Poor traits

THE POUT
Anonymous
12" x 9" , oil on canvas board
Purchased by her mother at a yard sale in Washington, DC in the 1970's
and donated by Bobbie Franco
April 2014

The artist made some interesting choices depicting the anatomic proportions as well as the demeanor of the young woman in this little portrait.

RAVEN HAIRED BEAUTY WITH WHITE FLOWER
Anonymous
20" x 16", oil on canvas
purchased at a consignment store in Glendora, CA
and donated by Joy Deyo and Brian Dishon
September 2009

According to tradition in the islands of the South Pacific, the white gardenia over her right ear suggests that the young woman in this painting is unmarried. Her right arm resting comfortably on the bottom of the canvas suggests that the artist made a conscious decision to avoid the difficult challenge of painting her hand.

THE DANCE OF FAMILY RELATIONS
Jake? (illegible), June 2003
36" x 48", oil on canvas
Rescued from trash in Brooklyn, NY and
donated by Louis Frank
June, 2009

Nine older people surround a long, coffin-like table, seemingly about to enjoy a meal. Most of them are gaze directly at the viewer, while one couple shares a private joke. Two of the figures are out of out of focus, possibly indicating that they are deceased. A negative-space silhouette feast before them lacks detail. Images of of cell division (mitosis) are interspersed with representations of Doc Edgerton's iconic strobe photos of a bullet shattering a light bulb along the top of the painting, and likenesses of his "milk drop coronet" strobe photos line the bottom.

Bullet Through Apple       (1964)                     Photograph by Harold "Doc" Edgerton

 

Milk Drop Coronet  (1957)              Photograph by Harold "Doc" Edgerton

The over-the-top imagery, combined with the painting's title (written on the back of the canvas), seem to illustrate Albert Einstein's assertion that "time is relative".

PINK WOMAN ASCENDING
Anonymous
24" x 18", oil on canvas
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
October 2010

A monochrome pink woman inexplicably ascends from a wheat field,

CROWS OVER WHEAT FIELD
Vincent Van Gogh, 1889

surrounded by irises,

IRISES
Vincent Van Gogh, 1889


under a starry night sky.

STARRY NIGHT
Vincent Van Gogh, 1889

 

WELCOME TO THE NEW WORLD
Anonymous
20" x 16", oil on canvas
Purchased at a thrift store/tattoo removal center in Downey, CA and
donated by Brian Dishon
December 2010
MOBA #518

An Aztec emperor (possibly Montezuma) introduces the no-look high-five to a new friend who, judging from his suntan, has only recently arrived in the tropics. It is interesting to note that, while they come from disparate cultures, both men wear their pants in the "sagging" style currently in fashion among young men in many urban centers.

THE ROSE CEREMONY
Erinn McCusker
16” x 12”, oil on canvas board
Purchased in a thrift store in Boston, MA
July 2016

The bachelorette looked particularly fetching as the strap of her peignoir slipped down her particularly long left arm.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Anonymous
20"x 10", oil on canvas
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
September 2010
MOBA #516

Dorothy clicked her heels three times and realized immediately upon opening her eyes that she had returned to an unfamiliar part of Kansas.

BLUE MUSHROOM MAN
Matthew Johnson
36" x 24", acrylic on canvas
purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA November 2007
MOBA #444

According to a mycologist friend of MOBA, "Possible chanterelle in upper left corner. Likely boletus family 'shrooms in upper right corner and sprouting out of the top of his head. A flush of shaggy manes emerging from his mouth. Others are unknown, but appear to have little culinary interest."

SWAMP PICNIC
Ted Cate Jr.
21” x 30”, oil on art board
Donated by Bhavani Brown
May 2014

An attractive couple enjoys a private moment at the water’s edge. The artist seems to be sharing his vision of a dystopian future in which fashion conscious hipsters, living with rising sea levels and widespread pollution, wear “his and her” hazmat suits.

A MARIACHI IN TIANANMEN SQUARE
Anonymous
8"x10", oil on canvas
Purchased in a thrift shop in Boston, MA
January 2004

Beijing, China was rocked by unprecedented political protests as well as violent government response May and June of 1989. On June 5, as a column of tanks rumbled by Tiananmen Square, an unidentified man strode into the center of Changan Avenue. Armed only with shopping bags, he defiantly stood in front of the tanks; forcing them to stop.

Associated Press photographer Jeff Widener photographed the incident. His film was was smuggled out of China, and the image published around the world. The anonymous Tank Man of Tiananmen Square instantly became a hero of the protest, and the iconic photograph of his brave act was obviously the inspiration for this painting. 

TANK MAN OF TIANANMEN SQUARE
Photo by Jeff Widener

The anonymous artist added color and, more importantly, changed the perspective to emphasize the relative power of the man over the toy-like military machines.
His mariachi costume may indicate the universality of the struggle against oppression worldwide.

