|There were two hidden clues to the solution of this
week's puzzle. The first appears in the
acknowledgement of Marilyn Hamill, who submitted
the idea for this week's puzzle, as a "bad art
connoisseur". The second is the name of the file of
this week's photo- "Lucy Lines".
Colleen Fitzpatrick, PhD
first painting -- is in fact a portrait of Ms. Lawlor's late grandmother, Anna Lally Keane.
Ms. Lawlor called the museum and arranged to come over, see the painting and tell us
all about it.
Anna Lally Keane lived with her daughter Eileen (Ms. Lawlor's aunt) for much of her
adult life. Anna Keane died in her 70's sometime around 1968. A year or two later, Ms
Lawlor's mother dug out two photos of Anna Lally Keane and sent them to an artist,
and commisioned a painting. The painting was to be a present to her sister Eileen.
Ms. Lawlor told us of the day that the painting arrived wrapped in paper. Everyone
gathered around to watch as the paper was torn off, the thirteen year old Susan bit her
|Read about the theft of
MOBA's signature piece
The Museum Of Bad Art was founded the night Scott
Wilson pulled this painting from a trash pile on a Boston
street. It is the cornerstone upon which the entire
institution was built.
EXCERPT FROM THE MOBA NEWS, ISSUE #23
Susan Lawlor was drinking a glass of coke last Friday,
perusing a copy of the Improper Bostonian, a weekly
Boston, newspaper. She turned the page and began
reading an article in the City Rave section called "The
Finest in Bad Art". She glanced below at a picture of
HER GRANDMOTHER and spit coke all over the table.
Lucy in the Field with Flowers, MOBA's Mona Lisa -- its
|If you have a picture you'd like us to feature a picture in a future quiz, please
email it to us at CFitzp@aol.com. If we use it, you will receive a free analysis of
your picture. You will also receive a free Forensic Genealogy CD or a 10%
discount towards the purchase of the Forensic Genealogy book.
1. Lucy in the Field with Flowers
2. It is The Museum of Bad Art
3. There are two galleries:
In the basement of the Dedham Community Theatre
Dedham Square, 580 High St., Dedham, MA 02026
in the basement of the Somerville Theater
Davis Square, Somerville, MA.
Also online "traveling exhbits".
|If you enjoy our quizzes, don't forget to order our books!
|Anna Lally Keene
MOBA's Mona Lisa
|The Museum of Particularly Bad Art Exhibition
(MOPBA) is an annual event held on Chapel Street,
Melbourne, Australia celebrating poor art forms,
primarily in the forms of paintings and sketches. MOPBA
relies on a core group of art pieces owned by Helen
Round but the public are invited to enter pieces that are
their own or that have been found that are considered
dealer Scott Wilson showed a painting he had recovered from the trash to some friends,
who suggested starting a collection. Within a year, receptions held in Wilson's friends'
home were so well-attended that the collection required its own viewing space. The
museum moved to the basement of a theater in Dedham. Explaining the reasoning
behind the museum's establishment, co-founder Jerry Reilly said in 1995: "While every
city in the world has at least one museum dedicated to the best of art, MOBA is the
only museum dedicated to collecting and exhibiting the worst." To be included in
MOBA's collection, works must be original and have serious intent, but they must also
have significant flaws without being boring; curators are not interested in displaying art
that is deliberately kitsch.
MOBA has been mentioned in dozens of off-the-beaten-path guides to Boston, featured
in international newspapers and magazines, and has inspired several other collections
throughout the world that set out to rival its own visual atrocities. Deborah Solomon of
The New York Times Magazine noted that the attention the Museum of Bad Art
receives is part of a wider trend of museums displaying "the best bad art". The museum
has been criticized for being anti-art, but the founders deny this, responding that its
collection is a tribute to the sincerity of the artists who persevered with their art despite
something going horribly wrong in the process. According to co-founder Marie
Jackson, "We are here to celebrate an artist's right to fail, gloriously."
