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MUSEUM OF BAD ART

The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) is a privately owned museum whose stated aim is "to celebrate the labor of artists whose work would be displayed and appreciated in no other forum". It has three branches, one in Dedham, Massachusetts, another in nearby Somerville, and a third in Brookline, Massachusetts. Its permanent collection includes 500 pieces of "art too bad to be ignored", 25 to 35 of which are on public display at any one time. MOBA was founded in 1994, after antique dealer Scott Wilson showed a painting he had recovered from the trash to some friends, who suggested starting a collection. Within a year, receptions held in Wilson's friends' home were so well-attended that the collection needed its own viewing space. The museum then moved to the basement of a theater in Dedham. Explaining the reasoning behind the museum's establishment, co-founder Jerry Reilly said in 1995: "While every city in the world has at least one museum dedicated to the best of art, MOBA is the only museum dedicated to collecting and exhibiting the worst. " To be included in MOBA's collection, works must be original and have serious intent, but they must also have significant flaws without being boring; curators are not interested in displaying deliberate kitsch. MOBA has been mentioned in dozens of off-the-beaten-path guides to Boston, featured in international newspapers and magazines, and has inspired several other collections throughout the world that set out to rival its own visual atrocities. Deborah Solomon of The New York Times Magazine noted that the attention the Museum of Bad Art receives is part of a wider trend of museums displaying "the best bad art". 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."

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55 DAVIS SQ
SOMERVILLE, MA 02144
(781) 444-6757

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