Watch the MOBA Curator talk about this painting.

THE ROYAL FEEL
Jane Doyle
24” x 18”, acrylic on canvas board
Donated by Cathy Soderquist
July 2013

The artist celebrates romantic love in this painting inspired by The Jewish Bride by Rembrandt.

THE JEWISH BRIDE
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, (c.1667)
MORNING GEISHA
Anonymous
18” x 14”, oil on canvas board
Purchased at a thrift shop in Boston MA
May 2015

A young woman performs her morning ablutions, illustrating the fact that, while the result may only be skin deep, it takes work to achieve beauty.

MONOCHROME 006 (UNFINISHED ETUDE IN BLUE)
Jonathan FeBland. London, UK May 2011
9.5" x1 1.5", acrylic on canvas
Donated by the artist
October 2011

The MOBA Curator-in-Chief initially assumed this minimalist piece was created by a cat walking in blue paint.

The artist wrote, "It was painted on a small easel while listening to the piano music of Arnold Schoenberg (which was found to be quite inspirational for this sort of painting). It is suggested that the work is revolved by 90° every three months."

When the Curator played a recording of Schoenberg's piano music to better appreciate the painting, his cat walked out of the room.

SOUTHEASTERN QUADRANT CHEVRON 12
David C. Commito, 1993
20" x 16", oil on canvas
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
June 2009

A bright red, highly textured boomerang outlined in black appears next to the number 12 in the lower right corner of the canvas, which is otherwise painted a single shade of flat sky-blue. The viewer is challenged to grasp the true meaning of this minimalist painting, a task that would probably be less daunting with the knowledge of the relative position of chevrons 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10, and 11.

VANISHING WOMAN
Hannah Hamilton
18” x 24", acrylic on canvas
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
September 2011
MOBA #533

The artist combined disparate techniques such as the "vanishing point" (a perspective device developed in the fifteenth century Renaissance) and "Pollockian drips" (a mid-twentieth century abstract paint application method) to portray a womanly apparition in a tulip field.

Watch the MOBA Curator Talk about this painting.

The artist combined disparate techniques such as the vanishing point, a perspective device developed in the fifteenth century Renaissance by masters such as Pietro Perugino, and Pollockian drips (a mid-twentieth century abstract paint application method explored by Jackson Pollock), to portray a womanly apparition in a tulip field.

CHRIST GIVING THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM TO ST. PETER
Pietro Perugino (1481)
CONVERGENCE
Jackson Pollock (1952)
BABY ATLAS
Anonymous
5' x 5', acrylic on canvas (9 20" x 20" paintings glued together)
Found in a hallway at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and donated by Mark Troia
September, 2009
MOBA #501

"I believe that children are our future . . ."

Who can disagree with Whitney Houston?

The Greatest Love Of All
Words by Linda Creed, Music by Michael Masser 
©1977 Gold Horizon Music Corp. & Golden Torch Music Corp.

À L'INTÉRIEUR DE L'OEUF
Illegble (Haitian)
32" x 24", oil on canvas
Purchased in Sousa, Dominican Republic
and donated by Susan Tompkins-Hunt
January 2007
MOBA #369

The French title adds to the mystique of this disturbing example of art brut.

Susan Tompkins-Hunt understands the painting to have been originally sold by a Haitian street vendor (possibly the artist) to a resort owner in Sosua, Dominican Republic for the equivalent of $22.13 plus a rum and coke. It was subsequently given as a gift to the owner of a tavern in Boston, MA, where it was displayed, coveted, and after extensive negotiations, purchased by Ms. Tompkins-Hunt. Aware that most of her friends and relatives were emotionally upset seeing A L'Interieur De L'oeuf on display in her home, she realized that MOBA is the proper repository for such a powerfully vexing work.

SPEWING RUBIK'S CUBES
K. Koch
oil on canvas 24"x18"
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
May 2007
MOBA #380

This image of the classic 1980s toys emanating from a jester gargoyle's mouth can only be described as puzzling.

From: Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press

ALL THINGS MUST PASS
M. Brown, 1995
approx. 8"x30", tempera on wood and sheet metal
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
December 2007
MOBA #441


This intriguing piece of outsider folk art illustrates the history of Western Civilization. Advances in technology from traditional hand tools to machines during the Industrial Revolution led to dramatic changes in the socioeconomic and cultural life. Today, as inflated fuel prices (this is clearly a diesel powered semi-tractor trailer truck) affect the world's economy and pollution (represented by the smoky exhaust) is global, it is time to move into the Postindustrial, or Information Age. The raw speed implicit in the image of the truck reminds us that, even with a double yellow line heading into a curve on a hill, we will be passed.

