Published On: Wed, Feb 6th, 2019

The Ivanka Trump scandal and the vacuum cleaner

An art exhibit called "Ivanka draws" infuriates the president's family: Washington gallery critics are urged to throw crumbs at her and watch her "draw elegantly"

Nordstrom removes Ivanka Trump Collection


A new art exhibit at a Washington museum shows an image lookalike Ivanka Trump, the daughter of the President of the United States, pushing a vacuum cleaner and invites viewers to throw bread crumbs for her to clean up.

The performance, named “Ivanka Vacuuming,” by conceptual artist, artist Jennifer Rubell, provokes criticism in America in the past 24 hours and also draws reactions from Ivanka and her brothers.

The exhibit opened at the Flashpoint Gallery on February 2 and continues until February 18.  In the framework of the performance, viewers are called “throwing bread crumbs on the carpet and watching the avant-garde draw elegantly and clean the mess, when the smile never leaves her face.”

The sign on the wall of the gallery depicts Ivanka Trump as “a figure whose public persona incorporates an almost comically wide range of feminine identities — daughter, wife, mother, sister, model, working woman, blonde.”

Ivanka and her brother Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump criticized the artist and the museum, saying it was an attempt to humiliate the president’s daughter. “Women can choose to knock each other down or build each other up. I choose the latter,” tweeted Ivanka Trump, who currently serves as a senior adviser to her father at the White House.

Trump Jr. wrote: “Sad but it is not surprising to see those who declare themselves feminists launch sexist attacks against Ivanka, in their crazy world, sexism is normal if it hurts their political enemies.” In a Fox News broadcast, Eric Trump said his sister was “a strong woman who probably made for women more than anyone else in Washington.”

The artist explained in an interview that her work was meant to make the viewers and the throwers of the crumbs share an ugly thing and think about it: “Here is what’s complicated: We enjoy throwing the crumbs for Ivanka to vacuum. That is the icky truth at the center of the work. It’s funny, it’s pleasurable, it makes us feel powerful, and we want to do it more,” she says. “Also, we know she’ll keep vacuuming whether we do it or not, so it’s not really our fault, right?”


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