Monday, March 19, 2012


-JJ Palencar


The MOBA Museum

In the pursuit of excellence we try to attain perfection but one can get lost along the way. These artists have lost their way. The primordial innocence of their attempts must be admired for we all start somewhere.

Ladies and gentlemen I give you the Museum of Bad Art.


  1. Here in Milwaukee some call it "outsider art":

  2. Been there many times and I must say there is a rawness to the bad museum that is more satisfying/interactive on an emotional level than many of the stale installations at a certain respected abstract museum further west.

  3. This brings up some interesting questions in my mind. Like the curator said, "What gives (other museums) the right to call themselves museums of FINE art" If there's fine art there must be bad art too, but who gets to make the decision? I recently saw a collection of drawings by Picasso and I was most impressed by the "realistic" drawings he did when he was a teenager; but we all say Picasso's abstract stuff is great. Is it great on its own, or is it great because he pushed the envelope? Is it all about timing, or is his art truly 'timeless'? If Picasso was an unknown artist who started painting today, would he earn a place in MOBA?

  4. At first glance before having read the text I really thought you had lost it. This image is very special.

  5. I agree with David.... I think timing has EVERYTHING to do with it. Picasso made it, because his stuff was SO different. But he was still working through things like design, and color, and value patterns.... all things that "good" art has. The stuff we all study in school. I think there is objectively good art and bad because of those elements: composition, value, color balance, etc. Passed those elements, it's subjective. You can have a non-anatomical figure, but still have all the other elements, and it can be great art (i.e. Picasso)

  6. everything aside.... these people are still pretty sad though. They're not really helping their cause.

  7. Reading this post on an illustration blog that where the contributors are successful commercial illustrators is particularly interesting I think. Obviously many of these art can be questioned in terms of quality of composition, design, colors etc but when I think that I've see quite a bit of successful artists (I mean they sell their paintings) that paint in "similar bad style" it really make me wonder about how subjective this topic is.

  8. I think this whole post is misguided - correct and strengthen your students, teach them to see and to practice but for all the claimed 'good' intentions here, it is still about passing judgement for amusement. We don't know the story of these works, confined to the trash maybe but perhaps the execution of said piece saved someone's sanity or helped heal a wound, made a connection to the world. 'Lost their way'??? from your perspective yes, but from theirs? - you just don't know.

  9. Picasso could paint. I don't think everything he did was good. Especially not towards the end. But he wasn't a bad artist. And there's a still a difference between good and bad art, however abstract. You could claim everything is subjective, but in the end there are still values that hold throuhgout. Some people like watching really bad horror movies. But the fact that some people like watching them doesn't mean they're actually good.

    "perhaps the execution of said piece saved someone's sanity or helped heal a wound"

    And what are you trying to say with this? The art work is still bad. I like to sing in the shower. It makes me happy, but it doesn't mean I expect anyone to like it... (They'll just have to bear with me. ;P )

    I never understood why people instantly object when somebody sings badly, or makes a really crappy movie. But as soon as it comes to visual art we suddenly have to be really open minded and respect the artists feelings?

    1. I agree - you sing in the shower and it makes you feel good, so do I and I have a really bad voice too. But the difference is that I or you have not gone out there and tried to do it publicy - it remains private. What I am saying is that from what I can gather from the clip we don't know the history/reason those works were produced. The makers like you in the shower did not, as far as we know, try to say they were examples of good art and perhaps did not even try to market them, maybe they did, we just don't know. They seem to have been found in rubbish dumps etc and so are now being judged as pieces that were intended for public critque and/or consumption. It would be like someone recording your shower singing or findin ga recording that a sneaky member of your family had made without your consent or knowledge and uploading it to the web for critque and potential ridicule.

      There is a fine line here between constructive criticism that helps the student and belittling something just to reinforce the belief that your skills are superiour, which seems to be what's happening here in some of the responces. If those works were produced and brought for critique in any class of mine I would certainly tell the creators exactly what was wrong with them and why - yes, they are incredibly deficient in many ways but as a teacher it utterly falls short if you cannot or do not have the chance to communicate that to the one who actually produced it, or if using them as annonymous examples in a class then engage a reasoned, constructive discussion as to the points of fault and failure, i.e. things to avoid and WHY, don't giggle and make fun of, nor cheer when a particularly bad example is unvailed.

      Pride goes before a fall...(yes, I'm really old)

  10. I think it's a fun concept. I only object to them driving nails in trees! WTF!

  11. Some of these pieces are absolutely awesome in their badness! I really don't see much difference between these and some of the expressionist art in museums except that the museum artists did it first. The badness of the drawing in some of these parallels a bit of the naive illustration art that is trendy at the moment, but I think there is a difference between not drawing well on purpose and not knowing the how to draw well.

  12. That reminds me of works by Elizabeth Layton, who is well worth looking into because her drawings and works are interesting.