On a warm spring night this past June, Scott Wilson, the Museum Of Bad Art's Esteemed Curator was hard at work.
As he stopped to look more closely at a small canvas, he noticed an old text book lying in the same pile of trash, on a Roslindale street.
The title of the old frayed tome caught his eye -- "Anyone Can Paint" by Arthur Zaidenberg. He threw what would become MOBA's "bible" into the MOBA van, and continued with the work at hand.
Later that evening, Mr. Wilson took a closer look. It was a text book from 1941 that started with the proposition that "anyone can paint" and if they did -- they would lead happier and healthier lives. The book was written for the complete novice painter and walked the reader methodically through each of the major technical skills involved in painting -- all in a most clear and uplifting style.
Mr. Wilson thought that the book's exuberant and practical approach was a wonderful way to inspire nearly anyone to pick up a brush -- and for those harder to inspire -- the book featured a preponderance of nudes. Whether a chapter was about using charcoal or painting landscapes the one constant was the quantity of nudes.
After a casual browsing, Mr. Wilson read the introduction. The author enthused with excitement and joy about the pleasures of painting, and convincingly conveyed his belief that "anyone can paint".
The final words of this inspirational introduction were "know what you like, paint how you feel". For our esteemed curator, these eight simple words captured the entire ethos of his proud institution -- from the audience to the artists.
KNOW WHAT YOU LIKE, PAINT HOW YOU FEEL
Opening night crowd delighting in the art, above
MOBA's first foray into the hallowed halls of academia opened to record crowds at Montserrat College of Art's Main St Gallery in Beverly MA.
MOBA took Beverly MA by storm last Friday night. MOBA's latest show -- "Know What You Like / Paint How You Feel" presented a cross section Of MOBA's permanent collection along with the MOBA Virtual Museum CD-ROM at the Cabot Gallery at Montserrat College Of Art.
In spite of miserable weather, approximately 200 people turned up at the former furniture store for a firsthand look at MOBA's exhibition. After opening remarks by Ethan Berry and our Executive Director, the enthusiastic crowd toured the gallery and noshed on the plentiful food, generously supplied by out hosts at the college - peanut butter, raspberry fluff, spam, and gallons of fluorescent (is there any other kind) colored Kool-Aid.
Later in the evening, as part of MOBA's ongoing educational program, our Esteemed Curator led the public through a few of the more interesting pieces that have recently been rejected by MOBA. Mr. Wilson explained the curatorial process involved with each rejection, highlighting the sometimes subtle attributes that can keep a piece out Of MOBA's permanent collection. He showed a few pieces that a lesser curator of bad art might let slip by. The gallery crowd seemed to particularly enjoy this display of "close but no cigar" works, and the opportunity to appreciate the sublime shadings involved in the curator's finely tuned judgements.
At one point, Montserrat's gallery director, Barbara O'Brien and a member of the public whom she had just met, spontaneously took to the stage and introduced a presentation entitled "Top 10 Reasons to Collect Bad Art". As it turned out, they only had two reasons, but all in attendance agreed -- it was a good start.
Later still, five exceptional new additions to the permanent collection were unveiled to the eagerly awaiting audience.
"Taiarapu" -- a brooding Indian squaw, rendered in many shades of chocolate.
"The Horror, The Glory" -- an epic battle scene with a cast of thousands.
"Lipstick Twins" -- The artist, Aimee LeBec, was on hand to pull back the veil of her joyous and confused image of the lipstick smeared little girls. This painting was a generous gift to MOBA from the world renowned hosts of the Somerville Community Access TV's Barry Mackeral Show -- Barry Mackeral and Paul Leonard. MOBA is honored that Ms. LeBec, Mr. Mackeral, and Mr. Leonard took time out from their busy schedules to attend Friday night's gala.
"Jerez the Clown" -- a startling portrait of a clown with a satanic glare. This proved to be the most controversial of the new additions.
"Sid's Birthday" -- A huge canvas, possibly part of a massive tryptic, that captures the face, portion of his head, and very very long neck of Sid, all bathed in light from an unseen, off canvas birthday cake.
The exhibition at Montserrat's Cabot St Gallery runs through Sat, Sept 30.
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RECENT ACQUISITIONS - SWAMETTE'S SECRET
MOBA recently received an urgent, agitated email message from our longtime friend and correspondent on the west coast -- Patricia
Deadroff. It seems that Patricia and Leigh Weeser, her virtual sister, had just stumbled on a painting at the local Goodwill Store.
From the tone, language, spelling, punctuation, and general hysteria of the message we knew this was not going to be a typical submission:
THIS THING. IS. BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD ART. Way far bad art, artless, art filled with shame and rebuke, art from the ..... SWAMP Of Human
Consciousness, Art made to exist on for one mad moment in time then stuck in the pits and trash of denial.
Over the next few days a flurry of email flashed back and forth across the country between MOBA and the Virtual Sisters as plans proceeded to package and
ship the work to MOBA. With each message it became clearer that this painting had some strange and powerful force that was exerting itself on all who came in
contact with it.
The package arrived at MOBA's offices early on Saturday morning. After cutting through and unpacking the masking tape, the brown paper, the plastic lawn
bags, the kitchen garbage bags, the ribbon, the string, the shopping bags we reached the painting -- it is breathtaking!
This is without a doubt one of the richest, most complex, paralyzing pieces ever submitted to this institution. The simple colors and simple shapes in endlessly
repeated patterns are a thin veneer over that most complex, bizarre and wondrous subject -- the human psyche.
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ONLINE GIFT SHOP
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MOBA'S PERMANENT GALLERY
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Admission to MOBA is always free, with significant discounts to anyone who has published a book or article that mentions MOBA.