Photo Credit: Ryan Maxwell Photography

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participatory performance from Jennifer Rubell, a project of culturaldc

WASHINGTON, DC – CulturalDC, as part of its 20th Anniversary Season, is thrilled to bring critically acclaimed American conceptual artist Jennifer Rubell to the nation’s capital for a limited engagement performance art piece, Ivanka Vacuuming, running February 1-17.

Inspired by a figure whose public persona incorporates an almost comically wide range of feminine identities – daughter, wife, mother, sister, model, working woman, blonde – Ivanka Vacuuming is simultaneously a visual celebration of a contemporary feminine icon; a portrait of our own relationship to that figure; and a questioning of our complicity in her role-playing.

“Our mission in making space for art often extends to expanding the city’s cultural landscape. Jennifer’s insightful work is perfect for the artistically savvy and civic-minded DC crowd. We’re always happy to provide a platform for timely, boundary-pushing installations like Ivanka Vacuuming,” says Kristi Maiselman, Executive Director of CulturalDC.

Entering the gallery space, viewers will notice a woman bearing a striking resemblance to that Ivanka, cleaning a plush pink carpet. In front of this scene is a white pedestal with a giant pile of crumbs on top. The public is invited to throw crumbs onto the carpet, watching as Ivanka elegantly vacuums up the mess, her smile never wavering. This process repeats itself for the entire duration of the performance.

The viewer throwing crumbs, and Ivanka vacuuming them, is not a stand-in for one feeling, one relationship or one point of view toward this powerful and sexualized female form.  It is intentionally open to multiple, often contradictory interpretations that are as critical of the interpreter as they are of the subject.

“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,” notes Rubell. “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?”

Ivanka Vacuuming by Jennifer Rubell, a project of CulturalDC, runs Friday, February 1- Sunday, February 17, 6-8pm in CulturalDC’s former Flashpoint Gallery at 916 G St. Admission is free. The performance will be available to view via livestream, 6-8pm EST at



Jennifer Rubell (b. 1970) is an American conceptual artist whose work centers on the viewer’s physical interaction with the object.  She works in a wide variety of participatory mediums ranging from interactive sculpture, painting and video to food performance. Rubell received a B.A. from Harvard University in Fine Arts. She lives and works in New York City.

Select performances and exhibitions include: Landscapes at Fondation Beyeler in Riehen, Switzerland; Old-Fashioned, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Creation, for Performa, the New York performance-art biennial; Made in Texas and Nutcrackers, at the Dallas Contemporary; So Sorry, at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto; The de Pury Diptych at the Saatchi Gallery, London; Send in the Clowns at the Hirshhorn, Washington, DC; Icons, at the Brooklyn Museum. Rubell is represented in New York by Meredith Rosen Gallery.


CulturalDC ( celebrates its 20th year of creating affordable, sustainable artist spaces in the Washington, DC, area. Since 1998, CulturalDC has brokered more than 300,000 square feet of artist space, including: the Arts Walk at Monroe Street Market, Atlas Performing Arts Center, GALA Hispanic Theatre, Source Theatre and Woolly Mammoth Theatre. In addition to providing space, we facilitate opportunities for and present innovative visual, performing and multidisciplinary artists. CulturalDC’s Mobile Art Gallery is DC’s first moveable artspace and a commitment to use art as a catalyst to build community. Each year, CulturalDC serves more than 1,000 artists and welcomes 40,000 audience members and participants who patron local businesses and contribute an estimated $1 million to the local economy.

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