Dear Ivanka Protests Ask First Daughter to Bring Women’s Rights in Move to Washington
Dear Ivanka hosts a second rally in New York.
“My husband, Jared, and I will be moving with our family to Washington, DC, where Jared will serve as Senior Advisor to the President,” wrote Ivanka Trump on Facebook on January 11.
She has a lot of packing to do ahead of the upcoming move to our nation’s capital, but art world activist movement Dear Ivanka is encouraging the soon-to-be First Daughter to make plans beyond her designer wardrobe and blue-chip art collection. On January 16, Dear Ivanka organizers, the Halt Action Group (HAG), held a rally asking Trump to “pack” women’s rights, affordable health care, freedom of the press, and other things many perceive to be threatened by President-elect Donald Trump.
The event, which attracted several hundred people, was the second action held by the group in an effort to appeal to Ivanka as a potential voice of reason. As opposed to her father, she is thought by the Dear Ivanka movement to be more reasonable and progressive, leading many to hope that she might encourage the administration to take a more liberal stance on key issues such as immigration and reproductive rights.
The group, which congregated at the statue of William Tecumseh Sherman in Grand Army Plaza at 59th Avenue and 5th Street, was easy to spot, sporting custom orange and white baseball caps stenciled with a “Trump Moving” logo. Bill Powers of New York’s Half Gallery led the march as they set off for Trump’s home at 502 Park avenue, hoisting a sign that read on one side “Dear Ivanka, what would MLK say?”
In keeping with the moving conceit, the marchers carried (and sometimes wore) moving boxes representing the freedoms we risk losing, emblazoned with slogans like “Don’t forget to pack human decency.” There was an elaborate vagina dentata box, cardboard cutouts of both father and daughter, and, of course, Richard Prince’s recently-disavowed Instagram appropriation art featuring Ivanka preparing for a photo shoot.
“The Trump/Pence administration is a living nightmare and we will not normalize this election,” said footware designer Arden Wohl to artnet News of her decision to participate in the protest. Although she was friends with Ivanka when the two were growing up, Wohl says that she has not seen her in some years.
Allegedly, HAG’s appeal to Trump, which also included a November 28 protest outside the Puck Building (which is owned by the family of her husband, Jared Kushner), has not gone unnoticed.
“She’s embarrassed,” said HAG’s Alissa Bennett, a writer and director of New York’s Team Gallery. “In her heart of hearts, I think it’s very unlikely she believes in the ideals of this administration.”
“These are people who’ve grown up with [Ivanka], whose art she buys, and I think that she needs to say something,” added Jamieson Webster, also one of the event’s organizers. “She was born and raised in New York, and she can’t have her cake and eat it too. Where does she stand?”
Those in attendance included New York magazine critic Jerry Saltz, who met up with the group after waving an anti-Trump sign while riding the escalator in the lobby of Trump Tower. “We hate Trump,” he explained to passersby, while admitting that protesting has always made him feel uncomfortable.
Artist Marilyn Minter, who will hold a pre-inauguration feminist event with Madonna at the Brooklyn Museum on January 19, was also there, dressed in a box marked “Fragile” and “First Amendment,” having hand-painted several boxes for the occasion. “You should join us!” she encouraged one of the numerous cops who were on hand to oversee the event. “We’re here,” the officer replied. “We’re with you in spirit.”
The march circled the block outside Trump’s home, and the crowd chanted “Tell Daddy no!” as they passed by her front door. Across the street, participants stacked the boxes for a photo op, before heading south to do the same in front of Senator Chuck Schumer’s office.
For some, Dear Ivanka was just another stop on the protest circuit: “I’m averaging a rally a week,” artist Linda Nagaoka told artnet News. “It’s a way to channel some of that anger.”
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