dear ivanka, the new york art world is coming for you
Tonight, the city's creatives will protest Ivanka Trump's hypocrisy outside the Puck Building.
First-Daughter-elect Ivanka Trump's Instagram is littered with photos of contemporary art, mainly pieces she owns and artists she patronizes. From shots of her posing with work by Nate Lowman, Dan Colen, and Alex Israel, we can glean that Ms. Trump loves #art almost as much as she loves #fashion. But for many in the New York art world reeling from the election of her father, the romance is not mutual. Artist Jonathan Horowitz and curator Alison Gingeras have organized a grassroots movement in the form of an Instagram account @dear_ivanka, and a candlelit vigil this evening at the corner of Lafayette and Houston.
The protest will be in shouting distance of the Puck Building, owned by Ivanka's husband Jared Kushner and home to very, very expensive lofts and businesses. The building has been a symbol of the city's tackiest since it featured in Bret Easton Ellis's 1991 novel American Psycho as a party venue. Tonight, art people who have likely rubbed shoulders with Ivanka and Jared at the very types of events Ellis satirized will come together with signs like "The KKK Took the White House Away" and "Dear Ivanka Your Daddy Is Scary As Hell".
The New Trumpocracy has thrust into relief the weird juxtaposition between capitalism, culture, and politics in New York. And no one exemplifies that weirdness more than Ivanka, with her softline politics and hardline consumerism. For Ivanka, everything is a commodity; a blog post on her website from last year on "How to Start Collecting Art" points out "Your year-end bonus isn't going to spend itself." Beyond her cultural consumption, there's the shocking matter of Ivanka and her husband, Orthodox Jews, getting behind an administration that includes known Anti-Semite Steve Bannon.
For the past week, the @dear_ivanka Instagram account has highlighted glossy pictures of Ivanka, many from her own social media accounts, paired with captions like, "@dear_ivanka I'm concerned that your dad and your family are using the highest office in our land for personal financial gain." Halt Action Network, Horowitz and Gingeras's organization, targets Ivanka's duplicity while also appealing to her sense of reason. Horowitz tells us, "Ivanka is supposed to represent the kinder more rational side of Trumpism and she also collects art, so addressing her seemed like an appropriate starting point."
The founders of Halt work are known creative activists. Gingeras most recently curated Black Sheep Feminism at Dallas Contemporary, and Horowitz has been making work around Hillary Clinton since her first presidential bid, including an installation called Occupy Greenwich at the Brant Foundation this year. Their circle includes artists like Rob Pruitt and gallerists galore.
As to how people in art and beyond can get involved, Horowitz says, "Just showing up matters — It's important to show the world and one another that what's going on is not normal and it's not OK. And then just speaking out in whatever way feels right. No one can afford to be silent."
Text Rory Satran
Images courtesy Halt Action Network