Response to MOBA's opening and continued success is, for some, evocative of the
way art is treated in society. MOBA works have been described as "unintentionally
hilarious", similar to the atrocious films of Ed Wood.
lip to keep from gasping.
It was a wonderfully accurate
likeness of her grandmother's face in
an oddly postured and formed body
against a bizarre, surreal background.
Her mother, who commisioned the
painting, was quite pleased with the
result and gave it to her sister Eileen. The painting hung in Eileen's house for years. Ms.
Lawlor and her siblings have strong memories over the years, of the strange portrait
hung in Eileen's living room.
Sometime in the late 80s the house was sold. A cousin hired an estate clearance
company to make the property ready for sale. Sometime later, Ms Lawlor asked her
mother what ever became of the portrait -- no one seemed to know.
From what we could surmise, the painting was either thown out in the trash, or
possibly sold. Someone in Roslindale acquired the painting, hung on to it for 5 years or
so and then threw it out in the trash. Our ever vigilant curator, Mr Wilson, spotted the
painting, pulled it from the trash and MOBA was born.
Ms. Lawlor was obviously moved upon seeing the stunning portrait of her grandmother
again and is thrilled that MOBA rescued the painting from certain destruction. Ms.
Lawlor has signed up as a charter Friend Of MOBA and attended MOBA's Gallery In
The Woods on Aug 26, where her grandmother was proudly hung from the pine trees
of Cape Cod.
MOBA welcomes Ms. Lawlor to the Friends Of MOBA, and is eternally grateful for
filling us in on the fascinating background of the museum's most valued paintings. Ms.
Lawlor will be sending us more information about the painting as she collects it from
her siblings around the country.
The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) is a
privately owned museum whose stated
aim is "to celebrate the labor of artists
whose work would be displayed and
appreciated in no other forum". It has two
branches, one in Dedham, Massachusetts,
and the other in nearby Somerville. Its
permanent collection includes 500 pieces
of "art too bad to be ignored", 25 to 35 of
which are on public display at any one
MOBA was founded in 1994, after antique
!Bravissimo! Thank you! "Lucy" is clearly the key work in the collection. As with all
great art, extended viewing reveals endless layers of mysteries: What is Norman
Mailer's head doing on an innocent grandma's body, and are those crows or F-16's
skimming the hills?
Wishing you good fortune in future endeavors, I remain,
Distinguished Patron, MOBA
|Note from the Quizmaster General
|Answer to Quiz #234
November 22, 2009
Viewing the on-line Gallery definitely provided some of the best laughs I've had all
year. I don't care if "The Athlete" was intentionally created to be bad art or was only
accidentally that bad, but, in my humble opinion, it is definitely one of the worst (and
funniest) of the bad. I was laughing with tears in my eyes. Diane Burkett
When it comes to art “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Of course there are
standards and this painting suffers many negatives by knowledgeable critics. I wonder
if someone purchased it for $100,000 and placed it in a National Art Gallery it may be
viewed somewhat differently. Of course that is very unlikely!
It reminded me of a time (more than 30 years ago) when I attended a very modest
estate auction. One treasure was an oil painting labeled “Lavinia”.I paid about $2. On
the back was a bronzed plate indicating the work was by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Some
basic research led me to understand how famous Reynolds was, as a portrait painter
in England (1700’s). It was really exciting to think how much this would be worth.
I took it to the local library art gallery and showed the librarian. In an instant, she
verified it was a real oil painting but was a copy because the real work was in a gallery
in London, UK. Turning towards me she saw my disappointment and asked “You didn’t
really think this was a Sir Joshua Reynolds original, did you?” What could I say, as I
shuffled away, somewhat humiliated.
Anyway, that piece of art hung on our hallway wall for many years and for anyone
who was interested I told them what I knew about Sir Joshua Reynolds. A Google
search indicates the original, a portrait of Lady Lavinia Bingham, painted in 1785, is in
the Althorp Gallery owned by the Spencer family in England. Do you think the artist
might have created duplicates? Still naïve! Still hoping! Don Draper
N.B. You can always tell people it is an authentic copy of the original.
