MOBA Art Too Bad To Be Ignored
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The Museum Of Bad Art (MOBA) Newsletter, Issue #71
October 2003

Creativity takes courage. -- Henri Matisse


We are very proud to count Sonya Sones (California) among the Friends of Museum Of Bad Art. Sonya's current book for young people is What My Mother Doesn't Know (see it on (Simon and Schuster, Sonya Sones, ISBN: 0689855532). This story in verse mentions Sonya's favorite Museum, MOBA, and even gets the names of our paintings right. With her permission, here are two excerpts:

On the Bus Home

I end up telling Murphy
that when we bumped into each other
in the museum that day,

I was in the middle
of taking myself on a vacation
without leaving town,

and he says
he can't believe what
an inspired idea that is,

and right away he starts rattling off
all these places I should go
the next time I do it,

like this really funny gallery
he just discovered last week
called the Museum Of Bad Art.

He says it's full of these fantastically
awful paintings with names like
Two Trees in Love and Nauseous.

But his favorite ones are
Burger on the Beach
and Sightless Dog with Ear Infection.

He says
I've just got
to see them.

And before I know it,
we're planning a stay-in-town vacation for two.

Painting the Town

The Museum Of Bad Art is just as funny
as Murphy said it would be.
Where else you could see
Any Fruit in a Storm
and Tinkerbelle in a Time Tunnel
on the same wall?

Thank you, Ms. Sones.

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Most friends Of MOBA have never been to our physical gallery in Dedham, Massachusetts (just south of Boston). Most visit via the magic of the world wide web. (Yes, we know it needs some work. We're getting there.) But we do appreciate the visitors who come to see us in person. Many are from the Boston area, but in the past few weeks, we've had folks from California, Kansas, New Mexico, New York, London, Norway, and Sweden.

We've realized that we may not be setting appropriate expectations. Most visitors leave notes like these:

All Museums should be like this one. This Museum should encompass all of Dedham.
You have given new meaning to my life!

This is the greatest museum in the history of the world.

The noises from the bathroom make a perfect soundtrack for the museum.
But now and again, we get:
Long T-journey, long bus journey, long walk, and a very small museum at the end.

It's kind of grubby.
So, please, listen up! This is a small museum, housed in the basement of a movie theater built in 1927. It is strategically located just outside the men's room. It is appropriately lighted by one large fluorescent light fixture. Of about 250 pieces in the permanent collection, we exhibit 20 or 25 at a time. Usually, there is no MOBA staff on premises, but our good friends at the Dedham Community Theater try to answer your questions.

You'll be visiting the world's only museum dedicated to bad art. The nearby flushing helps maintain a uniform humidity. While you're there, you may be able to catch a movie. The gift shop carries MOBA t-shirts, note cards, and more. The paintings are exhibited with their descriptive narratives, adding to your enjoyment.

The Museum is conveniently open whenever movies are running -- typically 5:30-10:30 weekdays, noon-10:30 on weekends and holidays, sometimes more. You can find the film schedule at Scroll down and click on "Dedham Community Theater." This week, you would see that films start as early as 4:30 and the last showing begins at 9:15. You could correctly conclude that the museum will be open from 4 until 11pm.

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Long time friend Of MOBA, Darius Thabit, recently drew our attention to a new work acquired by the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Darius knew that we wouldn't be bidding on the Italian Renaissance ceramic plate. The Ashmolean paid £240,000 for it (about US $400,000) and Darius knows that we've never paid more than US $6.50 for anything.

The design is glazed on to a ceramic plate and is one of the most celebrated pieces of Italian Renaissance pottery. It was created in 1536 by Francisco Urbino. Why are we interested in 500 year old plate? Here's how one MOBA staffer describes it:

This is a wonderful portrait in a unique variation of the pointillist style. Rather than compose the painting from "points of color", the artist based the painting on repetition of that essential component of male anatomy.
David Barrie, director of the UK National Art Collections Fund, said: "This magnificent piece really made us sit up and take notice -- we're often asked to support extraordinary things, but we'd never seen anything like this before."

