A new performance art piece by Jennifer Rubell, now on exhibit at gallery Cultural DC, invites visitors to throw crumbs at an Ivanka Trump stand-in, so she can vacuum them up off a hot pink carpet. According to the corresponding press release, the exhibit is "intentionally open to multiple, often contradictory interpretations that are as critical of the interpreter as they are of the subject."
In the statement, Rubell explains, "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... We like having the power to 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?"
But the "icky truth" Rubell is talking about could apply to this experience, regardless of who was behind the vacuum. The symbol of a well-manicured woman in heels cleaning up after callous strangers holds plenty of weight as it is; Ivanka's presence is superfluous, making this piece lazy and sexist.
Trump has responded to the piece with her own bit of nonsense. "Women can choose to knock each other down or build each other up," she wrote on Twitter. "I choose the latter." Sure. Okay. Can this all go away now?