ABSOLUTELY HYSTERICAL!!! Robert W. Steinmann, Jr.
Fortunately I had run across the Museum of Bad Art sometime in the past so, when I
saw that the person who suggested this picture was styled the Bad Art Connoisseur, I
immediately searched the museum of bad art and voila there was "Lucy In The Field
With Flowers". I would be embarrassed to have a painting of mine hung here (if I
painted). I am thrilled to see that the museum store has both posters and postcards of
Lucy for sale, if anybody is so inclined. Milene Rawlinson
N.B. Some people would be honored to have their artwork hung at the MOBA. It's
no accomplishment to be second from the bottom, is there?
I hope you realize that I was JOKING when I said that (sigh) my dream was to go
there!!! ;-) Jinny Collins
I think we should all enter the contest to be a guest interpreter that's running until
01/31/10 - see http://www.museumofbadart.org/interpretations/contest.php. If you
really want to see some art, the art of the criminally insane is fascinating - I have a
number of books on this. Beth Long
Um, the art is bad? Ben Truwe
N. B. Well you have a point - even a turkey that looks really ugly to us can look just
gorgeous to another turkey.
Colleen, This was a fun quiz. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
This was a pretty easy one, but I didn't know a museum like this existed!
This quiz is a total crack up! I love the MOBA website! Thanks for giving me my
giggle for the day. Kate Johnson
Glad I learned about this museum, for a minute there, I thought even I could be an
artist - ha,ha!! Elaine C. Hebert
N.B. But you don't understand! The significance of the museum is that it makes us
The real question is, is she sitting or walking...or levitating? Susan Fortune
I am putting this place on my bucket list for sure. Boston is already there. For all us
not so beautiful people, this gives us hope that someone will remember us with a nice
painting ever if some of the rest of the beautiful people would consider it bad art. This
is a lovely grandma. Judy Pfaff
I've seen this picture before, as it has been sent around the internet quite a few times.
It always brings a smile to my face. BTW, the MOBA web site is as much fun to read
as it is to view. Every page has a twist of humor. Thanks for the quiz!!
Didn't have to burn a lot of brain cells on this one-but I did have to give up a Sunday
afternoon of football! The Ms. is an art teacher-so when I asked her about the painting,
she says "oh yea, I know that-great painting too. So I say, what's the answers..the Ms-
more of an operater than thee-says "will save you a lot of surfing and give you the
answer right now BUT you are going to take me pre Christmas shopping on a Sunday
afternoon...I would like to ask Marilyn if she could please run these painting quizzes
during baseball season...but the Ms and VISA thank you!!!...Have a great holiday from
Mr. Rick and all the QuizKids. Mr. & Mrs. Rick Mackinney
N.B. The person who created this treasure of the art world didn't burn a lot of brain
cells either, so don't feel bad.
Marvelous! Nan Ross
Travel writer Cash Peters identifies six
characteristics common to many of the museum's
artworks. The first is that MOBA artists are unable
to render hands or feet, and mask them by
extending figures' arms off the canvas, hiding them
with long sleeves, or placing shoes on feet in
inappropriate scenarios. Second, Peters compared
artists Rembrandt and J. M. W. Turner, masters of
landscapes, who "could probably paint with their
eyes shut" to MOBA artists who apparently did
paint with their eyes shut, as skies are often
painted in any color but blue, flora are created
without reference to any existing plant organisms,
and fauna appear so small in the background it is
impossible to discern what kind of animals they
are. Third, MOBA artists apply perspective
inconsistently, either from one painting to the next,
or within a single work. Peters's fourth observation
concerns the difficulty MOBA artists seem to have
in successfully rendering noses: he writes that a
nose will be attempted so many times that the
work takes on a third dimension as paint is
reapplied over and over. Fifth, bad artists favor
"mixed media": if in doubt, they glue feathers,
glitter, or hair to their work. Lastly, Peters
suggests that artists know their work is bad, but
apparently feel the piece may be saved by including
a monkey or a poodle in the composition.