AN I FOR AN EYE
A. LivLaing Bradford (2001)
30" x 20" acrylic on canvas
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
March 2008
MOBA #456


The woman/tree unquestionably is crying out for help that will never come. Her morphing, arborescent figure, faceless and in shame, is reaching upward for sustenance while a torrent of tearful eyes cascades about her, threatening to bury her in her own psychosexual drift. Each eye, of course, represents not the optic organ but rather the homophonic letter "I", or "Id" that dark, inaccessible part of one's personality that subordinates reality to a childlike search for pleasure and gratification.

The tragedy depicted in this work is that the woman/tree knows that help (redemption?) is beyond her reach, and her legs/roots meander aimlessly atop a barren landscape, grounded in nothingness. She needs water but receives only salt from an unending well of sorrow.

MOBA Guest Interpretator: Steve Herman

THE SCIENTIST
Anonymous
28" x 36", mixed media on plywood
Anonymous donation
MOBA #382


Latex gloves and bodily fluids add color to this piece that depicts a laboratory experiment gone horribly awry.

Watch the MOBA Curator Talk about this painting.

The inspiration for this piece was an illustration from Andreas Vesalius' seminal anatomy text from 1543: De Humani Corporis Fabrica.


From: Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press

RETCH LIKE AN EGYPTIAN
Alla J. Gala
12" x 16", pastel on paper
Discovered in a folder of pastels donated anonymously to MOBA
February 2007
MOBA #321

This is a disturbing image of an Egyptian doubled over in pain, throwing up colorfully. The X-ray box clearly shows the source of his discomfort, and the black smoke from the pyramid indicates that a new pharaoh has not yet been chosen.

The artist made this painting while in art school, and was surprised and delighted to find it in Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks.

From: Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco

CREW CUT DREAMS
Leonardo (1977)
10" x 9", oil on art board
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
November 2006
MOBA #300

A man with short hair is depicted among seals, snakes, and other creatures sharing his bright red facial features. At first glance, we expect him to be uncomfortable or threatened. But these creatures smile and cuddle. There are no nightmares here - just the happy dreams of friendly forces that make life more pleasant.

From - Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press

DISSENT FROM THE PEDASTAL
Robert MacLeod
30" x 36", oil on canvas
Anonymous donation
MOBA #411

Infuriated and distraught about the state of the world, the iconic Lady of the Harbor has come down from her traditional perch, bemoaning the fact that, despite global warming, her day in the sun seems to have passed.

From: Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press

DRILLING FOR EGGS
William F. Murphy
30" x 30", oil on canvas
Purchased at a thrift store in Winston-Salem, NC and
donated by Karen McHugh
June 2007
MOBA #428
Donated by Karen McHugh


Green alligator flames dominate the foreground and a bright pink sky provides the backdrop for this disquieting depiction of a color-altered future in which eggs, a renewable resource, have replaced traditional hydrocarbon fuels. The artist is saying, in no uncertain terms, that unless we learn to conserve our priceless resources, the yolk will be on us.

From: Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press

PROSTHETIC CLAW
William F. Murphy
12" x 20", oil on canvas
Purchased at a thrift store in Winston-Salem, NC and
donated by Karen McHugh
MOBA #426


Inspired by the film Jurassic Park, many have speculated about the possibility of using traces of fossilized dinosaur DNA to produce a living Tyrannosaurus rex. Advances in cell-engineering techniques have led others to speculate about the possibility of using stem cells to grow human tissue. One scientist, Dr. Jose Cibelli, went so far as to secretly clone his own DNA inside a cow egg.

Prosthetic Claw portrays the unexpected results in this ethical boundary-stretching field of interspecies cloning. The central figure's immaculate white shoe contrasts with the grotesquely poor grooming of the hand, which is depicted in a universally understood gesture. The artist seems to be saying that these experiments will result in a giant "goose egg". The heavy-handed image is marred by a clumsily executed background of straight-from-the-tube oil paint colors that have become all too familiar to the MOBA curatorial staff.

From: Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco , Ten Speed Press

ON VACATION IN ITALY
Robert Muldrow (Brooklyn, 2007)
2ft x 3ft, oil on plywood
Donated by the artist
April 2008
MOBA #457

Mr. Muldrow writes, "Upon coming home from a fantastic vacation in Italy, I found my houseplants in a state of decline and extreme thirst. They were in sort of plant hell. This painting represents what I inferred were their feelings of suffering, neglect, and loneliness as well as my feelings of guilt and regret."

Japanese bonsai grand master Saburo Kato maintains, ". . . the most important sound is the footsteps of a bonsai trainer coming to care for his tree. This bond is very similar as the commitment between mother and child to nurture and guide the tree. The most important aspect of bonsai is the bond that exists or is created between a bonsai and its owner-trainer. We can only create true friendships if there is a gentle courtesy, respect, and justice. We can only seek peace if we are at peace with ourselves!"

Everyone at MOBA feels terrible for Mr. Muldrow, who clearly was devastated in the realization that he had broken a sacred bond with his plants. He has reportedly been coming to terms with his loss, and has reportedly begun leaving his house for short visits to the grocer and the dry cleaners. There are, however, no vacation plans in his immerdiate future.

