Melancholy at the Museum of Bad Art

Museum of Bad Art patrons

You know how The Rocky Horror Picture Show is so bad, it’s good? That’s the idea behind the Museum of Bad Art.

As I viewed the paintings and read the interpretive gallery notes, I heard occasional bursts of hearty laughter from other patrons who were tickled by the exhibit.

The whole place, though, gave me a different feeling. Sure, some of the artists made questionable artistic choices, or gave a nude woman a questionable number of fingers, but these artists had clearly infused their paintings with their earnest attempts to create something interesting.

Museum of Bad Art collage of 3 paintings

That in fact is one of the criteria for inclusion; there is no art here that is bad on purpose.

Some of the paintings had been found abandoned in the trash or at tag sales, while some had been donated by the artists themselves after they had presumably gained greater sophistication.

I walked the basement space that seemed to be cluttered and dingy to add to its “Isn’t it awful?” vibe, and I felt like I was the only observer who didn’t think it was all hilarious.

I thought some of the bad art was quite good, a pop of color here, a vivid smile there, a creative twist on a classic painting or photograph. I felt like I did as a child when I grieved for the abandoned creations on the Island of Misfit Toys. So what if a bird swims instead of flies? Ever hear of a penguin?

Museum of Bad Art

These artists took color and texture and light and made something new. Their paintings may spend most of their lives being laughed at, but from me they got a bit of respect.

Here’s to art, good or bad. It sure beats a kick in the head.

Randy at Museum of Bad Art

The Museum of Bad Art is housed in the basement of the Somerville Theatre in Somerville, Massachusetts. Admission is free with the purchase of a movie ticket.

P.S. I kept up my strategy of bribing family members to go to museums with me when, inexplicably, my husband didn’t want to travel three hours to see bad art. There were high-speed go karts in the area, though, to entice him to join me.

101 things button  #67 (101 things in 1001 days): Go to at least five offbeat or small museums.

  1. Bling at the PEZ Factory
  2. Seagulls and the Temple of Trash
  3. Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum
  4. Melancholy at the Museum of Bad Art
  5. Let’s Talk About the Museum of Sex

Related post: My art class experience (Is mediocre art worse than bad art? Probably.)

About Marcy

I blog about trying to get out of my comfort zone, completing 101 things in 1001 days (and beyond), and writing my memoirs. My book: Timid No More.
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8 Responses to Melancholy at the Museum of Bad Art

  1. I love a quote by Andy Warhol that goes something like, Keep making art and don’t worry about who likes it or who wants it. While everyone else is deciding what they think about it, keep making more art.

  2. Rae Hilhorst says:

    I think the fact that someone has been brave enough to submit their art is a big ask as art I think is so personal. I do the same, bribe members to come with me and include an ulterior motive, I sometimes don’t reveal the ulterior motive till me are there, works well. Though I do occasionally get ‘you didn’t tell me where we going here, oh why do I have to come’. Rae xxx

  3. Pingback: COMPLETED: 101 Things in 1001 Days | (Don't Be) Too Timid and Squeamish

  4. Pingback: Let’s Talk About the Museum of Sex | (Don't Be) Too Timid and Squeamish

  5. Pingback: Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum | (Don't Be) Too Timid and Squeamish

  6. Pingback: Seagulls and the Temple of Trash | (Don't Be) Too Timid and Squeamish

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