Since late 2008, MOBA has been experimenting
with allowing the public to title and caption some
works. According to the curatorial staff, since
some of the works are so puzzling, mere artistic
interpretation is not sufficient: they must be
"interpretated". The "Guest Interpretator's
Collection" is an invitation for MOBA's visitors to
include their thoughts on compelling artworks; a
contest decides the best analysis and one is added
every two months. A professor at Boston
University offered his thoughts: "The location of
the museum as much as its collection suggests a
commitment to the abject and a belief in the power
and force of culture's marginalized effects. I was
also reminded that I need to pick up some toilet
bowl cleaner on my way home!
Although the museum's motto is "Art too bad to be
ignored", MOBA holds rigorous standards as to
what they will accept. According to Marie
|Comments from Our Readers
|Dedham, MA Location of the MOBA
42" x 18"
oil on canvas
purchased at a Boston thrift store
The Museum of Bad Art is excited to offer our patrons the
opportunity to become an "Official MOBA Guest Interpretator".
Submit an inspired title for this work, along with an
interpretation to enter. The winner will receive a free copy of
Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks as well as have the
unequivocal honor of interpretating an official specimen of the
MOBA gallery. The competition runs until January 31, 2010.
Send your title and interpretation, of no more than 150 words
(we're serious about that), to: nameless@MuseumOfBadArt.org.
|Here's your chance
for fame and glory.
Submissions are due
by January 31, 2010.
|Congratulations to Our Winners!
Wayne Douglas Milene Rawlinson
JoLynn Pfeiffer Deborah Campisano
Sandra McConathy Carl Blessing
Jinny Collins Margaret Paxton
Nicole Blank Beth Long
Edee Scott Jocelyn Thayer
Debbie Sterbinsky Carole Cropley
Kate Johnson Shirley Ferguson
Lindsay Mackenzie Anne Alves
Julie Alt Joshua Kreitzer
Elaine C. Hebert Daniel E. Jolley
Jim Kiser Tamura Jones
Susan Fortune Karen Kay Bunting
Judy Pfaff Gary Sterne
Debbie Johnson Jerry Vergeront
Mary South Stan Read
Mike Dalton Mr. & Mrs. Rick Mackinney
Don Draper Nan Ross
Mary Mauldin Diane Burkett
Robert W. Steinmann, Jr.
|This painting was the inspiration for the creation of an unusual art museum.
1. What is the name of the painting?
2. What is unusual about the museum?
3. Where is the museum located?
Jackson, "Nine out of ten pieces don't get in because they're not bad enough. What an
artist considers to be bad doesn't always meet our low standards." As stated in the
introduction to The Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, the primary attribute of an objet
d'art to be acquired by MOBA is that it must have been seriously attempted by someone
making an artistic statement. A lack of artistic skill is not essential for a work to be
included; a prospective painting or sculpture for the collection ideally should "[result] in
a compelling image", or as honorary curator Ollie Hallowell stated, the art must have an
"Oh my God" quality.
An important criterion for inclusion is that a painting or sculpture must not be boring.
Michael Frank says they are not interested in commercial works like Dogs Playing
Poker: "We collect things made in earnest, where people attempted to make art and
something went wrong, either in the execution or in the original premise." Montserrat
College of Art used MOBA's exhibition as a demonstration to its students that "sincerity
is still important, and pureness of intent is valid".
|Suggested by Bad Art Connoisseur and Long Time Quizmaster Marilyn Hamill
Sculpture with barber's chair, scissors, dental floss,
and a piece of the curator's cat, by M. Jackson and
By special commission for MOBA opening
Mining the swirling currents between violence and
personal hygiene, this piece captures the fear, the horror,
and the hope intrinsic in that most mundane of human