The MOBA curatorial staff was drawn to this image for its emotional power as well as the straight-from-the-tube background colors almost identical to PROSTHETIC CLAW.

GERM OF AN IDEA
Anonymous
22"x  36", acrylic on canvas
Purchased at a a thrift store in Boston, MA
May 2008
MOBA #445


Note the similarity to AIM 2 in the POOR TRAITS collection.

AIM 2
Lloyd Graham, 2006
INVASION OF THE OFFICE ZOMBIES
Jenna Cathyla
24"x30" oil on canvas
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
April 2003
MOBA #253

This haunting scene draws us in subtle hints of capitalist morals. Note the Cleveland bill gracing the crooked floor. Does it foreshadow a new denomination that drives us all to the broken jail-cell window to throw our disembodied heads to the street?

From: Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco

JOHNNY MCGRORY
Unknown
11" x 14" circumference, Ceramic sculpture
Donated by the artist
1990s

With the innocence of an extra terrestrial, his arms in a straight jacket, his flat cap a mortar board as testament to his wisdom, the little red man cannot be quieted while something has been left unsaid.

LOVE IS BEING OUT ON A LIMB TOGETHER
Anonymous
21" x 24.5", Oil on board
1990s

Japanese in its simplicity: American in its text - this valentine in blue is a tribute to the poster poems of the 1970s.

LULLI, FOWL, AND GRAVESTONE
Michael Frank (August 1971, Copenhagen, Denmark)
8.5" x 11", watercolor on paper
Donated by the artist (MOBA Curator-in-Chief)
June 2007
MOBA #347

This work was presented to Lulli in Copenhagen and subsequently returned to the artist in New York soon after. The significance of Lulli and the objects portrayed was important to the artist at the time but was, unfortunately, erased from his memory long ago.

From: Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco

MORE
Sandy Winslow
16" x 20", acrylic on canvas
Acquired from trash
1990s

Three eyes are better than one: all the better to see you with, my dear.


REEF GARDENHassmer
36" x 36", Mixed media on masonite
Acquired by Scott Wilson from the Salvation Army Store

Here we are, witnessing the staging of a subaqueous musical extravaganza. On a silent cue, one pulsating incubator bursts, hurtling an anxious and curiously aged little merman upwards to the unknown world above the surface. The dancer stares, hypnotizing the viewer. We find ourselves forced to stay -- feel the music or drown.

SUICIDE
Anonymous
18" x 24", Acrylic on canvas
Rescued from trash

Bloody cloud bursts in an otherwise clear sky, frothing nostrils as the bovine beast dives, lemming like, and misses the phosphorescent, oily, swimming hole. 

SWAMETTE'S SECRET
Anonymous
30" x 20", acrylic on canvas
Acquired by Patricia Deardorff and Leigh Weesner from a thrift store

Calm clear shapes, multiple repeating patterns, a thickly textured aura and little red shoes come together to conceal or reveal the eternal complexity of simple truths in this exploration of the human psyche.


Additional Information
Dear Sirs,

The Museum Of Bad Art is thrilled to announce the newest addition to the permanent collection, "Swamette's Secret". We are stunned that Patricia and Leigh would have the generosity of spirit and public mindedness to even consider parting with this piece and entrusting it to our care. The museum and the museum-going public will be forever indebted to the virtual sisters for their landmark contribution to the MOBA collection. From all of us -- thank you.

More about this piece in the MOBA News � (under 'Recent Acquisitions')

Swamette's Secret has been featured in the phenominal "I Just Can't Stop" exhibit.

TABLES HAVE TURNED
Anonymous
24" x 18", acrylic on canvas
Acquired from trash

The anger screams from the canvas, the dysfunctional family fumes after fury's exit left. 

SENSITIVE
Anonymous
20” x 16”, marker and paper on cloth
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
May 2007
MOBA #414

From: Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco

BLUE GOD
Anonymous
30” x 36”, acrylic on canvas
Purchased at a thrift shop in Ft. Lauderdale, FL
and donated by Stephen Nonack
March 2016

A great blue spirit watches over a tropical paradise featuring magnificent frigate birds, scarlet ibises, a red octopus, a precooked lobster, tropical fish, and sunken treasure.

BOARD TO DEATH
Anonymous
18" x 24", oil on wood panel
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
September 2007

Unable to complete their game of chess because they cannot move their arms from within their sleeveless robes, Death and his adversary slouch dejectedly near a mountain precipice. The striking juxtaposition of bright diagonal blue sky and somber thematic content accentuates the piece's eccentric mix of poignancy and Dada. By wrapping the figures in hooded robes, the artist neatly avoided the challenges of depicting the human form.

