Somerville is home to hundreds of talented artists who show off their works throughout the year at the city’s galleries and each May during Somerville Open Studios. But there’s another side to Somerville’s creative scene that flies a bit under the radar: the Museum of Bad Art.
Located in the basement of the Somerville Theatre in Davis Square, the Museum of Bad Art is free to visit with the purchase of a movie or concert ticket. And with more than 400 pieces in its permanent collection, you just never know what you might see.
The pieces in the Museum of Bad Art have been gathered from thrift stores and yard sales, donations by artists and the trash. While the work varies greatly in its subject matter and medium, the key linking it all together is that it had to be “created by someone seriously attempting to make an artistic statement, but something has gone horribly awry in either its concept or execution,” according to the museum.
A recent visit to the museum featured the current show, Oozing My Religion, which consisted of religious-themed art “in recognition and celebration of the fact that questionable clarity of mind and limited technical skill are not barriers to spiritual self-expression,” according to a sign in the gallery.
The art itself is funny enough, but the true gems in the museum are the descriptions tacked on the wall next to each piece. Reading each one had us literally laughing out loud along with several other museum visitors.
The Museum of Bad Art has been in Somerville since 2008 and it’s part of a larger project that started in 1994 that also houses art at Brookline Access Television (the Dedham Community Theatre location is currently closed). If you can’t make it to one of the brick-and-mortar locations, be sure to check out the art online–though nothing beats seeing it in person.