Friday, July 23, 2010

Good, bad and ugly: Dedham, Massachusetts' Museum of Bad Art

A good citizen, indeed.


"Drilling for Eggs"

The gallery

"Joan Crawford"

"Play Boy Bunnies"


"Papa Nostro"

The Museum is housed in this lovely 1927 working theater in charming downtown Dedham.

And if you're a man and you need to answer the call of nature...

...the Mens Room is conveniently located just on the other side of this partition (sorry, ladies -- you'll have to go to the other side of the lobby).

We're big fans of "so bad it's good" here at Eccentric Roadside and no one has got that covered better than the Museum of Bad Art (MoBA) in picturesque Dedham, Massachusetts on Boston's southwest border. Started in 1994 by five righteous bad art lovers, the Museum now has 500 pieces in its collection, with a rotating group show on permanent display next to the Mens Room in the basement of the Dedham Community Theatre. The pieces come from a variety of sources, including yard sales, thrift stores and donations. MoBA bills itself as the only museum dedicated to bringing the worst of art to the widest of audiences, but there is a criteria for what can be accepted. "Works must be original and have serious intent, but they must also have significant flaws without being boring; curators are not interested in deliberate displays of kitsch." Kind of like the TV show "Dragnet," which is the most unintentionally hilarious show on television because it tried so hard to be serious. They also exclude works done by children, black velvet art, paint-by-numbers or commercially produced paintings, proving it's as hard to get into a bad art museum as it is to get into a good one.

They support themselves by selling anthology books of the collection and T-shirts, along with donations from bad art lovers everywhere. They also have a terrific website and a sister gallery in another theater basement in nearby Somerville, Massachusetts. They like to say "In our museum, it's not the artists that are tortured, it's the patrons." We say we may not know art, but we know what we like and we love the Museum of Bad Art.


wendyvee said...

You two snagged another item on my "to-do" list .... this just makes me want to visit even more :)

Bill said...

They are talking about me: significant flaws without being boring.

Mod Betty / Retro said...

I love the MOBA! It's just down the street from where my grandmother lived/dad grew up. If you're in the neighborhood, there's a good little Greek restaurant across the street from the Theatre in what used to be Cole's Drugstore. Now I'm totally turning into my dad/folks by giving directions referring to what places used to be! Long live le MOBA!

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Wendy: It's well-worth the trip!

Bill: You and me both, pal!

Betty: We loved that little town of Dedham. Have you been to the MoBA in Somerville? And that's a classic Rhode Islandism, too: directions by way of where something used to be (usually a now-defunct Almacs supermarket)!

Historic Traveler said...

It seems like bad art is very similar to art in general...I'm no expert, but I know it when I see it!

Love the post!!!

Traci said...

Hi! I love this blog and wanted to let you know that I've added it to the blogroll on my new family travel blog, “Go BIG or Go Home,” I hope that's okay!

Kris the Vagabond said...

I've wanted to go to the MOBA for so long! The pictures you posted are great...actually, they're so bad that they're great. I hope I get to see them myself sometime in the future.