12, 2021

Kathrymn we could have a bad art exchange :D
posted by bunderful at 11:55 AM on September 12, 2021

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