Art Gone Bad

A museum in Massachusetts celebrates the best of the worst and they need your help.

Keats’s well-worn line about beauty and truth is all well and good, but let’s be honest: the world can be a very ugly place. For those who seek truth in teeming piles of unloveliness, the Museum of Bad Art, in Dedham, Massachusetts, is a sort of Mecca of the execrable. Its holdings—an oil painting of a sour-looking grandmother purposefully striding through a field of chrysanthemums, say, or the predictable sinister clown portrait—were rescued from basements, fusty antique shops, and, more often than not, the trash.

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To celebrate the release of the new book The Museum of Bad Art—Masterworks (Ten Speed Press), which collects 70 of the worst pieces from its permanent collection, MOBA is giving you the opportunity to get in on the cringe-inducing action. For all of May, the museum and Ten Speed are holding a contest to find the most appropriate title for a particularly ill-conceived painting of two cloaked figures (one, presumably, is Death—the scythe gives it away) playing chess. Points will be given for “a suitable air of pomposity and excessive verbiate,” and the winner receives a copy of the book and the title Official MOBA Guest Interpretator—not to mention our own Seventh Seal of approval.

Name This Piece of Art runs through May 31. Click here for the contest, and send your titles to [email protected].


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