Museum of Bad Art [MOBA]

Episode 115: Today I talk with Michael Frank. He’s the chief curator at the Museum of Bad Art [MOBA] in Somerville, Ma., where their motto is “Art too bad to be ignored.”

ELVIS DESCENDING A STAIRCASEThom Donovan16″ x 12″, acrylic on velvetDonated by the artist September 2009. Employing materials often associated with kitsch, the artist presents variation on a theme by Marcel Duchamp, reflecting the steady decline of an American legend.
THINK AGAIN Richie 20″ x 16″, acrylic on canvas Rescued from trash by Scott Wilson MOBA # 83 This disturbing work “makes an offer you can’t refuse”. The chilling, matter-of-fact manner in which the subject presents the severed head to us is a poignant reminder of just how numb we have become. The understated violence implicit in the scene speaks volumes on our own desensification, our society’s reflexive use of force, and the artist’s inability to deal with the hindquarters of the animal. Controversy surrounds this painting. After being accepted into the Permanent Collection by MOBA’s Esteemed Curator, the museum was informed by friend of MOBA, Ken Roberts of Canary Studios in Oakland CA of the existence of a frighteningly similar work in his own private collection. The piece depicts an equally groomed horses head and an identical member of the Jackson family, against a dark blue background. Do you have evidence that this is this an original work or art or a reproduction? Have you seen it before? If you have any information that can help exonerate the curator of charges of gross dereliction of duty — or if you have any evidence that can nail his esteemed ass once and for all – please leave it in the comments section of the Friends Of MOBA sign up sheets.
THE DANCE OF FAMILY RELATIONSJake? (illegible), June 23, 200336″ x 48″, oil on canvasRescued from trash in Brooklyn, NY anddonated 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. 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.”

All images used with permission.

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