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Gentleman Scholar and I are worldly, educated patrons of the arts, so when he read an article about the Museum of Bad Art, we decided that we simply must go a view the masterworks. MOBA has two locations, one in the basement of a theatre in Dedham, MA (right near the bathroom), and one in the basement of a theatre in Somerville, MA(also near the bathroom). Though I read the same article, and knew a little bit about the museum, I was ill-prepared for how awesome it was.
I’ve seen bad art before; I’ve created bad art on a number of occasions, but I have to say that the stuff they picked was really top-drawer. Not just any bad art is accepted by the museum–they have very exacting standards. To quote Wikipedia “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. According to co-founder Marie Jackson, “We are here to celebrate an artist’s right to fail, gloriously.”‘
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.
So this was a fantastic way to spend part of a Saturday afternoon, and I cannot recommend enough that everyone go, and also read both the MOBA website and the Wikipedia page. The only downside is that while the Dedham location is free to visit, in Somerville, they make you buy a ticket to a movie before they let you through the lobby to the basement where the museum is. Movie tickets are $7 on Saturdays, so we did not actually see that branch of the museum, but we’ll try to catch a matinee sometime.