Ugly Gingerbread Houses – Yuko Kato

I make a gingerbread house every year, so I do a lot of search online for ideas.  As you know, there are contests everywhere, and gingerbread house building is a well-known hobby.  But since it takes so much time and effort to build one, I assume people feel a need to display their work, and they tend to be disillusioned by pride about the outcome of the house. 
Most people who post ugly houses are naturally moms who think their kids’ work is cute.  Their houses are of poor quality, but not so interesting because it’s okay for kids to be clumsy.  So when I say “ugly,” I mean gingerbread houses that evoke pity–the more disillusioned, the better.  It is the gap between the  creator’s pride and the viewers’ opinion that makes these pictures interesting.
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One response to “Ugly Gingerbread Houses – Yuko Kato

  1. Fun collection of images.

    Explaining how you define “Ugly” is helpful. I’m still not sure the term is necessary to use, as it tends to ‘shut down’ how we might view each of these.

    There is a tendency, in some online museums, to categorize self-taught, amateur, or privately created paintings, record album covers, and other cultural ideas as “Bad” or “Strange” while also celebrating them for their uniqueness, or their lack of concern for norms of taste or traditional design values.

    An example of this is the Museum of Bad Art:
    http://www.museumofbadart.org/

    Certainly many of the things on that site, though they may not evince a mastery of craft or design, evoke a more intense reaction than say… a mediocre work created on ‘auto-pilot’ by a far more experienced artist who is churning out works with very little spirit or energy. A lot of the paintings in the Museum of Bad Art actually look pretty damn inspired!

    I imagine I’d find myself much more interested in these Ginger Bread houses than in seeing the work of a master, making a department store window display. In what others might see as faults, it’s also just possible to see people doing their best and these images mostly convey the common human experience of someone trying to make something they’ve never made before with unexpected, and yes, possibly awful results.

    I particularly like the attempt to recreate an Austrian building, as it points to a whole possible other world of Ginger Bread and food architecture beyond the usual houses. That guy might be on to something!

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