The Gallery of Unfortunate Art: Summer sale!

‘Venus in Pink’ by Not Waving But Ironing. Pink Play-Doh, 2010. £600

With its pendulous breasts, swollen tummy and fleshy thighs, ‘Venus in Pink’ calls to mind the stone goddess figurines of the Paleolithic era; like those ancient fertility symbols, it has a resonance and universality that would seem to defy time. Was it inspired by the Willendorf Venus – the 20,000-year-old goddess icon carved from oolitic limestone tinted with red ochre, discovered in Austria in 1908? ‘Um, no,’ says Not Waving But Ironing. ‘It’s me after too many caramel Magnums.’

‘Toilet Man’ by Charlie Not Waving (age 7). Felt-tip pen on paper, 2010. £250

Not Waving But Ironing’s son and artistic heir apparent, Charlie Not Waving finally comes of age with a hurriedly executed stick drawing that playfully subverts our middle-class expectations. The typography ­ ‘What a sight!’ ­ would seem to exhort the childish imagination to new heights, but the onlooker’s hopes for a butterfly, a dolphin, or at least an army tank, are cruelly dashed by Charlie’s hastily scribbled stick man doing a gigantic poo on a toilet. We’re left with unanswered questions: why is the toilet outside, not inside? Who is the lone man and what does his mournful expression mean? Was it really worth the artist’s mother spending £9.99 on one of those poncey ‘Let’s Doodle!’ books at Waterstones? Clearly, no.

‘Please, Mummy, Will You Play “Disney Princess Spinning Wishes” With Me?’ by Not Waving But Ironing. Scribble on birthday card, 2010. £200

‘Please, Mummy, Will You Play “Disney Princess Spinning Wishes” With Me?’ is possibly Not Waving But Ironing’s most evocative work to date. ‘I wanted to visually capture the dichotomy at the heart of motherhood,’ explains the artist. ‘Namely, that the desire to nurture your child emotionally by playing an overly complicated board game with her, can co-exist with an equally powerful urge to stab yourself repeatedly in the eye with a cocktail stick.’

The artist is currently working on the illustrations for a children’s book entitled, ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, and If You Haven’t Remembered Where You Left It by the Time I Count to 10, I’m Throwing Your Ice Cream in the Bin.’

‘Two weeks At My Mother-in-law’s’ by Not Waving But Ironing. Self-portrait collage, 2010. £450

The artist declined to comment on this particular work.



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39 responses to “The Gallery of Unfortunate Art: Summer sale!

  1. I was in Toys R Crap today, and – on clearance – was a Disney Fairies board game. I started reading the instructions, and when I got to the bit about collecting raindrops, I knew this was the game from purgatory. Even the fact that it was a bargain couldn’t tempt me to consider buying it. And I wonder why so many of them were on the clearance stand.

  2. The urge to stab myself repeatedly in the eye is now a pretty much Pavlovian response to Disney princesses. I hate Aurora particularly for some reason.

    • notwavingbutironing

      It’s okay, Gappy – you don’t really need a reason. She is possibly the most sappy of the bunch, though, given that she spends half the movie in a coma.

  3. You are an artistic genius. x

  4. Put me down for the pink venus one – I love gazing at anything fatter and less attractive than me…

    • notwavingbutironing

      I’m afraid this particular model, in a devastating loss to the art world, got squished by a hardback book. However, I can make you a bespoke one with the Play Doh I have left. Green or orange, or everything-mixed-together sludge brown?

  5. I could knit venus some clothes if she’d like. Head-to-toe vertical stripes are meant to work wonders for the figure.

    • notwavingbutironing

      V kind of you, Big Mamma, although she does love to be naked. She feels more goddessy that way; she worries that slacks and a tank top might deplete her sacred powers.

  6. I’ll take ‘Two Weeks with at my Mother-in-Laws’ as I managed to despatch mine early in my marriage (when I say ‘despatch’ I don’t mean I killed her, more along the ‘hatches, matches and despatches’ line). Being mother-in-lawless I feel I should share your pain!

    • notwavingbutironing

      Thanks, Previously, I could do with offloading some of it. I’ll pop over to your site later and leave a 500-word comment on how to lay the table properly.

  7. I’m laughing at your tag…”art wank”

    Think I’ll wait until the second markdown if that’s okay?

  8. annablagona

    I’m loving your work. I once worked with the Tate Modern. One day, I was asked what I thought of a piece of art that was basically some tea cosies. I said I thought it represented the increasingly secular nature of our society. The man who asked nodded sagely. Now, of course, I know what I should have said was, ‘it’s Art Wank’. You live, you learn.

    • notwavingbutironing

      My husband says I ‘just don’t understand art’. To him, a tea cosy is ALWAYS a representation of the increasingly secular nature of our society. Which is annoying when you’re waiting for him to bring you a cup of tea. What a twonk.

      • annablagona

        Not bringing you a cup of tea IS ALSO a sign of the increasingly secular nature of our society. In a time when everyone believed in God, making others’ tea was an act of charity, of kindness, of love. Everyone did it because they believed and were Good People. Now, of course, it’s all gone to the dogs, and if you want tea, you have to pay for it.

        And THIS is the kind of thing I said A LOT when I worked with them.

