The Artwork That Traps Ivanka Trump in an Endless Cleanup Task

An art installation on view in Washington, D.C., imagines the powerful White House adviser Ivanka Trump in a new role: trapped in Sisyphean servitude. In Ivanka Vacuuming (2019), a performance conceived by the artist Jennifer Rubell, viewers are invited to throw bread crumbs in the path of a convincing Trump lookalike, continuously making a mess that she can never finish cleaning up.

The model, a slender blond proxy for Trump, wears an outfit drawn entirely from Trump’s own clothing line (including the same light-rose sleeved dress that Trump wore to the last G20 summit). Expressionless, she pushes a professional stand-up cleaner methodically over a carpet of such a bright fuchsia that the walls around it glow pink with reflected light. The performance, on view at Flashpoint Gallery, elides any elements that could be associated with Donald Trump: no gold plating, crystal chandeliers, or fast-food wrappers. Instead, this dreadful Barbie ritual takes place on a sort of stage, pink and pristine, where the actor performs a vision of plastic femininity. The audience plays a part, too; and while Ivanka Vacuuming appears to be making a case about complicity by incorporating the viewer, the message is muddled.

Contemporary artists love to hate the Trump administration, and plenty of them have subjected the president to pointed caricature. But Ivanka Trump’s polished public persona doesn’t offer an easy grip for satire. To some, she is a cipher. Others see her as a superhuman model of efficiency. Since her elevation from Trump Organization executive to White House adviser, Ivanka has juggled motherhood, her own portfolio, and her father’s behavior in the public eye—never failing to appear less than perfectly coiffed.

[: What is Ivanka Trump’s role in the White House?]

This—Ivanka Trump’s sanitized performance of femininity—is the central focus of Rubell’s piece. Ivanka Vacuuming is not political, per se: The artist is not skewering any particular policy or even the Trump administration as a whole (as the artist Robin Bell does in a more inflammatory show of protest light installations, which opened across town from Flashpoint last week). Instead, Rubell examines Ivanka Trump’s cultural significance as a woman who has made the welfare of other women her policy priority. While Trump has talked of “rewriting the rules for success” for women, the artist instead casts her as a Stepford wife, caught in an endless loop of a housewife’s chore. The

Source:: The Atlantic – Culture


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