Bad Kitty Makes Great Art

1221844510If you dig art but hate pretense, or just want to revel in others’ ineptitude, head over to the Museum of Bad Art’s (MOBA) installation in the basement of the Somerville Theater. The museum’s impressive collection was culled from dumpsters, yard sales, private donations, and trash day heists.

Each carefully chosen piece demonstrates a depth of incompetence nearly impossible to fake—misguided attempts at perspective, cornball subject matter, and/or bizarre color palettes. But while the art is bewilderingly, um, challenged, the terse observations by the curator(s) make this collection an absolute late-night “to do.”

For example, a rather threatening portrait of a housecat entitled “Peter the Kitty,” acquired from the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Hyde Park, is described as: “Stirring in its portrayal of feline angst. Is Peter hungry or contemplating his place in a hungry world? The artist has evoked both hopelessness and glee with his irrational use of negative space.”

Or try “Post Apocalypse,” a questionable winter landscape. “The bright birch, reminiscent of a cheerful Gumby, salutes the twins on the foreground hill—but the hopeful evergreens are ever green.”

While you can see a fair sampling on the museum’s website, there’s nothing like being able to examine the works in detail, to study the fine nap of the velvet paintings, or try to comprehend how so many wall-eyed subjects found artists to do their portraits.

Then pick up a copy of The Museum of Bad Art Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, which includes over 400 works of varying artistic inability, coupled with the expert commentary MOBA lovers have grown to trust worldwide.