Monday, December 05, 2005

Don’t Hesitate – Ugate!

Looking for the perfect gift for someone you don’t really like? Are you fed up with the materialistic greed of the holiday season? Do you think Xmas is a load of dung?

Then think ugation (yoo-gae-shun). It’s a word I’ve coined for a particular type of subversive art. Just hand someone one of these items as a gift and tell them it’s an ugation, an uber-genre creation (sometimes called by its less pretentious label, art wrecko).

An ugation is easy to make. In fact, if you spend too much time and money on one, you’re working too hard. Just collect some items and with some glue and tape slap them together into abstract kitsch. The trick is to make it appear artsy. Think of something that could be an acceptable work, but push it too far, beyond the limits of good taste. Act like a six-year old tripping on LSD while recovering from a severe head injury.

Find an empty jelly jar, fill it with marbles, and then shove a plastic flower into place. Then affix some large safety pins to the artificial petals, throw some glitter all over the mess and – viola! – you’ve ugated!

Prowl through the trash can. Hey, there’s an old white lampshade. Well, grab some magic markers of various uncomplimentary colors and unleash chaos all over that shade. Then glue on some plastic bugs; you can get a bagful at your local dollar store. Now stand back – is that art or what?

Now if you’re someone who feels easily guilted by giving someone a dubious gift, there’s the option of keeping the ugation and prominently displaying it in your abode. The item can sit there like an intellectual Venus flytrap, waiting for an unsuspecting bugbrain.

The trickiest ugation is a simple two-item construct that supposedly says much more than the sum of its parts. For example, take a toy action figure, bobblehead, or a small plastic statue and add one thing that looks artsy. For example, I have a toy Frankenstein statue with a poseable head. By turning the head halfway around, Frank is looking up, his face at a steep angle. I found a bundle of narrow-width gift-wrap ribbon lying around and jammed it over him.

This work of alleged art looks like an ET octopus is attacking Frankenstein. If anyone asks, I’ll tell him that the piece is entitled “The Monster Bound.” I’ll throw in pseudo-intellectual art critic crap about minimalism, dadaism, the existentialistic angst movement, whatever. I’ll claim that the fancy ribbon entangling Frank represents the beauty of the world trying to destroy him. Hey, is that any less BS than what you see at some galleries?

In fact, ugation makes the perfect gift for someone who puts on the airs of a connoisseur. Of course, don’t tell the lucky recipient the word is really pronounced ug-a-tion – as in ugly creation. Just stick to the uber-genre story and stress the artsy u-ga-tion pronunciation. If you’re cool, the sucker – I mean recipient – won’t catch on.

Like I say, art should be made by the masses – for the asses.

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