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3) meaningless or insincere talk or writing.
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Woollybear data set HERE
Do your own predicting with genuine Oxford, Ohio woollybear data. Hot out of the lab: El Niño Woollies!
Steve Horstmeyer's Home Page (SuperSmart Meterologist's weather home page with Cincinnati weather data at Channel 12 CBS) is HERE Steve Horstmeyer keeps an informative archive of Cincinnati weather info, which you will need if you want to look at the Woollybear Data in relation to the local weather. The connections among the data sets are up to you. If you think woollybears 'predict' weather, go for it...but you might look up their biology before you go public with such assertions.
Extra Premium Hogwash at the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) Enjoy! HERE
...and you can sign up for the freebie MOBA News, bringing the "worst of art to the widest of audiences."
Located at: 580 High St, Dedham MA 02026
Mailing address is:
73 Parker Rd, Needham MA 02494
Phone number: (781) 444 6757
Immodest Proposal: There should be a Museum of Bad Music as a companion to MOBA. That way, their exhibitions could add a missing dimension of sensory revenge. Mozart (that's Wolfie, not his dad Leo or his son Frank) has the first and last word on this, as an artist who was trapped in economics of the aesthetics of his era. He observed: "You pay me too much for the music I do write, and not enough for the music I could write."
Go figure! We are such slaves to the aesthetic label "classical" that we dress up and sit for hours listening to divertimenti intended as background music for pretentious parties. Mozart created some of his most terminally cute stuff for these occasions. His "musical joke" lacks essential simultaneous dual qualities of sincerity and incompetence: there is too much skill in his mimicry of trite melody and structural cliché. But his spirit informs the search for BAD art.
Have you seen any white-on-white paintings, seen any piles of dirt or bricks signed by famous names in the art industry? Museums buy this stuff! The place where I work bought a pile of dirt with some big sewer pipes in it: conceptual art, they said. I think the concept is that artists like to make money, too. The, um, institution also bought some red I-beam girders and had them assembled out by the highway so passersby could see that the place is open-minded about art. They sign my paychecks, so I will say no more... And have you heard any music lately that just fades out because the composer (of any era) ran out of ideas, or has one more big chord so the audience can tell the end of the whole composition from the ends to its subroutines? Beethoven knew how to whack the eardrums with one more chord. He had the modern symphony orchestra on steroids to work with. Again, even his bad stuff is infused with too much skill. So the crew at MOBA is to be commended for understanding the gut level pleasure of human(e) flaws.
Museum Of Bad Art has a mission of searching for, preserving and enjoying BAD ART. They are, however, discerning in their selections in any medium (but they seem to be concentrating on paintings and related stuff). As they put it, bad art goes beyond the "merely incompetent."
My (unhelpful) commentary may assist you in determining criteria for bad art, should you wish to embark on your own quest. Just what IS the realm beyond "mere incompetence?" Why would anyone want to know? Well, for one reason, there is so much of it out there that you only want to pay attention to meritorious incompetence.
Negative criteria from MOBA---they do not accept:
1) Works painted on velvet. I think that the velvet paintings category might include junk on towels, so the Museum is unlikely to consider The Last Supper or the Mona Lisa on a beach towel. However, a colleague of mine has a velvet painting of Christ in the classic finger-pointing Uncle Sam pose (Jesus Wants YOU!). Only MOBA arbiters can tell if this is an exception to their First Rule.
2) Paint-by-number. Look, some people can be very neat about staying inside the lines. You can get some really funky effects by reversing color selections in the kits. This category has been greatly enabled by computer software.
3) Any of the well known kitschy motifs (dogs playing cards, big eyed kids, etc) unless they break new ground in a startling way. Terminal cuteness is a huge category.
These criteria are excellent, as far as they go. They need (or maybe they don't) some fleshing out.
My positive criteria for bad art:
There is the ineffable attraction of two related phenomena --- sincere incompetence and reverse hubris. Just plain stupidity won't create bad art; it must be accompanied by pretention or some other valuable trait. Obfuscation comes close, in that things which commit the error they warn against have a pleasantly contradictory quality.
1a) Kitsch includes the kind of folk art collected not just by demi-connoisseurs (fully arrived wannabes who have figured out how to imitate), but by aspiring demi-connoisseurs (struggling wannabes). You have seen the types, they think they understand native artists, but need to buy a piece of art or artifice as well as a catalog explaining why the piece they bought is art. And they exhibit the stuff in their houses with the catalogs prominently displayed so guests on whom the artifice is inflicted can be (hopefully) intimidated. The real response is silent laughter at reverse hubris: arrogant bad taste with a touch of stupidity. Arrogant disregard of limits (genuine hubris) can be terrifying, but its reverse can bestow the healing qualities of a good belly laugh. Demi-connoisseurs along with the naive are the perfect people sought as an audience by P. T. Barnum: those who pay to be fooled. The MOBA News is a freebie, so you are not paying to be insulted...
1b) Subcategories of reverse hubris are vincible bad taste (intentional bad taste) and invincible bad taste. Invincible bad taste (the perpetrator or purchaser may be just too dense to know what is going on) has the charm of irreducible worthlessness raised to admirable status. There are some really smart artists out there who can pull off the appearance of invincible bad taste. You go find them and don't tell me. People get sued over such discoveries.
