Add the Museum of Bad Art to Your Roadtrip Itinerary

If you’re visiting Boston, you probably want to cheer on the Red Sox, tour the U.S.S. Constitution, or visit the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. But one museum that probably isn’t on your list is the Museum of Bad Art. Did you even know there was such a thing?

It’s true! This museum celebrates bad art, art that is worth more than the trash many of these paintings are found in. Let’s take a look at where the Bad Art Museum is located and why you might want to plan a visit.

Where is the Museum of Bad Art located?

The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) is located at the Dorchester Brewing Company in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. It is easily accessible by Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority bus routes.

It is also just a half mile from the JFK/UMASS Transit Station. If you are driving to Boston, MOBA is located just off Interstate 93 in south Boston.

What is the Museum of Bad Art?

The Museum of Bad Art is dedicated to collecting, preserving, exhibiting and celebrating bad art in all its forms and glory. MOBA was founded in 1993 and had its first exhibition in 1994.

It started in the basement of a house, but now the public gallery is open daily at the Dorchester Brewing Company. It’s no joke. The museum is serious about collecting and exhibiting bad art.

MOBA opens at 11:30 am and closes at 9 pm, 10 pm or 11 pm depending on the day of the week. It’s important to note that guests under 21 can’t come in after 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

How did the Museum of Bad Art come to be founded?

A certain painting entitled “Lucy in the Field with Flowers” provided the impetus for the founding of the Museum of Bad Art. Louise Reilly Sacco, the current acting director, explained that her brother found this painting in a roadside trash can.

It was so bad that he couldn’t ignore it and hung it on the wall in his basement.

This painting in oil on canvas shows an elderly woman in a field of flowers. The wind seems to be blowing, and her facial expression leaves the viewer wondering what this woman (or is it a man?) is thinking. Although the painter is unknown, this art has planted a seed.

Jerry, who found the painting, began collecting bad art until he had filled his basement with about 20 examples.

One evening he invited about 50 friends to come and see his collection, and by the end of the evening there were already 200 visitors due to word-of-mouth. Thus the Museum of Bad Art was born.

The first exhibit, in the basement of the Dedham Community Theater, met with an overwhelming response. As a result, the founders wanted to explore other ways to showcase bad art.

There were several locations in Boston where the public could view selected works. Now the only location is at the Dorchester Brewing Company.

“The Wall Street Journal,” “Rolling Stone,” “The London Times,” “NPR,” and other media large and small have covered the museum over the years. Even the Smithsonian has paid attention to MOBA in recent years.

What can you see at the Museum of Bad Art?

At the Dorchester Brewing Company, expect to see about 40 spectacularly bad works of art.

But a Boston warehouse still holds more than 800 works – some crude, some strange. All the artworks invite visitors to like or dislike them according to their own opinions and feelings.

There is a collection of “Poor Traits,” like a woman sitting there sulking and a man with mushrooms sprouting from his mouth. Another collection is “Unlikely Landscapes, Cityscapes, and Still Life.”

Here you’ll find poorly painted volcanoes erupting in a desolate land, a strange monolith rising in the tundra, and a cityscape full of keys. Other collections include “In the Nood”, “MOBA Sports Section”, “MOBA Zoo” and “Oozing My Religion”.

Don’t forget: Why was the Warren Occult Museum closed? Let’s find out.

Why are people attracted to bad art?

In 2018, “Smithsonian Magazine” wrote an article on MOBA about why people are attracted to bad art. The author explained that some people think “we like good art and bad art because we generally enjoy the failures of others.”

But this is not necessarily true. Instead, “we argue that good-bad artworks offer a kind of whimsicality that leads to a special form of appreciation.”

We are drawn to bad art simply because it is so strange that it compels us to like it. Whether it’s movies, poems, short stories, or paintings, we find comfort and pleasure in bad art because we believe that even in our failures, beauty can emerge.

What to Know Before Visiting the Museum of Bad Art

There is always no charge to visit the Museum of Bad Art in Boston. However, you can support MOBA’s work with a paid membership or a donation to its PayPal account.

When you visit the museum, be sure to also support Dorchester Brewing Company by purchasing a craft beer, seltzer or wine. The on-site partner, M&M BBQ, also provides food for visitors.

As noted, you can visit MOBA daily from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday and Monday, until 10 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. On Fridays and Saturdays, entry is prohibited for those under 21 years of age after 6pm.

What are people saying about the Museum of Bad Art?

Thousands of people have visited the Museum of Bad Art over the years. Laura Hayes of Infoplease wrote that MOBA is “a museum where you can trust your judgment and laugh out loud.”

Sarah Mills wrote for Daily Art Magazine, “Occasionally some of this terrible art offers something thought-provoking: even bad art can reward our viewing with a memorable experience, even if it’s just to make us wonder how it might be possible to enjoy it.”

Sometimes art resonates with us and brings joy into our lives. If the Museum of Bad Art does this, isn’t it worth celebrating bad art?

Don’t forget: If you’re a fan of The Wizard of Oz, you absolutely must take a road trip to the house in the movie!

The Museum of Bad Art

Is it worth a visit to the Museum of Bad Art?

If you’re visiting the Boston area, head to Dorchester Brewing Company and check out the exhibits at the Museum of Bad Art. Don’t make a special trip to Boston just to take advantage of this opportunity, but if you’re already watching a Red Sox game or visiting Boston Harbor, check out the collection of bad art.

Will you feel moved, frightened, ashamed, or tickled when you see a painting of a dead fish, two dogs dancing a tango, or a blue man with a pouty face?

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