The Fussy Eye: Walls of Infamy

Dogs playing poker.

Most museums only let you drink during gala previews for patrons or at random parties. At the Official Bad Art Museum of Art, however, you can booze it up—or have a coffee and eats—daily, since the actual venue is Cafe Racer, where bands are also known to play. The bad art, most of it yard-sale stuff, is installed on the cafe side, away from the bar (where signed non-bad art is hung, so don't confuse the two!). Why bad art? Why the O.B.A.M.A. acronym? Don't we usually go to museums and galleries to escape saucer-eyed puppies, sad clowns, and crucifixion scenes painted on black velvet? Kitsch has its place, but do we really want to be enveloped in it every time we go out for a beer? Perusing the unicorns, poker-playing dogs, misshapen nudes, rec-room child portraits, and Old Master knockoffs is tiresome, an immersion in derision without the thrill of discovery. (There's also a side gallery of "good art inspired by the bad art" by named local artists; worryingly, the distinction isn't always clear.) You're surrounded with everything art snobs ordinarily abhor. But maybe that's the point of the show, curated by Marlow Harris: We can all be united in abhorrence. And there's no fear—as on a First Thursday art walk—of being caught out of the hipster clique by holding the wrong opinion. It's so much safer to hate. Anyone care to donate a Chihuly? 

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