Unseen Forces

A L'INTERIEUR DE L'OEUF (INSIDE THE EGG)

illegible
32"X24", oil on canvas
MOBA #369

Donated by Susan Tompkins-Hunt, who understands the painting to have been originally sold by a Haitian street vendor (possibly the artist) to a resort owner in Sosua, Dominican Republic for the equivalent of $22.13 + a rum and coke. It was subsequently given as a gift to the owner of a tavern in Boston, MA, where it was displayed, coveted, and after extensive negotiations, purchased by Ms. Tompkins-Hunt. Aware that most of her friends and relatives were emotionally upset seeing A L'Interieur De L'oeuf on display in her home, she realized that MOBA is the proper repository for such a powerfully vexing work

ALL THINGS MUST PASS

M. Brown, 1995
approx. 8"x30", tempura on wood and sheet metal
Purchased by M. Frank at a Boston thrift store
MOBA #441

This intriguing piece of outsider folk art illustrates the history of Western Civilization. Advances in technology from traditional hand tools to machines during the Industrial Revolution led to dramatic changes in the socioeconomic and cultural life. Today, as inflated fuel prices (this is clearly a diesel powered semi-tractor trailer truck) affect the world's economy and pollution (represented by the smoky exhaust) is global, it is time to move into the Postindustrial, or Information Age. The raw speed implicit in the image of the truck reminds us that, even with a double yellow line heading into a curve on a hill, we will be passed.

AN I FOR AN EYE

A. LivLaing Bradford (2001)
30" x 20" acrylic on canvas
Purchased by M. Frank at a Boston thrift store
MOBA #456

The woman/tree unquestionably is crying out for help that will never come. Her morphing, arborescent figure, faceless and in shame, is reaching upward for sustenance while a torrent of tearful eyes cascades about her, threatening to bury her in her own psychosexual drift. Each eye, of course, represents not the optic organ but rather the homophonic letter "I", or "Id" that dark, inaccessible part of one's personality that subordinates reality to a childlike search for pleasure and gratification.

The tragedy depicted in this work is that the woman/tree knows that help (redemption?) is beyond her reach, and her legs/roots meander aimlessly atop a barren landscape, grounded in nothingness. She needs water but receives only salt from an unending well of sorrow.

Interpretation by MOBA Guest Interpretator Steve Herman

CIRCUS OF DESPAIR

Unknown
18" x 24", Oil on canvas
Acquired by Scott Wilson from trash in Boston

This joyous, frightful circus romp is emblematic of, and yet somehow transcends, Unknown's entire body of work. 

CREW CUT DREAMS

Leonardo (1977)
10" x 9", oil on art board
Purchased by M. Frank at a Boston thrift store
MOBA #300

A man with short hair is depicted among seals, snakes, and other creatures sharing his bright red facial features. At first glance, we expect him to be uncomfortable or threatened. But these creatures smile and cuddle. There are no nightmares here - just the happy dreams of friendly forces that make life more pleasant.

From - Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press

DISSENT FROM THE PEDASTAL

Robert MacLeod
30" x 36", oil on canvas
Left anonymously at MOBA
MOBA #411

Infuriated and distraught about the state of the world, the iconic Lady of the Harbor has come down from her traditional perch, bemoaning the fact that, despite global warming, her day in the sun seems to have passed.

From - Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press

DOG BITES MAN

Vlademar Cher, Sweden
8"x12", tempura on cardboard
Donated by the artist
MOBA #360

The artist employs a no-holds-barred approach to graphically depict the archetypal news non-event. Painting on the inside cover of a Konstn�ren Magazine ("Artists"), the artist allows the underlying red graphic to bleed through his paint, helping express the psychic pain driving the animal to resort to such violent behavior.

From - Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press.

DRILLING FOR EGGS

William F. Murphy
30" x 30", oil on canvas
Donated by Karen McHugh (purchased at a thrift sto
MOBA #428

Green alligator flames dominate the foreground and a bright pink sky provides the backdrop for this disquieting depiction of a color-altered future in which eggs, a renewable resource, have replaced traditional hydrocarbon fuels. The artist is saying, in no uncertain terms, that unless we learn to conserve our priceless resources, the yolk will be on us.

From - Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press

GERM OF AN IDEA

Anonymous
22"x36" Oil on Canvas
Purchased at by M. Frank at a Boston thrift store
MOBA #445

Note similarity to AIM 2 in the POOR TRAITS collection (MOBA#372

INVASION OF THE OFFICE ZOMBIES

Jenna Cathyla
24"x30" oil on canvas
Purchased by M. Frank at a Boston thrift store
MOBA #253

This haunting scene draws us in subtle hints of capitalist morals. Note the Cleveland bill gracing thecrooked floor. Does it foreshadow a new denomination that drives us all to the broken jail-cell window to throw our disembodied heads to the street?

From - Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press

JOHNNY MCGRORY

Unknown
11"x14" circumference, Ceramic sculpture
Donated by the artist

With the innocence of an extra terrestrial, his arms in a straight jacket, his flat cap a mortar board as testament to his wisdom. The little red man cannot be quieted while something has been left unsaid.

LOVE IS BEING OUT ON A LIMB TOGETHER

Unknown
21" x 24.5", Oil on board

Japanese in its simplicity. American in its text. This valentine in blue hangs in MOBA as a tribute to the poster poems of the seventies.

LULLI, FOWL, AND GRAVESTONE


Michael Frank (August 1971, Copenhagen, Denmark)
8.5"x11", Watercolor on paper
Donated by the artist
MOBA #347

This work was presented to Lulli in Copenhagen and subsequently returned to the artist in New York soon after. The significance of Lulli and objects portrayed was important to the artist at the time but was, unfortunately, erased from his memory long ago.

From - Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press

MORE

Sandy Winslow
16" x 20", Acrylic on canvas
Acquired by Scott Wilson from trash

All the better to see you with, my dear.

Additional Information
A selection of four of Mr. Winslows were exhibited as part of MOBA's "I Just Can't Stop Exhibition" at the Permanent Gallery in Dedham, MA.

A friend of Mr. Winslow spotted the painting and informed the artist that he was featured at the MOBA gallery. Mr. Winslow called the MOBA office last month to tell us that he had far worse at his studio. Mr. Wilson, our Esteemed Curator, visited Winslow's studio and concurred with his judgement.

This exhibition, "All The Better To See you With" featured a selection of Mr. Winslow's three-eyed flourescent portraits.

ON VACATION IN ITALY

Robert Muldrow (Brooklyn, 2007)
2'x3', oil on plywood
Donated by the artist (2008)
MOBA #457

Mr. Muldrow writes, "Upon coming home from a fantastic vacation in Italy, I found my houseplants in a state of decline and extreme thirst. They were in sort of plant hell. This painting represents what I inferred were their feelings of suffering, neglect, and loneliness as well as my feelings of guilt and regret".

Japanese bonsai grand master Saburo Kato has stated that the most important sound is the footsteps of a bonsai trainer coming to care for his tree. This bond is very similar as the commitment between mother and child to nurture and guide the tree. The most important aspect of bonsai is the bond that exists or is created between a bonsai and its owner-trainer. We can only create true friendships if there is a gentle courtesy, respect, and justice. We can only seek peace if we are at peace with ourselves!

Everyone at MOBA feels terrible for Mr. Muldrow, who clearly was devastated in the realization that he had broken a sacred bond with his plants. He has reportedly been coming to terms with his loss, and has reportedly begun leaving his house for short visits to the grocer and the dry cleaners. There are, however, no vacation plans in his immerdiate future.

The MOBA curatorial staff was drawn to this image for its emotional power as well as the straight-from-the-tube background colors almost identical to Prosthetic Claw (MOBA #426).

PROSTHETIC CLAW

William F. Murphy
12" x 20", oil on canvas
Donated by Karen McHugh (purchased at a thrift sto
MOBA #426

Inspired by the film Jurassic Park, many have speculated about the possibility of using traces of fossilized dinosaur DNA to produce a living Tyrannosaurus rex. Advances in cell-engineering techniques have led others to speculate about the possibility of using stem cells to grow human tissue. One scientist, Dr. Jose Cibelli, went so far as to secretly clone his own DNA inside a cow egg.

