museum of folly | stuff and nonsense

7 museum of folly

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The Museum of Bad Art. 2009

Bookstore, Contemporary, USA

Book; ink and colors on paper
Via the Museum of Bad Art

Our sister institution, the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) has announced the publication of a catalogue of highlights from its collection. It is a remarkable work, and we have obtained an advance copy for display here in our galleries (the publication is also available for purchase in the MoFo Bookstore).

The mission of MOBA, located in Dedham and Somerville, Massachusetts, is “to celebrate the labor of artists whose work would be displayed and appreciated in no other forum.” The centerpiece of their collection, and the first work they acquired, is Lucy in the Field with Flowers (oil on canvas, artist unknown, date unknown), shown below.

While some visitors consider our museum to be similar to MOBA, we subscribe to a completely different philosophy.

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Museum signage, 21st century


Vatican Museums, Vatican City
Colors on mixed media

A delegation from the Museum of Folly recently returned from a fact-finding mission to Italy, where we were startled to discover these signs in the Vatican Museums. The signs bear an unexpected resemblance to our museum’s own stairway sign (visible in the right sidebar).

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Exploring the galleries

Visitor experience

This photo of visitors contemplating a passageway into another suite of galleries comes from David Clow – Maryland’s photostream.

Now serving

Folly Cafe

Now serving in the Folly Cafe, from the New Belgium Brewery. This comes with Dr. Thom’s personal recommendation!

Fun with history

Education department

The museum’s educators are pleased to introduce a new family program called “Fun with History!” As a first assignment, students should listen to this report by Steven Short on PBS Radio station KALW’s CrossCurrents program.

Short’s topic is Chief Marin, for whom Marin County is named. The students should pay particular attention to this assertion:

“Marin was successful with his own people, with the conquistadors, and then with the Americans.”

The assignment: research when the conquistadors and when the “Americans” were in California, then answer these questions:

  1. According to Short’s report, how old was Chief Marin when he died in 1839? Round your answer to the nearest multiple of 100 years.
  2. And how many English-speaking Americans (as distinct from the Spanish-speaking Californios) would he have had the opportunity to “be successful with” at that time? Round your answer to the nearest vehicle size that they could all fit in (subcompact, compact, midsize, fullsize, or minivan).

Have fun with history!


Shown: Crossing I (1994) by Enrique Chagoya. Acrylic and oil on paper.


Album covers, late 20th century

Special exhibitions

bad album covers

Various places of origin
Album jackets; colors on cardstock
Via the Museum of Bad Album Covers

The Museum of Folly is pleased to present a special exhibition on loan from our sister institution The Museum of Bad Album Covers. We are excited to present this small but exceptional selection from MBAC’s extensive collection.

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Visitor Services department

Where are you located?
We are in the Civic Center district, between the State Hysterical Society and the city’s new tech history museum, The Museum of Modem Art. There is no mistaking our facade. The main entrance is on Bouvard Avenue near Pecuchet Street.

What are your hours?
The Museum of Folly never closes. A unique feature of our museum is the availability of beds in several galleries as an amenity for overnight visitors.

Is there a coatroom?

Just throw your coats on one of the beds.

Is there a free entry day?
Entry is always free, although there is sometimes a modest charge to exit.

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Flash Cake, 2009

Contemporary, Operations department, USA

flash drive cake

Mixed organic materials, including sugar, butter, flour, and colors
Via cake wrecks

According to the original owner of this unique object, an image of a man playing golf was submitted on a flash drive to a cake shop. That image was, however, not used, as the following dialogue ensued:

“Hey, Jill, what am I putting on this cake?”
“Oh, check the counter; I left the jump drive out for you there.”
[calling from the back room] “Really? This is what they want on the cake?”
“Yeah, the customer just brought it in.”
“Okey dokey!”

MoFo is pleased to have acquired this unusual flash cake for our permanent collection. It will be on display briefly as our conservators feel an urgent need to stabilize the object against data loss.


Hanging Bush

Contemporary, USA

gw bush says, it's tough, it's hard, it's hard work

It’s Hard, by Thomas Christensen, 2009
Digital image, black and white pixels
Lent by the artist

As the USA prepares to inaugurate a new president, we at the Museum of Folly are preparing to add contributions from the outgoing executive to our Hall of Quotations. This has been a difficult assignment for our curators because there is so much material to work with. Our new building is ample, but its space is not unlimited.

This president has been so creative with language that at times he seems to challenge the very concept of communication. And this is clearly by intent. As he noted in a speech in Beaverton, Oregon, on Aug. 13, 2004, “I hope you leave here and walk out and say, ‘What did he say?'”

Language has been a constant concern of the president. As he noted on Nov. 1, 2006, “Anybody who is in a position to serve this country ought to understand the consequences of words.” Which, no doubt, is why he was heard to inform British Prime Minister Tony Blair that “The problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur.”

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How to write a lede

Publications department

The museum’s Publications department is always after the curators to liven up their writing for our membership magazine. Avoid dull, plodding openings, they urge — instead, find a lively hook. In journalism this is called the “lede” — it’s spelled that way to avoide confusion with “lead” as in “leading” and “lead type.”

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