The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) is a museum dedicated to collecting and exhibiting bad art. MOBA was founded in 1994 as a private project by collector Bob Linder and has since grown into two dedicated gallery spaces with satellite exhibits around the Boston area. MOBA’s mission is to celebrate the work of artists whose pieces would not be displayed anywhere else. In addition to original art, the museum also collects and displays items relating to bad art such as newspaper stories, books and other media coverage.
MOBA does not define “bad” as being technically inept but rather work that is unintentionally comical or even beautiful in its own way, such as:
- Efforts to make surrealist or nonrepresentational art;
- Failed attempts at photography;
- Attempts to create conceptual art with no concept;
- Images made by amateurs who have no training in the medium they are using.
Where it is
As a private project, MOBA has two dedicated gallery spaces on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston where they display their collection of hundreds of works for the public to see during the Museum’s Open Hours (free), Third Thursdays ($10 suggested donation), and select special events.
MOBA also has satellite exhibits around the Boston area including Somerville’s Union Square once a year on Halloween night; as well as New York City every summer at MoMA PS1.
With a mission to celebrate the labor of artists whose work would be displayed and appreciated in no other forum than here at this museum alone—or possibly in your basement—MOBA happily welcomes any contributions you might have lying around gathering dust or taking up space: paintings, sculptures and mixed media pieces are all welcome examples!
The Museum of Bad Art offers a wide range of classes and workshops for students, teachers, artists and the general public. They strive to provide opportunities for all ages to learn about art and explore their own creativity. Each year they offer over 200 programs in Boston and online across the country through their partner organisations.
Their course offerings include art appreciation courses to help students better understand what makes great art by studying some of its weakest examples! Their curriculum is designed so that any high school or college student can enjoy learning about these works while also developing their critical thinking skills. Students are encouraged to examine each work’s historical context as well as its aesthetic merits (or lack thereof).
Art that you might think is ugly may be very meaningful for others
While you may think the art you see at the Museum of Bad Art is “ugly,” it can mean something very different to others. People have different tastes, and art is subjective. In fact, some people may love this kind of art—it’s a great way for them to express themselves or their beliefs.
The Museum of Bad Art makes it clear that it doesn’t judge its exhibits by their aesthetic value alone: “It’s not about whether or not we like an artwork,” they write on their website. “We just want to present as many types and styles as possible.”