Dear Museum Of Bad Art

Dear Museum Of Bad Art (MOBA),

After a long hesitation and immense inner struggle, I decided to share my confessions with you. Just like Augustine of Hippo once wrote about his sinfulness in the City of God, I felt the profound need to surrender in a parallel ‘City of Art’, where, my heart grievingly admits, I hardly belong.

Before I came across an institution like yours, I felt desperate and homeless. Even worse: I felt like a failure. I only knew the light of the great, marvelous art of the masters along the ages, to which art i felt drawn like a moth to a flame. Through you, I came to understand the value of darkness and shadow. And this truth set me free of the need to describe myself as an artist. Now I can genuinely lift an eyebrow to an irritating but well-known piece of junk, that costs a fortune, or even dismiss a whole art movement simply due to reasons of it being annoying. I mean there’s no conventions to being a bad artist, or are there?

As we all know, Art is a subjective matter, often treated objectively. It’s an obsession just like any other, with its corresponding side effects. According to James Feibleman a ‘side effect of an effort to produce good art’ is simply bad art. Uncyclopedia explains bad art as the “art that is created with the best of intentions, but gone horribly wrong.” It even states a list of criterias to bad art:

  1. The creation must have sincerity behind its creation;
  2. The creator must be driven by the desire to create, rather than the desire to inflict suffering; 3. The creation must completely engross its creator, who therefore has no time to think about perspective, technique, or color;
  3. The creation must depict a subject that will possess its creator, robbing them of all sense and sensibility during the process of creation; and
  4. Ultimately, despite the best of intentions, the creation must utterly and completely fail to have its desired effect when viewed by anyone other than the “artiste.”

Still, just like Augustin, I seem to have trouble understanding some basics, especially about the sincerity of bad art. Let’s imagine one day you learn how to do good art, can you go back to genuinely do bad art? Does training stand on the way between good and bad art, making the process irreversible? In other words, can you train (or, rather, untrain) to become a bad artist? I can imagine It would be hard to stay true to bad art, once you’ve received training. But can you receive training to do bad art? And to what extent a subject like this should be trained before the bad art is irreversibly spoiled. Does a spoiled bad art necessarily mean good art? What if i want to commit my life into doing bad art. Is bad art smth i could sustain for long before it becomes good art. Can’t I become good at bad art?

I really feel the need of indulging with bad art for the sake of it, and you seem to offer the right platform for such an endeavour . Your organisation is like a monastery offering a shelter and comfort to the soul of a passionate art lover stripped off from the pretentious whimsical aesthetic awes of the orthodox City of Art.

Yours sincerely,
Anonymous Bewildered Bad Artist (ABBA)


Editor’s note: this text was written by Aneta Atsova for the 2016 Authorship and Agency course, and was submitted anonymously for consideration to Museum Of Bad Art.

Image by Aneta Atsova