Clio Logo

The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) is a private museum that collects and exhibits "bad art" from around the world. This institution, the only of its kind in the world, grew from a private collection to a small gallery that can be viewed for free by visitors to the basement of the Somerville Theater. Although the gallery offers no concrete definition of what they believe qualifies a work as "bad art," the curators are quick to point out that they are only interested in sincere works of art that simply fell short in some way. As such, the organizers believe that their unique collection is an affirmation of "an artist's right to fail."


  • "The Mana Lisa," a different take on "The Mona Lisa"
  • "Lucy in the Sky With Flowers," the painting that started it all.
  • The museum was founded in fall of 1993 and the first show was presented in 1994.

The organizers maintain that there is "a special quality that sets [certain artists] apart in one way or another from the merely incompetent." The organizers use a great deal of tongue-and-cheek humor throughout their gallery, yet also pride themselves as connoisseurs of work as ranging from "talented artists that have gone awry" to works by those who are "barely in control of the brush."  

The Museum of Bad Art (or MOBA) is a museum located in Davis Square, Massachusetts. There are two other galleries for The Museum of Bad Art; however, the one in Davis Square is the most widely known. The museum is dedicated to bad art from around the world, and it is the only one of it's kind. The MOBA is located in the basement of the Somerville Theater, and is open whenever the theater has a show or an event going on. Admission to the museum is free with the purchase of an event ticket at the Somerville Theater. 

The museum features a wide variety of bad art from around the world, including an interesting take on the popular Beatles song, "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds", entitled, "Lucy in the Sky With Flowers". The artist of the painting is unknown, however, it was found in the trash somewhere in Boston. It is the first painting that The Museum of Bad Art acquired, and on their website, the description for the painting is as follows: "This single painting planted the seed that grew into MOBA." 

The museum's website includes a glimpse of many of their collections, their names being things such as "in the nood" or "portriature." One of the most interesting collections, however, is the "recent acquisitions" collection. The collection features recently acquired pieces, the most recent being "The Mana Lisa," a somewhat gender-bent version of the widely known and multi million dollar painting, "The Mona Lisa," which was painted by Leonardo da Vinci.

The museum is a very lighthearted and fun take on the art world's biggest and best blunders. It encompasses the spirit of the artist themselves. 
The organization also offers a book that includes selections from their permanent collection.

The museum accepts donations of art, just so long as the work is original and (to put it as nicely as possible) an eyesore. To donate, please visit  the links below
 for more information and instructions.

An interview with an employee of The Museum of Bad Art was conducted by phone on December 3, 2015. They were asked the following questions:

Q-So what made the curator or founder decide to open the museum in the first place?
A- The realization that everyone loves bad art, even if no one admits it. If you are at an art museum with someone, and they say "Oh look at that." before you turn around, you have no idea if that piece will be a good piece of art, or a bad piece of art. People like to share art with each other, and bad art is no exception.

Q- What painting(s) is most popular with the museum's patrons.
A- I'm sorry I can't tell you that. Simply because we change our exhibits so often, it's impossible to tell.

Q-What made the curators or museum officials decide to name collections things such as "in the nood" or "portriatures"?
A- We were looking for names that were puns, or things that were normally thought to be funny in the art world. We mainly name our collections this way in order to poke fun and laugh at our critics. But never the artists. We love the artists we have featured here, and you can plainly see that if you've looked at our collections.

Q-Does the museum host any special events? If so, what are they? If not, are there any plans to host any events in the future?
A- We do host special events here at the museum, and one of them is the Bad Art Rejection Collection auction, in which we auction off pieces that we do not want or feature in the museum.

Special thanks to the person who did this interview. 

"The Museum Of Bad Art (MOBA)." The Museum Of Bad Art (MOBA). N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2015. .