The anonymous painter of this work firmly shut the door on all normative painterly decisions about composition, color, texture, symbolism, metaphor and most other preoccupations that attend the conventional modernist role of the artist as the privileged purveyor of an intuitive creativity shepherded by a genius recourse to tact and taste.


Interpretated by Pio and Elizabeth
ILLUSION OR CONFUSION
Steve Whitehurst (c.1967)
24” x 11”, oil on canvas
Donated by Shirley Whitehurst
March 2017

The artist depicted floating aquatic daisies surrounding the reflection of the sun in a pool of rippling water. The viewer is left to ponder who is lurking in the foliage.

OIL LAMP, C-CLAMP, GECKO, FRUIT TREES & EGG
Phyllis Beinart
24” x 36”, oil on canvas
Donated by the artist
December 2017

The artist depicted an unusual array of seemingly unrelated items under a starry night sky.

DEATH IS BEAUTIFUL
John Kim (1991)
10" x 20", mixed media on canvas
Purchased at an antique store in Warrensburg, NY
September 2018

The artist wrote the title on the reverse side of this macabre work; proving once again that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

HIDE AND GO SEEK
Beth
12" x 14", acrylic on canvas
Purchased at a thrift store in Corpus Christi, TX and donated by Gerald Lopez
August 2015

The young girl who is "It" slowly counts to ten, unaware of the surprise waiting in the forest.

RODIN RAINBOW
Anonymous
10" x 14", acrylic on canvas board
Purchased in a thrift store in Boston, MA
June 2014

While all his friends have found love, The Thinker can't help but wonder whether the rainbow is a harbinger of a change in his luck.

FEAST OF FOOLS
Anonymous
30” x 15”, acrylic on canvas
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
April 2010

Lunch is served, but nobody seems to care.

THE DEATH OF MARAT
David Santa Fe
24" x 18", oil on canvas
Purchased in Havana, Cuba
November 2011

This painting was obviously inspired by Jacques-Louis David’s depiction of the death of Jean-Paul Marat, a scientist and physician who became a radical journalist and leader of the Jacobins during the French Revolution. He suffered from a painful skin disease and sought relief by spending hours soaking in his bathtub. On July 13, 1793, a young woman named Charlotte Corday requested a meeting with Monsieur Marat in his bathroom/office, and proceeded to stab him with a large kitchen knife.

While Mademoiselle Corday does not appear in David’s painting, she can be seen glaring at her dying victim from behind the curtain in this painting. Rather than a messy pool of blood, his life leaves his body as steam from a tiny wound like the exhaust from a whale’s blowhole. Marat is inexplicably depicted small enough to bathe in a coconut shell; dwarfed by the fruit and machete on the tabletop.

LA MORT DE MARAT Jacques-Louis David, 1793
ORANGE COLORED SKY
Anonymous
24" x 18", acrylic on canvas
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
October 2012
MOBA #552

A nondescript everyman reaches forward, trying to touch, grasp, and become one with the expanse of orangeness around him.

The artist was clearly influenced by the color field paintings of Barnett Newman, and decided to add the representational element they so sorely needed.

EVE
Barnett Newman, 1950
THE THIRD
Barnett Newman, 1962
WHITE AND HOT
Barnett Newman, 1967

Watch the MOBA Curator Talk about this painting.

THE MILKMAID
Illegible
12"x16", oil on canvas
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
March, 2011

Apparently fond of the domestic worker in Jan Johannes Vermeer's seventeenth century painting DE MELKMEID, the artist chose to brighten her austere work environment with a lovely bouquet of flowers.

DE MELKMEID
Johannes Jan Vermeer, 1658
TOO FAT PEOPLE
Leger Vilfort
29" x 39", acrylic on canvas
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA,
July, 2008

The brightly autumnal forest of minuscule bonsai trees in the background perfectly match the hues of the couple’s casual attire.

Probably influenced by Peter Paul Rubens’ “Reubenesque women” and Fernando Botero’s “inflated images”, Leger Vilfort paints a portrait of rotund lovers with impossibly tiny feet sharing a private moment in which they shyly avoid direct eye contact. 

VENUS AT HER MIRROR
Peter Paul Rubens, 1613-14
A COUPLE
Fernando Botero, 1995



 












MOBA is in possession of a related work by this artist.

TOO MORE FAT PEOPLE
Leger Vilfort
TOO MORE FAT PEOPLE
Leger Vilfort
11.75” x 16”, acrylic on canvas
Purchased at a thrift shop in Amherst, MA and
donated by Mary Glavin
July 2015

This endearing portrait of corpulent lovers may be a study for a larger painting in the MOBA collection – TOO FAT PEOPLE.
In this version, the artist used a different straight-from-the-tube autumnal color scheme, reversed the positions of the sweethearts, and portrayed them standing rather than sitting.