1c) Kitsch is omnipresent in certain wildlife paintings (usually with photographic detail) showing politically correct behaviors of predators like wolves or mountain lions. Micro minds think that showing that "wild animals have families too" is a way to expand support for ecological causes (fuzzy ecology). It justs "Disney-ifies" astounding creatures in the tradition of Unca Ray the Nature Faker. Speaking of the Disney concept of "masterpiece," where did Disney's cartoon Cinderella get her ball gown? Her fairy godmomma must shop at the same store as Little Orphan Annie. I will not suggest a Museum of Bad Fashion, there is just not enough room in the archives.
2) Overvalued emptiness and trash, otherwise known as "the clothes have no Emperor." Music created by mathematical equations and art created by faked accidental means (smears, spatters, splats and even ruder activities) or executed by animals fits here. Look, the amazing thing about a dancing (drawing) elephant is that it dances (draws) at all. On second thought, animal-created art doesn't qualify, because the quality of innocence nullifies incompetence. There are centuries of music and other art created by clever humans available to us. Why go for genius (or merely intelligent music) when we can have animal sounds plus New Age drone-tones (vacuum cleaner music) or paintings by creatures employed for human pretence?
3) Trendy techniques of creation which unwittingly wreck the artifact. Related to the previous category, this includes food used as an artist's medium (a notable painting series of seasonal persons made of stuff like broccoli, peaches and so forth comes to mind). Mosaics or garlands out of beans, seeds and nuts do not qualify (see MOBA criterion of "breaking new ground"). Unusual context, such as animated items which are normally sedentary ("flash dance" food, flying through waterfalls onto your plate), singing iguanas, little ladies who make cereal flake by flake in miniature waffle irons or who "quilt" paper towels (while they are shown crocheting in the first version of the commercial) are worthy of consideration.
4) Pseudo-Retro objects (some things, not all): things that pretend to come from the past, such as touch-tone phones which appear to have a dial or radios full of microelectronics which come from the era of vacuum tubes. And brand spanking new garden statuary which appear to have come from Pompeii or ancient Chinese/Tongan/Egyptian/Inca/Mayan/Aztec/YouGetTheIdea tombs ---
5) Art committed by the staff of WIRED magazine does not qualify: the 'zine's reputation would be ruined by "good" art. The perpetrators, however, may well be consulted as judges. They show mastery of grungeFonts, jaggies combined with a perfect antialiasing, and color mixes which are forbidden by zoning codes. Their cover is blown by their list of seriously respectable advertisers and by the fact that they never let the medium interfere with the message. (Unlike this section with too much text.)
I see now why the MOBA limits its focus and withdraw my Immodest Proposal---there are just too many candidates for BAD. If you want to understand the general BAD phenomenon, read the book by Paul Fussell:
BAD or, the Dumbing of America
Summit Books (of course)
Simon and Schuster
1991 (so much has happened in the last few years that Fussell needs to write an updated edition).
The Museum of Bad Art accepts donations, but say they reject 80-90% of all materials submitted (they promise not to return them). As they so generously inform us, "to become a Friend of MOBA, and receive the MOBA News, send email to email@example.com, or call or write to the museum's offices using the information above...
(Submissions of candidate turkeys accepted: must meet the criterion of having at least one feature of design which destroys the purpose of the item). The item may be as simple as a screwdriver with too many moving parts, a knife which can't be sharpened or as complex as AmTrak. Superfund environmental cleanup sites are represented in spirit by a landfill and a radioactive accident. The new Denver Airport has already been taken and is among the Top Ten Computer Bugs.
It has to be a real piece of marketed or publicly announced technology. Rankings are mine and are arbitrary. Honorable Mention and a Hall of InFamy will be created if appropriate. Email polite suggestions with explanations of no more than 250 words to firstname.lastname@example.org.
10---I once had a vacuum cleaner (big national brand, too!) which never needed its bag cleaned because the exhaust blew the dirt ahead of it. Gave it away. Should I have started my own museum?
9---One of my students submitted the example of a hazardous waste hauler who painted his tank truck black. Great way to heat up potentially explosive noxious liquids. If the truck blows up, you don't have to drive the stuff any farther. Great for converting one problem into many other problems.
8---This is the place to recognize airline "hubs," which propagate delays from one part of the system to another (domino loops) every time weather gets strange. Global warming may raise the ranking of this turkey. Overbooking may also qualify as a contributor to system behavior. Thus the saying, "If you have time to spare, go by air!"
7---The Cincinnati landfill site (known as Mount Rumpke or the Eighth of the Seven Hills) which suffered a collapse of one section of its artificial mountain in 1997 and has problematic relations with ground and surface waters nearby. Driving by on US Highway 27 during a rainstorm gives one a smell of sour vomit... Will cities figure out what to do with their wastes?
1---The Fernald Feed Materials Plant Fernald, Ohio near Cincinnati, a Cold War installation which was to process uranium (gas diffusion separation of isotopes) is my candidate for Turkey Number One.
Extra Extra Premium HawgWash (4 snouts out of three)! SPAM ku. What can I say but to quote author John Cho's Number 32: Kitchen windosill./Lit by passing headlights/Spam casts a long shadow. Or Descartes on pig parts/Says: I'm pink/Therefore I'm SPAM/Deep philosophy. The book is available as Spam-ku:Tranquil Reflection on Luncheon Loaf.
Extra Premium Hogwash at Web Pages That Suck can be accessed HERE. Enjoy! They have a page with awards and lots of cool tips (some of which I ignore at my own risk of being cited --- or is that"sited?")! Be very careful at this site, there may be useful information...