Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Museum of Bad Art

Teresa, with "Green Figure on Sharp Rock." The curator wrote: "a work of profound sadness. An ocean-skinned nymphet, her bottom abraded by barnacles, surveys her options in the face of an unpleasant storm." Also, "Hollywood Lips," by Tiffany Nelson. "In Hollywood, even the palm trees have had work done."

Click on the title to check out this place. Tony rented a car for work stuff for a day, which meant we were suddenly, effortlessly mobile for an evening, so we grabbed Max and Teresa and drove to Dedham to see the Museum of Bad Art in the last hour before it closed. Thank you Paul Hastings for telling me it existed.

The Museum of Bad Art is a collection of paintings that were found in the trash, in thrift stores, or donated by people who recognized that they were never going to make it in the big time as genius of visual media. Normally, I try to avoid bad art, especially since I have to spend so much of my time reading bad writing. (I mean, "student writing," which, according to the theorists, is a VERY different thing.)

But no matter. When you descend into the yellowish basement, on your way to the bathrooms at the Dedham Community Theater, suddenly you enter a world where the worse the art is, the more wonder and awe and pleasure it produces. Mike Frank, the curator, has written interpretive cards for each painting, which, of course, are the highlight of the experience. And it's the same type of pleasure as Mystery Science Theater 3000--where the insanity of the original media is compouded and enhanced by comedic interpretation. (If you don't know, you better go to MST3K)

I think the publicity will be more important, in the long run, than any worries about copyright here, so I'll give you a mini-tour. Here is Tony, emerging from the Men's, next to a painting entitled "No Visible Means of Support."

This one is called "Thornton's Pond," and it was acquired from the trash. "The sky exhales a feathery rush, defying reflection in the murky alpine waters."

Max's favorite. A color-pencil drawing of a cat, with a kind of ghostly dog hovering over him. Titled "He Was My Friend." One the largest, about which there is apparently a grand debate, regarding its level of "completedness," due to the empty, vacant eyes...

My favorite, "The Waterfall," which appears to be one of those endearing efforts towards "happy trees." The curator chimes in with "snow-capped peaks tower over this summer meadow featuring evergreens, wildflowers, and a waterfall of mysterious origin."

After our excursion to the MOBA, we ate a resoundingly bad meal at Bertuccis, and tried to see it all as a package, as a perfect evening in the suburbs. We got close, I think. We got close.

1 comment:

  1. this is amazing. i would like to see this place some day. and, you know, hang out with you, tony, max, and theresa.