TOO FAT PEOPLE
Leger Vilfort


AIM 2
Lloyd Graham (Australia, 2006)
18" x 24", oil on canvas
Donated by the artist
April 2007
MOBA #372

"[This is my] partner Lyn, losing the battle with the middle objective of her research grant proposal (something to do with cross-talk between insulin-like growth factor binding proteins and retinoid-X receptor heterodimerization, since you ask)." - Text by the artist

From: Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press.

HEATHER COME HITHER
Bianka
30" x 24", oil on canvas
Salvaged by M. Frank from curbside trash in Boston
May 2006
MOBA #280


Larger than life, she purrs with her big bedroom eyes open wide in anticipation, "Hello boys". Bianka knew, the more hair the better.

From - Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press.

HOLLYWOOD LIPS
Anonymous
15" x 12" , oil on cardboard
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
September 2006
MOBA #343


In Hollywood, even the palm trees have had work done.

From - Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press

JEREZ THE CLOWN
Higgins
Acrylic on canvas
Acquired from Todd Farm Flea Market
1995

A perfect depiction of pure evil in the guise of childhood's friend. This blending of big top themes with a piercing study of the dark side of human nature, elevates the well worn clown genre to a new and exhilarating level.

LUCY IN THE SKY WITH FLOWERS
Unknown
24" x 30", oil on canvas
Rescued from trash in Boston
MOBA #1

The motion, the chair, the sway of her breast, the subtle hues of the sky, the expression on her face -- every detail combines to create this transcendent and compelling portrait, every detail cries out "masterpiece."

This painting planted the seed that grew into MOBA. Upon seeing this painting of her grandmother in a local newspaper, Susan Lawlor contacted the Museum with detailed information about its provenance. Anna Lally Keane lived with her daughter Eileen (Ms. Lawlor's aunt) for much of her adult life. Anna Keane died in her 70's sometime around 1968. A year or two later, Ms Lawlor's mother dug out two photos of Anna Lally Keane and sent them to an artist, and commissioned a painting. The painting was to be a present to her sister Eileen.
The day that the painting arrived wrapped in paper. Everyone gathered around to watch as the paper was torn off; the thirteen year old Susan bit her lip to keep from gasping. It was a wonderfully accurate likeness of her grandmother's face in an oddly postured and formed body against a bizarre, surreal background.
Her mother, who commissioned the painting, was quite pleased with the result and gave it to her sister Eileen. The painting hung in Eileen's house for many years. Ms. Lawlor and her siblings have strong memories of the strange portrait hung in Eileen's living room.
Before the house was put on the market, a cousin hired an estate clearance company to make the property ready for sale. Sometime later, Ms Lawlor asked her mother what ever became of the portrait -- no one seemed to know. The family assumed the painting was either discarded in the trash, or possibly sold. As it turned out, someone in Roslindale, MA acquired the painting, hung on to it for 5 years or so and then disposed of it in the trash. Scott Wilson, MOBA's original Esteemed Curator, spotted the painting, pulled it from the trash, and MOBA was born.
Ms. Lawlor was obviously moved upon seeing the stunning portrait of her grandmother again and is thrilled that MOBA rescued the painting from certain destruction. enrolled as a charter Friend Of MOBA and attended MOBA's Gallery In The Woods on Aug 26, where her grandmother was proudly hung from the pine trees of Cape Cod.
MOBA welcomes Ms. Lawlor to the Friends Of MOBA, and is eternally grateful for filling us in on the fascinating background of the museum's most valued paintings.
 
 
RECLINING NUDE
Unknown
Oil on canvas
Acquired from trash
late 1990s

The artist plays with the luminosity of skin where the sun never shines, and the grace and comfort of crossed legs in repose. We believe this may be a self-portrait, as Unknown, naked and proud, faces the fiery furnace. 

RED FIGURE WITH BRAIDS

Carlos Rangel
42" x 5" circumference, Painted wood sculpture
Acquired from Boston Thrift Store by Scott Wilson

A monument to self-confidence. The delicately balanced tiny figure stands tall, leaning towards us in cardinal colors, her pocketbook held proudly at her side. Could this be the ancestor of a late night television show host? 
SAD BABY
Anonymous
16" x 20", oil on canvas
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
May 2006
MOBA #259

Lost puppy? No one to play with? Nothing on TV? What sad fate has befallen this young beauty with the big red bow? Her life is so empty she must conjure an imaginary shelf on which to lean.

From - Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press

SHY GLANCE
Dawn Marie Jingagian
18" x 24", Acrylic on canvas
Rescued from trash in Boston, MA
1990s

The embarrassment and longing of first love, is reflected in the cheek as shiny as an apple, the half smile hidden behind lank hair. 

SUNDAY ON THE POT WITH GEORGE
John Gedraitis
22" x 37", Acrylic on Canvas
Donated by Jim Schulman
MOBA # 2


Can the swirling steam melt away the huge weight of George's corporate responsibilities?

