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Museum of Bad Art says works stolen from Somerville, Dedham galleries

Museum officials say three works have been stolen in the last five months.

From just reading their website it's easy to tell that the people who run the Museum of Bad Art have a sense of humor.

But a recent rash of thefts from two of MOBA's locations doesn't have anyone there laughing.

"It's disturbing," said Louise Reilly Sacco, the permanent acting interim executive director of the museum. "We're really shaken up. It's hard to know how to react to it."

According to Sacco, three pieces from MOBA's collection have been stolen in the last five months.

She said while doing on-site interviews with a reporter from the United Kingdom Tuesday, she noticed a piece was missing from the Davis Square branch, which is located in the Somerville Theatre. During a stop at the Dedham location in the Dedham Community Theatre, Sacco noted a second missing piece.

The museum is run by volunteers and that the locations are not always staffed. While Sacco said it wouldn't be difficult to walk out with the artwork, she added that the piece was too large to conceal by someone walking out of the theatre.

The piece "Velvet Elvis" would have been a weird choice for a thief, Sacco said, because it was actually hanging in the museum as an example of "not bad art."

"We don't consider it bad art because it's not original, it's not bad art," she said.

Another piece was stolen from the Somerville location in May, she said.

While it's not the first time the museum has had a theft, the time frame has officials worried.

Sacco said before the recent thefts, there had only been two items taken from the museum's locations in more than 25 years in operation. The three recent thefts have occurred in the last five months.

She said officials are not filing reports with police or authorities because of the insignificant value of the artwork.

"These paintings don't have much of a monetary value and it's probably hard for the police to get excited about something with a value $10 or $20," she said.

Sacco was not sure who would take the works.

"Our museum is free and we set this up with volunteers and for someone to take advantage of that? It's really appalling," she said.

While the museum is known for its sense of humor, it is taking the thefts seriously.

Officials posted a message on the museum’s Facebook page Tuesday that read: "If you are the selfish lout who took it, or have information about the piece's whereabouts, please contact: curator@museumofbadart.org."

 
 
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