This Friday, Nov. 30, “Bad Art” will debut at the Nordic Heritage Museum, marking its first U.S. visit. The exhibit, titled, “Bad Art? 1,000 Birch Board Pictures from Sweden,” is the largest collection of its kind in the world, according to the museum.
The exhibit will feature more than a thousand mixed-media works from the Backlund and Håkansson Collection in Sweden and includes folk art from unknown origins in northern Europe.
From the museum:
Although these works were made in large numbers — as is apparent in this expansive exhibition — they were not mass produced. Instead, the artists created these pieces individually; typically by gluing postcards to a thin, diagonally sliced pieces of tree trunk — in Sweden, preferably from birches. The postcard images were then hand painted to the edges of the oval slices of wood and sometimes included three-dimensional objects. Early pieces were simply painted landscapes with no postcards.
The pictures selected for this particular exhibition celebrate folk art or vernacular art. The birch board pictures, which were once displayed in private homes, restaurants, gift shops, and cultural clubs have now made their way into museums. Such art tells about aesthetic impulse, creativity, and production, but also about the transition from living culture to heritage.
The exhibit opens Friday, Nov. 30 and will run through March. Learn more about the collection here.