I thought a good place to start a series of posts on outsider art would be the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA).
The Museum was established in 1993 by Scott Wilson. It started when Wilson found a painting in the trash. His friends Jerry Reilly and Marie Jackson wanted the painting, and decided to exhibit it, along with another painting, in their basement. The basement museum grew, and eventually moved to the basement of theater in Deedham Massachusetts. A second museum was later in another theater basement in Somerville, another Boston suburb.
The museum's purpose is not to collect art that's kitschy (such as velvet Elvis paintings), but paintings and sculptures that are a serious attempt at good art, but have failed in a way that's truly distinctive and noteworthy albeit due to sheer awfulness. It's reminiscent of the best of the "song-poem" records discussed in an earlier post. The paintings come from the trash, thrift stores, and donations.
Here is "Lucy in the Field With Flowers", the painting that started MOBA. The painting was identified by Susan Lawlor, who read a newspaper article about MOBA, as being her grandmother, Anna Lally Keane.
"Peter the Cat"
"Juggling Dog in a Hula Skirt"
"Inauguration Day, 1961"
All pictures are from the MOBA website.
A tour of MOBA:
An ABC Australia story on MOBA: (embedding disabled)
The Wikipedia post on MOBA is excellent.