MOBA Art Too Bad To Be Ignored
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The Museum Of Bad Art (MOBA) Newsletter, Issue #74
March 2004


Friends of MOBA have long urged us to upgrade the MOBA web site and get our own domain. Web designers contact us with creative (and sometimes appropriate) ideas. Because MOBA is known and respected all over the world, many designers figured we have a budget large enough to support them for a couple of years.

You, dear Friend of MOBA, know the truth. We depend on volunteers and exist today only because of the kindness and support of Friends of MOBA. One such friend is Paula Frederick of Pawluh Design. Pawluh, as she is known to all, understood that at MOBA, only the art is bad. She designed an elegant, practical, and very attractive home for the MOBA web collection.

And we've moved it to This also means that we have set up web addresses that are easy to remember, like

When you need a designer, look at

VERY IMPORTANT: If you've linked MOBA, please update the link to

Visit the New Site Now »

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Artists often submit their own work to the Museum of Bad Art. Most of these submissions fall into two categories. First, artists and wannabes who make deliberately bad art. Insincerity overwhelms whatever bad attributes can be brought to the piece. Second, discouraged artists. Most often, we can honestly tell these artists that they aren't nearly bad enough for MOBA.

But there are two other categories. First, a good artist on a bad day. Several outstanding pieces in the MOBA permanent collection fit this description. Second, artists who pour their heart and soul into their work, but cheerfully admit that a lot of it turns out pretty bad. MOBA's Curator in Chief, Mr Mike Frank, has just uncovered such an artist.

Mari Newman offered some of her pieces to MOBA. In an unusual coup for a first-time artist, three of Ms Newman's works were accepted, two paintings, "The Playboy Bunnies" and "Dog Bone Juggler in a Hula Skirt" and a three-dimensional piece, "The Most Beautiful Outhouse in the World." Mr Frank had to turn down the sculpture "My Barbies" because it exceeded by $493.50 the top price he is authorized to spend on art, $6.50. (The accepted pieces were generously donated by Ms Newman.)

Ms Newman is well known in Minneapolis as an "outsider" artist who turned her house into a colorful piece of art when she couldn't get into galleries. She sent lots of background information, along with photos of the works she offered MOBA. An excerpt from Mr Frank's memo regarding Ms Newman's work is in order:

> How many times have we wished for the opportunity
> to ask an artist, "How did you ever come up with the
> idea of painting a dog juggling bones dressed in a
> hula skirt?" or "I understand the fixed outsized
> smiles and the grotesquely large breasts, but what is
> the signifigance of the little pink bows of ribbon tied
> demurely in the crotches of the Playboy Bunnies?"
> Mari Newman notes that:
> - While much of her work is brilliant, a number of pieces are "ishy."
> - People have been moved to vandalize her artwork.
> - Her art career has stagnated.
> - When an art-eating squirrel stuck its head through the hole it had made in her painting, Mari shot at it with her sidearm but missed, blowing yet a larger hole in the wall of her house.

The entire MOBA community welcomes Ms Newman into our fold and we thank her for her generosity. The piece reproduced here is

..."Bone Juggling Dog in Hula Skirt"... Mari Newman...
...tempera and acrylics on canvas, 40"x16"...
...donated by the artist...

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The Executive staff at the Museum of Bad Art tries to jump on every management bandwagon. Right now, the trend is to outsource operations to low-cost parts of the world. After studying recent articles in Business Week, Forbes, and the Harvard Business Review, MOBA's Board of Directors formed a task force to decide whether the MOBA gift store should be run from Bangladesh, Uzbekistan or the Philippines.

Imagine the consternation among Board members when the Task Force reported that the best location would be Massachusetts! In a daze, Parker McGurl (*Special* Assistant to the Executive Director), was assigned to find a vendor who could handle the job. It was, of course, a set-up. The Task Force had already figured out that MOBA gifts would be best handled by Massachusetts Bay Trading Company.

Once Mass Bay Trading got over the shock that the Museum of Fine Arts is NOT the only art museum in Boston, they readily agreed to be the exclusive on-line vendor of 100% genuine Museum of Bad Art Gifts. They even set up a separate category for MOBA. Massachusetts Bay Trading Company claims to be "dedicated to promoting the rich heritage of Massachusetts”, so *Special* Assistant McGurl argued, convincingly in the end, that they had a civic, moral, and artistic responsibility to include MOBA gifts.

Visit, the Official Online Gift Supplier of the Museum of Bad Art

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Journalist Yuval Ben-Ami kindly notified us that his article about MOBA appeard in Israel's leading newspaper, Ha'aretz, on February 13. We quickly followed the link he provided, anxious to read the article. There was an obstacle – no one at MOBA Headquarters reads Hebrew. We were pleased to see the familiar images of "Sunday on the Pot With George,""Pablo Presley,""Pals,"and "Lucy in the Field With Flowers."But we had no idea what Mr Ben-Ami had said about the paintings or about our museum.

As so often happens, a Friend of MOBA came to the rescue. Mr Stavi Richberg very quickly translated for us, with assistance from his wife, Sheri Saperstein-Richberg. We found that the Ha'aretz article gave an accurate history and a flattering picture of this important institution. We hope that this article will spark some interest from Israel that eventually results in a donation of bad art from that country.

Delving into the the sum of all the knowledge of Hebrew among MOBA staffers, we can only say "Shalom"to Mr Ben-Ami, Mr Richberg, and Ms Saperstein-Richberg.

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MOBA's merchandise warehouse is full of cartons of books, posters, notecards, and T-shirts. In January, an under-trained and under-paid warehouse worker left a carton of shirts on the ground, ignoring MOBA Standard Operating Procedure 7.3.1 (ref: SOP 7.3.1 specifies that cartons of merchandise must "always be stored on shelves or on wooden pallets, never directly on the floor of the warehouse."

The reason for this procedure became clear when the extreme cold in January caused a drain to freeze, and the result was a large quantity of water on the floor of the warehouse. The cardboard carton and the cotton contents soaked up a lot of water. The "Pablo Presley"T-shirts in the carton were at first considered ruined.

MOBA staffers discussed at length what to do with the wet t-shirts. Permanent Acting Interim Executive Director Ms Louise Sacco once again demonstrated her leadership when she walked in on this conversation, listened for a minute or two, and said "Run them through the washer and dryer. We'll sell them as pre-washed MOBA shirts. Maybe we can add $3 or $4 to the price."

The howls of the assembled staff convinced her to abandon the premium pricing. Instead, the Pre-Washed Pablo Presley T-shirts are offered at $9, a reduction of $6 from the usual price. Medium and few small t-shirts are available. Use coupon code WASHED.

Order pre-washed t-shirts (or other MOBA gifts)

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

Admission to MOBA is always free, with significant discounts to anyone who has published a book or article that mentions MOBA.
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