A fine example of labor intensive pointlessism, this painting is curious for the artist's meticulous attention to fine detail such as the stitching around the edge of the towel, in contrast to the almost careless disregard for the subject's feet.

EXERPT FROM THE MOBA NEWS, ISSUE #28
The following note was received from Jim Shulman, donor of this MOBA masterpiece:

"In a sense, Sunday on the Pot With George takes a far more prominent place in my life than ever before. A friend mentioned that The Masterpiece appeared on the CBS Morning News. I asked him how he could tell: he said that George was the single most memorable artistic experience in his life -- a bit like his recent bout with the shingles -- and left an indelible impression.

"I never thought that all this fuss would take place over my modest bequest. Well, as Margaret Trudeau once said 'Some are born great, and others have greatness thrust into them.'"

CHIEF PONTIAC
Pastel on paper

Found among some quasi-Egyptian art, this portrait bears an uncanny resemblance to Chief Pontiac, or at least to the image of him portrayed in a 1950 Pontiac Chieftain hood ornament:

Mrs. Pontiac
Pastel on paper

Chief Pontiac's lovely Nubian wife.

BAILANDO
Rosalyn Frederick, 1994
20" x 16" oil on canvas
Purchased at a thrift store, Boston, MA
September 2009

Watch the MOBA Curator Talk about this painting.
The artist celebrates the joy of social dancing in this delightful depiction of an embracing Mexican couple. This work is a cross-cultural homage to the important trio of paintings by French impressionist Pierre Aguste Renoir made in 1883: DANCE AT BOUGIVAL (1883), DANCE IN THE COUNTRY (1883), and DANCE IN THE CITY (1883),

  
QUEEN OF THE CHOCOLATE CHIP
Christian
24" x 24", watercolor on paper
Acquired at a yard sale
MOBA #180

This is a commentary on the incongruity of royalism at the close of the second millennium. The formality of the pose contrasts with the laissex faire attitude of Her Majesty, caught mid chew, as she sports a jaunty beret in preference to her emerald encrusted crown.

Watch the MOBA Curator Talk about this painting.

QUEEN OF THE CHOCOLATE CHIP was probably inspired by an 18th century painting by Louis de Silvestre (1675–1760)

PORTRAIT OF PRINCESS MARIA AMALIA OF SAXONY IN POLISH COSTUME
Louis de Silvestre, 1738
Current location: Prado Museum

Watch the MOBA Curator Talk about this painting.

From: Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press

KEY MAN
Anonymous
18" x 14", oil paint, keys, and found objects on canvas board
Anonymous donation
June 2007

This may be a resident of Key West.

MISS LONELYHEART
Illegible
20" x 16", oil on canvas
Purchased by thrift store in Boston, MA
October 2010
MOBA #485

Vaguely aware of the other patrons behind her, an attractive slim woman with very long legs sits with her glass of red wine and single rose at a table for one featuring a large bouquet of flowers, wondering when love will arrive.

EYE WISH EYE WERE AN OSCAR MEYER WEINER
Anonymous
48" x 14", oil on canvas
Purchased at the Brimfield, MA Antique Fair and
donated by Cindi Chapman
December 2009

This monochrome portrait of a young boy, repellent and yet compelling, is fraught with unanswerable questions. Where is his right big toe, does he have a right hand, and why is he portrayed wearing nothing but a short sleeve shirt that is obviously too small to fit over his belly; seemingly swollen in an unlikely pregnancy?

MUJERES Y PUROS HERMOSOS
Anonymous
13" x 17", acrylic on canvas
Purchased at a souvenir market in Havana, Cuba
November 2009

The Curator-in-Chief descended from the MOBA Ivory Tower to visit Havana and purchased this painting in a souvenir market for his personal collection. He understands that this celebration of Cuba's fine cigars and beautiful women is a commercial product and, therefore, not really appropriate for the MOBA collection, but believes it is compelling enough to share with MOBA fans who have not had the opportunity to visit the island nation.

WHY THE LONG FACE?
Sixten Borg (2015)
12.5” x 9”, acrylic on panel
Donated by the artist
November 2017

When asked about the apparent distortion of his countenance in this self-portrait, the artist provided a detailed explanation involving a mirror leaning on a bowl. He added that his life was a bit of a struggle at the time, accounting for his gloomy appearance. He assures us that “Things are better now.”

BABY DOLLS
Dee Landerman, 2005
20” x 16”, oil on canvas
Donated by John Rankine
April 2014

This portrait was donated to the MOBA Collection by the subject, who was inexplicably relegated to the background like a watermark. The yellowing varnish on the paint surface enhances the eldritch nature of the image.

