Pop Culture



This summer we're taking a look at some unusual museums across the country. It's time for another stop along our "Holiday Road."


LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM: (Singing) Holiday road. Holiday road.

INSKEEP: Today, we hit the outskirts of Boston, Massachusetts, where you can find a shrine to atrocious acrylics and inferior oils - not that there's anything wrong with that.

MICHAEL FRANK: I'm Michael Frank and I'm the curator-in-chief of the Museum of Bad Art.

INSKEEP: That's right. It's the Museum of Bad Art - or MOBA, as it's affectionately known by bad art aficionados. It bills itself as the world's only museum dedicated to the exhibition and celebration of bad art.

Michael Frank says that last bit is important - celebration. The museum is all in good fun.

FRANK: What we look for are pieces of work that were produced in an attempt to make some sort of artistic statement - but clearly something has gone wrong.

INSKEEP: Let's try to picture what we're talking about here. We asked Louise Reilly Sacco, who helped found MOBA, to describe a piece called "Dog."

LOUISE REILLY SACCO: It's a puppy who's staring straight ahead with bright yellow eyes, but then at the top, it seems to turn into a mountain covered with snow that melds into the puppy's head.

INSKEEP: Yeah. But least the puppy is not playing poker. The artists themselves have donated many of the pieces at MOBA, and the museum staff combed through thrift stores and garage sales to find even more.

Once they're part of the collection, each piece of bad art gets one of those little museum blurbs written by curator Michael Frank.

FRANK: We offer basic information about the piece itself and a little bit about the provenance. And we offer a brief interpretation.

INSKEEP: Like his interpretation of "Ronan the Pug," a rough acrylic painting of a dog, eyes glazed, mouth agape, looking more than a little tipsy.

FRANK: Ronan the pug could hardly see straight after lapping up all the spilled eggnog at a holiday party, but brought tears to everyone's eyes with his clear tenor rendition of "Danny Boy."


INSKEEP: "Danny Boy?" Oh my. You can see both dog and Ronan the Pug and learn more about The Museum of Bad Art at npr.org. And if you have a suggestion for other strangely specific museums, make sure you leave a note on our comments page.


BUCKINGHAM: (Singing) Holiday road. Holiday road.

INSKEEP: This is NPR News.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from