The Art Instinct by Denis Dutton
Moviegoers looking for the bathroom in the basement of a rehabilitated theater in Dedham, Massachusetts may stumble across a unique, if perhaps not revered, cultural institution called the Museum of Bad Art (MoBA). MoBA’s mission is to exhibit works that are “too bad to be ignored,” and true to its motto, the collection includes paintings and sculpture that span a range from the amusingly incompetent to the truly grotesque.
Like all successful parody, MoBA serves to highlight several interesting facts about the butt of its joke. One is that societies with sufficient resources tend to devote a significant fraction of them to the creation, collection, and curation of art. It goes without saying that such attention tends to be reserved for “good” art—even if the criteria for good art are neither obvious nor settled.
About the Author
Kevin Shapiro is a research fellow in neuroscience and a student at Harvard Medical School.