A piece of performance art which shows an Ivanka Trump lookalike hoovering up crumbs from a Washington, D.C. gallery floor has been called a “sexist attack” by her brother Donald Trump Jr.
Trump Jr., who has described his sister as “a powerful woman who has done more for women than probably anybody in Washington, D.C.,” was outraged by the artwork created by American conceptual artist Jennifer Rubell. The controversial piece shows a contented and diligent Ivanka enjoying a spot of light vacuuming in heels and a smart frock.
Visitors to the gallery throw crumbs on the floor for Ivanka to compulsively clean like a house-proud goddess. The gallery claims that by participating in the process of vacuuming, both artist and audience are exploring Ms. Trump’s “comically wide range of feminine identities – daughter, wife, mother, sister, model, working woman, blonde.”
The BBC reports that the performance is being staged by arts group CulturalDC. The group’s executive director Kristi Maiselman has described the concept of someone who resembles a famous person pushing a vacuum cleaner around as “insightful,” “timely,” and “boundary-pushing” in its reflection of contemporary womanhood.
The president’s daughter disagrees. Taking to Twitter, Ivanka hit out at the artist for attempting to “knock down” a fellow woman.
“Women can choose to knock each other down or build each other up. I choose the latter,” Ivanka wrote.
The Trump family reinforced Ivanka’s stance.
“Sad, but not surprising to watch self professed ‘feminists’ launching sexist attacks against IvankaTrump. In their crazed world, sexism is OK if hurts their political enemies,” Donald Trump Jr. snapped.
“That’s ok, they can go put on their stupid hats and she’ll get back to actually fighting for women.
In defense of her artwork, Ms. Rubell explained the artwork was not about mockery but the exploration of “complicated subjects we all care about.”
Ms. Rubell has extended an invitation for Ms. Trump to privately visit the exhibition and luxuriate in the positives such a powerful piece has to say about menial housework and the human condition.
According to Ms. Rubell, the piece is about power and control. She suggests that the enjoyment the audience receives from throwing crumbs for Ivanka to vacuum, in turn, makes them feel powerful, and they want to continue the process and elicit a specific and certain response.
“Also we know she’ll keep vacuuming whether we do it or not, so it’s not really our fault, right?”
Maybe, maybe not. One thing’s for sure, nature abhors a vacuum.