Charlie and Sheba
If you're a fan of Goodwill, or curbsides on trashday you see a lot of bad art. We do too,
and we actually have a soft spot for it. Not in large doses, but sometimes the simplest, most sincerely painted
painting, even if its got no feet, or the eyes seem to follow you around can make a corner of a room sing...
Those of us who appreciate the effort that goes into a painting will be glad to know that
the infamous Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) has just opened a 2nd location in the basement of
the Somerville Theater in Davis square. Before this month, the collection has been displayed (since 1994)
only outside the mens room in the basement if the Dedham Community Theater. Now, with MOBA 2
coming to Somerville, you can take the T.
Louise Sacco, the museums permanent acting interim executive director, says that "in order for a piece
to make it into the collection, its important that the piece has to be art". They look for sincerity,
and the attention and care that went into the painting. "It has to communicate something and
elicit a response-- but in an interesting way".
When you see the works in the collection, you can't help but notice the earnestness
of effort that obviously went into them, and you can't help but ponder what went wrong.
Whether its the vase of flowers without the vase, or the impressionist painting of George
without feet. We love art with a story.
When we visited the gallery this week, we spent most of our time in front of this baseball painting
trying to figure it out. It took talking to the curator-in-chief, Michael Frank to realize that the play is at the plate,
(I had originally thought the umpire was a businessman with a briefcase) and he pointed out that there is just never a situation
where you would slide into home like that. Thats not to say he doesn't think the painting is great. He thinks they all are.
The folks who run the museum couldn't leave it there, they also have a brand new book.
Its called "The Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks" and it memorializes over 70 pieces for your coffeetable
(ok, its not actually that big). MOBA's website says that "from Prosthetic Claw to Drilling for Eggs, its clear
that many of these artists suffered for their art: now its our turn". You can order it and read the
hither-untold stories behind the art here.
Admission to the MOBA-2 in the Somerville Theater is, as always, still free. Although check the movie schedule,
because you may have to buy a movie ticket in order to get in.
The Somerville Theater
55 Davis Square
Somerville, MA 02144