Prosthetic Claw portrays the unexpected results in this ethical boundary-stretching field of interspecies cloning. The central figure's immaculate white shoe contrasts with the grotesquely poor grooming of the hand, which is depicted in a universally understood gesture. The artist seems to be saying that these experiments will result in a giant "goose egg". The heavy-handed image is marred by a clumsily executed background of straight-from-the-tube oil paint colors that have become all too familiar to the MOBA curatorial staff.

From - Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco , Ten Speed Press

REEF GARDEN

Hassmer
36" x 36", Mixed media on masonite
Acquired by Scott Wilson from the Salvation Army Store

Here we are, witnessing the staging of a subaqueous musical extravaganza. On a silent cue, one pulsating incubator bursts, hurtling an anxious and curiously aged little merman upwards to the unknown world above the surface. The dancer stares, hypnotizing the viewer. We find ourselves forced to stay -- feel the music or drown.

RETCH LIKE AN EGYPTIAN

Anonymous
12" x 16", pastel on paper
Discovered in a folder of pastels donated to MOBA
MOBA #321

This is a disturbing image of an Egyptian doubled over in pain, throwing up colorfully. The X-ray box clearly shows the source of his discomfort, and the black smoke from the pyramid indicates that a new pharaoh has not yet been chosen. More study is needed to determine the meaning of the squiggly lines above and behind him.

From - Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press

SPEWING RUBIK'S CUBES

K. Koch
oil on canvas 24"x18"
Purchased at a Boston thrift store 5/2/07
MOBA #380

This image of the classic 1980s toys emanating from a jester gargoyle's mouth can only be described as puzzling.

From - Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press

SUICIDE

Unknown
18" x 24", Acrylic on canvas
Acquired by Scott Wilson from trash

Bloody cloud bursts in an otherwise clear sky, frothing nostrils as the bovine beast dives, lemming like, and misses the phosphorescent, oily, swimming hole. 

SWAMETTE'S SECRET

Unknown
30" x 20", Acrylic on canvas
Acquired by Patricia Deardorff and Leigh Weesner from a thrift store

Calm clear shapes, multiple repeating patterns, a thickly textured aura and little red shoes come together to conceal or reveal the eternal complexity of simple truths in this exploration of the human psyche.


Additional Information
Dear Sirs,

The Museum Of Bad Art is thrilled to announce the newest addition to the permanent collection, "Swamette's Secret". We are stunned that Patricia and Leigh would have the generosity of spirit and public mindedness to even consider parting with this piece and entrusting it to our care. The museum and the museum-going public will be forever indebted to the virtual sisters for their landmark contribution to the MOBA collection. From all of us -- thank you.

More about this piece in the MOBA News � (under 'Recent Acquisitions')

Swamette's Secret has been featured in the phenominal "I Just Can't Stop" exhibit.

TABLES HAVE TURNED

Unknown
24" x 18", Acrylic on canvas
Acquired by Scott Wilson from trash

The most disturbing piece in this series by Unknown. The anger screams from the canvas, the dysfunctional family fumes after fury's exit left. 

THE HAIRCUT

M. Jackson and J. Reilly
74" x 28" x 40", Sculpture with barber's chair
By special commission for MOBA opening

Mining the swirling currents between violence and personal hygiene, this piece captures the fear, the horror, and the hope intrinsic in that most mundane of human activities. 

THE SCIENTIST

Anonymous
28" x 36", mixed media
Left anonymously at MOBA
MOBA #382

Latex gloves and bodily fluids add color to this piece that depicts a laboratory experiment gone horribly awry.

From - Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press

VORTEX

Unknown
Acrylic on canvas
Acquired by Scott Wilson from trash

A black road, tangential to a reservoir, a leering disembodied head, its almost solid shadow spewing blood. Don't drink the water. 

WOMAN RIDING CRUSTACEAN

Anonymous
12"x16", Oil on canvas
Donated by Linda L. Carrubba
MOBA #448

Possibly inspired by Debra Winger riding a mechanical bull in Urban Cowboy (1980), this image of what appears to be a blow-up doll mounted atop a giant lobster looks unfinished. It may be a study for a larger, hopefully more erotically realized, work.