  9. Lou

    Looking forward to seeing your ‘coffee table’ art book on sale in The Works at Christmas.

    Know what you mean about Areola …. sorry I mean Aurora… Smug, very smug, that one.

    • notwavingbutironing

      Ah, but she’ll end up miserable! Raised in the woods by fairies, gets married at 16 to the first man she sets eyes on… Dysfunctional or what?

  10. Crikey. Two WEEKS?? ???????
    You brave bunny.
    As for the Pink Venus, love it and must have one. Particularly like the breasts. If you see what I mean. Not in a sexual way, you understand, but in a marvelling sort of Art Wank way. Brilliant. xx

    • notwavingbutironing

      Tragically, I was actually consulting my ‘Atlas of Early Man’ while I made it. Christ, I must get out more. x

  11. I am utterly roaring (that sounds a tad wanky but possibly better than ‘I’m crying into my Asda Rose fuelled dark oblivion and you are a marvelous distraction’). The poo on the toilet IS my son’s artwork (when he’s not drawing ‘maps of the carpark by Pets at Home’) and although I don’t have daughters (and at times like this dance on the Disney Princesses glorious graves…..) I totally understand the dichotomy of motherhood. I find myself challenging my intelligence by working out how many words I can cut from tedious bedtime stories without them noticing so I can get shitfaced watching Celebrity Masterchef (who would have thought it could have ever come to this?). Bobby’s Best Birthday Present is as bad as it sounds and I hate ever f’cking word but the last. I always imagine it would be different if I had girls and they would want to revel in marvelous mystical tales – you reassure me that the pain is universal….. Tally-ho and keep up the good work.

    • notwavingbutironing

      Bedtime is a little less painful recently since I discovered those Mr Gum books – which I think the rest of world discovered, oh, about 10 years ago. Any book that includes sentences like, ‘And then the villagers linked arms and sang a cheery song called, “Can Somebody Please Untangle Our Arms, We’ve Got Stuck”‘, and features a gingerbread man called Alan Taylor, has got to be better than Bobby’s Best Birthday Present – which I haven’t even read but from your comment I am guessing that Bobby’s best present isn’t a huge fuck-off dirt bike or a gun or a spaceship. Am guessing it’s ‘friendship’, or ‘love’. What six-year-old sticks those on their birthday list, eh?

  12. That’s hilarious, I haven’t seen the Willendorf Venus since reading “Sexual Personae” by Camille Paglia in 1993.

    • notwavingbutironing

      I saw it in my ‘Children’s Atlas of Early Man’. Who’s the brainy one now, Cupcake? Huh?
      Um, you, pretty obviously.

  13. I always thought the fabulous Willendorf Venus looked like a Mack Sennet bathing beauty. Just slightly worried why your venus is so STABBED!!??? As for Disney princesses – so glad my delightful daughter is as happy to stab them now as I am. She is currently dressing as EMO as possible today to register her anger at not going somewhere she wants to. No capes, no bows – just daggers.

    • notwavingbutironing

      I slavishly copied the pics out of my Children’s Atlas of Early Man (see above) and tried to recreate the bobbled effect of Venus’s headdress, but I only had a a pencil tip to work with, rather than a whittling blade made from flint or mammoth bone or whatever. I blame the tools.
      Your daughter sounds marvellous. You are obviously a total cow and will never understand what she’s going through. Christ, were you ever young? I’m going out now. Just OUT!!!

  14. Having spent three hours at an art gallery with 20 three year olds yesterday, I think yours is a far superior option. At least I’m on my own here.

    • notwavingbutironing

      God, 20 of them? So that was two and a half hours in the toilet, and half an hour doing the art? Hey, hang on, that sounds like my ideal gallery visit, if you factor in a visit to the cake shop…

  15. They’re great artworks.
    I’ve done time in art galleries with my family: two of us gasp in awe and wonder; two of us discuss whether we’d give any of it a home. I genuinely wondered aloud why a clothes rail and hangers had been left in the entrance hall…
    Clearly I know what I’m talking about.
    Disney princesses are no longer required here, praise be!

    • notwavingbutironing

      What comes after Disney princesses, though, Hausfrau? That’s what’s worrying me. Is it Hannah Montana? I-Carly or whatever that is? Enlighten me, please.

  16. It’s an uphill struggle from pink and purple Princesses, through um… the brighter pink and purple of Hannah Goddamma, to purple lipstick and pink hair au Lady Gaga, and onwards and upwards to purple and pink eyeballs in Twilight. Progress.

    Obviously the black and blue of boys’ knees is a blessed relief.

    • notwavingbutironing

      Why don’t children like wholesome colours any more, like yellow and green? Pink and purple are the colours of Satan’s dangly bits.

  17. Ah, there you are popping up on my blog. I’ve been wondering where you are. Mind you, your posts are so awesome they deserve at least a week as the feature!!! Looking forward to the next installment. x

    • notwavingbutironing

      Oh, bless you, Maxabella! I loved catching up over at yours – you have been busy, I see. I have been singularly unable to get to the computer for the whole six weeks of the hols because as soon as I hit the ‘on’ button, a fight breaks out downstairs. And in the evenings, I have had to catch up on episodes of ‘Spartacus: Blood & Sand’. A marvellous Aussie export, I believe. x

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