Sotheby’s is not interested. Christie’s fine arts aficionados couldn’t care less. Neither famous art auction company has any interest in this collection of art. Why? Because it’s the Museum of Bad Art. Located today in Boston, Massachusetts, MOBA (Museum of Bad Art) offers “art too bad to be ignored™.”
Brief history of MOBA
- Unusual start. In 1994, Scott Wilson found a painting in a dumpster. He was hoping to save and use the frame. However, when Wilson showed the “rescued artwork” to his friends, they immediately suggested he keep the painting and begin a collection—a collection of bad art. So, Wilson did just that.
- The idea grows. Wilson’s friends began to host receptions so that others might enjoy the bad art. Within a year, the art receptions garnered such a following that the gatherings had to be moved to a larger venue—the basement of a Dedham, MA, theater.
- Other venues. Mr. Wilson and his co-partner in the bad art venture, Jerry Reilly, occasionally took their bad art collection on the road. Once, the partners hung artwork from trees in Cape Cod. They named the display, “Art Goes Out the Window—the Gallery in the Woods.” Another time the men wrapped some of the bad art in shrink wrap and displayed it in a car wash! The world’s first drive-through museum and car wash exhibition was dubbed “Awash in Bad Art.”
- Over time, two additional Massachusetts bad art locations were opened, but all venues closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2022, the Museum of Bad Art reopened in the taproom of the Dorchester Brewing Company, Boston, where you can visit it today. Don’t for one minute think that the bad art collection is always confined to Boston, however. Select pieces from the project have been displayed in New York City, Taipei, Ottawa, and Virginia. Wow!
Founders say that the Museum of Bad Art is not a poke in the eye to the legitimate art world. Instead, they insist MOBA’s intention is to display the attempts of serious artists, even though the results come nowhere close to masterpieces.
You can see some of what’s displayed here. Keep exploring their website to plan your visit.