Russian online publication Buro 24/7 has caused controversy with an image of Garage magazine Editor, Dasha Zhukova, perched upon a chair designed to look like a half-naked black woman, tied-up with her legs in the air.
While the piece of furniture is supposedly inspired by the British pop artist Allen Jones’s 1969 sculpture “Chair” (which also showed a white woman in the same pose and another on all fours, propping up a glass coffee table), to many it simply suggests white dominance and supremacy.
The Organization for Women’s Liberation tweeted “This is incredibly racist”. As if the image didn’t already look bad enough, the article was posted on Martin Luther King Day – a day of remembrance of the leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement.
The chair’s designer Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard, originally meant it to be seen as part of a larger series, reinterprets work by artist Allen Jones to comment on gender and racial politics. Unfortunately in this case it was taken entirely out of context, causing immediate bad reactions amongst readers. Buro 24/7 was founded by socialite Miroslava Duma, the previous editor at Russian, and is dedicated to fashion, art, architecture, cinema, music and style. So far, no statement has been issued by the website, although the image has since been cropped to hide the chair. Dasha Zhukova has apologised, however, saying: “I utterly abhor racism, and would like to apologise to anyone who has been offended by this image.”
What do you think? Racism or a genuine stupid mistake? Leave your thoughts below.