FLYING FORKS
Illegible
36" x 46", acrylic on canvas
Rescued from trash in Brighton, MA and
donated by Eliot Jackson and Stacy Sylvain
February 2011

We see young man and young woman sitting face to face in a vaguely defined outdoor setting; the viewer’s prospective is ¾ behind the man. Seemingly oblivious to whatever is going on above and behind her, the woman seems concerned about the mental state of her partner, who maintains a death grip on a dismembered steering wheel. While the significance of the cross in the background is unclear, this painting seems to be visual representation of Yogi Berra’s advice, “When you’re driving an imaginary car and you see a flying fork, take it.”

THE DRIP
Anonymous
18"x18", oil on canvas
Purchased at a yard sale in Salisbury, MA
and donated by Rick Nelson
May 2012
MOBA #491

The artist scratched the orange background paint with a sharp object to reinforce the violence of this image of an armless raven-haired woman in a white dress sitting on a barstool with blood dripping from a bullet wound between her scapulae. Somehow she remains upright.

Watch the MOBA Curator Talk about this painting.

ELIAN GONZALEZ' GRANDMOTHERS
Gisela Keller, 1973
18" x 24", oil on canvas
on loan from the collection of Curator-in-Chief Mike Frank
MOBA #193

Lush tropical foliage that dwarfs the tiny grandmothers and brilliant colors demand the viewer's attention. Painting almost 30 years before the fact, the visionary artist depicts the boy-hero's grandmothers' return from visiting him in Miami to their native Cuba, where the tropical plants are muy grande.

From: Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco

CHILD WITH CHICK IN HAND
Shirly Flax, 1990
20" x 16", oil on canvas
purchased at a consignment store in Acton, MA
and donated by Sue Cooper
May 2009

The title printed on the back of this painting of a doe-eyed young girl led MOBA curators to infer that the amorphous mass in her right hand is, in fact, a baby chick. The girl wears a serene smile; unaware that her soft downy pet will soon become an noisy adult chicken requiring a substantial investment of her time providing food, water, and a clean environment.

This work shares a common theme with another painting in the MOBA collection: A BIRD IN THE HAND

A BIRD IN THE HAND
Norman Wallace, 1965

Both are reminiscent of an earlier French work.

Une petite fille tenant un oiseau
(Little Girl Holding A Bird)
Etienne Adolphe Piot (1850-1910)
A BIRD IN THE HAND
Norman Wallace, 1965
20"x16", oil on canvas board
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
September 2009

Mr. Wallace used pleasant pastel hues in this portrait of a young girl with beautiful eyelashes concerned about an injured, or possibly deceased, songbird.

THE GAME
Phyllis Beinart (1994)
35” x 46”, oil on canvas
Donated by the artist
November 2017

While no one said it aloud, the other players all suspected Helen’s extra finger afforded her an unfair advantage at the mahjong table.

MARY AND HER DOG
Mildred Scarcliff (1943)
20" x 16", oil on canvas
Rescued from trash in Jackson, MS and
donated by Lisa McClure-Leduc
September 2015
PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN
Lloyd Graham
20" x 16"
Oil on canvas
Donated by the artist (Australia)
April 2007

This is an emotive portrait of myself as a college student in the late 70s.

ONLY A FLESH WOUND
Lance D.
14" x 11", acrylic on canvas
Donated by Aline McKenzie, Dallas TX
June 2009

The unidentified subject's personality was so large his image could not be constrained by the frame around his portrait in this painting within a painting. His handle bar smile is deceiving; pain evident in the tears welling up in his baby-blues. The band-aids on his inexplicably transparent forehead do nothing to stem the bleeding from what appears to be a serious throat injury.

WHAT, ME WORRY ABOUT TIME?
Brandon Cooper
24” x 18”, oil on canvas
Donated by Stephanie Trabold and Joe Bindert
December 2016
 EILEEN
R. Angelo Le
18" x 24", Acrylic on canvas
Rescued from trash in Boston, MA
mid 1994

Remarkable in its simplicity, this passionate portrait of a girl with green eyes appeals every emotion. Which passion was uppermost in the painter's heart? Knife stroke follows brush stroke. The hint of a second signature in the top right corner suggests a struggle. An infinitely interesting and sometimes disturbing neo-primitive portrait. 

Although not apparent here, the painting has what appears be a knife slash in the canvas -- adding an additional element of drama an already powerful work.

Eileen's Uncle Phil
Anonymous
16" x 20", oil on Canvas
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
May 2007
THE EXQUISITE CORPSE
Silvia
32” x 24”, oil on canvas
Purchased in Havana, Cuba
November 2016

The nails applied like acupuncture needles directly to her heart were probably too little too late to save this beautiful woman. The wires from her earbuds were not strong enough close her chest wound. The perfectly manicured dog gazes directly at the viewer, but offers no insight into the woman’s marshmallow hat, the little guy on her shoulder, or the fried eggs on her left and right.

18" x 14" acrylic on canvas panel
Donated by Doug Shive
September 2006


Impressed by how well they worked on her pets' and her own teeth, Annie used Crest Whitestrips to brighten her toenails.

From - Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press