In keeping with our determination to remain a family publication, we are not including a photo of this work. We're not even including a link to it. The truly determined will find it using the artist's name.

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Every December, we hear from disappointed fans who are unable to obtain their favorite MOBA t-shirt. Our gift shop always runs out of a size or two. The gift shop has just stocked up. They've got all three designs in all five sizes (Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large, and Extra-Extra-Large). These are high quality, all-cotton shirts with the MOBA splash logo on the back, and our slogan "Art Too Bad To Be Ignored."

You can choose from these MOBA favorites:

Sunday on the Pot With George with the text "Like Renoir never ran out of canvas before he got to the feet"

Pals with "In our museum, it's not the artists who are tortured. It's the patrons."

Pablo Presley stands on it own - no words added.
Visit the Museum Of Bad Art Gift Shop at to order yours now. Imagine your bowling team, neighborhood association, Mensa chapter, wedding, or family reunion all outfitted in fine Museum Of Bad Art apparel!

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We love to hear from Friends Of MOBA. Here is a recent note:

When I saw the email was from "The Museum Of Bad Art", I 'virtually' ripped it open, and received my very first issue of the MOBA News (#70).

Wow what a treat!!! Next time I'll put on my "Depends" BEFORE reading the issue. I'm not much of a joiner, but I am so glad I found a group of such like-minded sophisticates as the MOBA members. I feel that, now, I truly belong!

Randy Opela

Dear Mr. Opela,

Thank you for your over-informative note. We will use this as evidence when we try to convince Depends to fork over stacks of money to become the Official Adult Diaper Supplier of the Museum Of Bad Art.

Yours in bad art,
Louise Sacco
Permanent Acting Interim Executive Director

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We've had some interesting journalists visiting recently. If you see these or any other media pieces about the Museum Of Bad Art, please send a note to Parker McGurl, *Special* Assistant to the Executive Director, Thanks

Arne Spångberg, a print journalist, visited from Sweden. His pieces will appear in publications in Sweden, Denmark, and perhaps elsewhere. Since no one here knows Swedish or Danish, Assistant McGurl has been notably ineffective in efforts to use the web to see if these articles have appeared yet. But we're sure that when Mr. Spångberg's stories hit the stands, we'll see a sharp increase in e-traffic from Scandinavia.

Tina Waldø-Jensen is a video journalist from Norway. She is working on a new culture program for Norwegian National Television. Tina spent time with MOBA recently learning all about us. We're trying to convince Norwegian National Television that a representative from MOBA should travel to Oslo for the premier of this program, even though MOBA is the second show of the new series, but they haven't sent an airline ticket yet.

"Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations" is produced at Public Television station KCPT in Kansas City MO. Producers Randy Mason and Mike Murphy, along with photographer Don Mayberger descended on the MOBA permanent gallery last week. Their Boston guide, Ken Bell, came along too. Their hit-and-run style meant that they covered Boston in about two hours: "Tea Party Ship, big milk bottle, site of the Boston massacre, and we're done" according to Murphy. But they spent about two hours at MOBA. Clearly, that means that a visit to MOBA is as interesting as all of Boston.

Here on the East Coast, we don't see "Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations", but we know they're our kind of folks when Mason says: "I've seen some of these other shows, and they give out a lot of good information, but it feels like you're in class. Ours has no class."

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ONLINE GIFT SHOP -- Order your t-shirts and check out the travel books.

SPECIAL GIFT WITH ORDER: If your order totals at least $25 (not including shipping), you can request a free copy of the science/humor magazine, "The Annals of Improbable Research." Place your order, then send an email to Louise at requesting this gift, valued at $6.50. We'll pick out a recent issue for you.
Directions and information -- FREAKS OF NATURE is the current exhibit.

Admission to MOBA is always free, with significant discounts to anyone who has published a book or article that mentions MOBA. | All contents ©2004 The Museum Of Bad Art. All rights reserved. | Updated 03.15.2004 | Contact MOBA