Today in Racist ‘Art’: Miroslava Duma’s Site Places White Socialite on Black Woman Bondage Chair [Updated]

dasha-zhukova-black-woman-chair-miroslava-duma-buro-247-interview

Buro 24/7, the website founded by street style maven Miroslava Duma, is feeling the wrath of Instagram after publishing an interview with Garage magazine editor-in-chief Dasha Zhukova.

The interview is in Russian, but you don’t need Google Translate to see what everyone’s so offended by. It’s the accompanying photograph of Zhukova sitting atop a black woman chair by provocative ’60s pop artist Allen Jones. Jones’ forniphilic chairs were a source of controversy during the height of their popularity in the ’60s, though it’s Buro who have amped up the cringe factor (and their web traffic) by selecting one of the few pieces that uses a woman of color.

RELATED: Fashion’s Fetishization of Black Imagery Needs to Stop

Duma posted that photo to her personal Instagram account shortly after the interview went live, though it has since been removed following criticism from her usually devout followers. Buro 24/7′s Facebook page is also being slammed for posting the same photo.

It’s disturbing that anyone thought this was a good idea, and fairly awkward that the interview was uploaded on the day we’re supposed to be celebrating civil rights and women’s rights advocate Martin Luther King Jr. MLK might be an American holiday, but that hardly gives Buro a Get Out of Jail Free card.

Do you think the chair constitutes “art”?

UPDATE: Miroslava Duma has non-apologized for the racist chair:

“Dear all, Buro 24/7 team and I personally would like to express our sincerest apology to anyone who we have offended and hurt,” she writes on Instagram. “It was ABSOLUTELY not our intention. We are against racism or gender inequality or anything that infringes upon anyone’s rights. We love, respect and look up to people regardless of their race, gender or social status. The chair in the photo should only be seen as a piece of art which was created by British Pop-Artist Allen Jones, and not as any form of racial discrimination.”

I don’t know what’s more baffling: Her powers of non-apology or her claim that the provocative idea of a white socialite sitting atop a black woman bondage chair didn’t even enter their minds. Actually, it’s probably the injustice of someone owning a cripplingly expensive piece of POP ART yet having no regard for context.

Dasha Zhukova has also non-apologized for being forced to sit in the racism chair against her will:

“The chair pictured in the Buro 24/7 website interview is an artwork created by Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard, one of a series that reinterprets art historical works from artist Allen Jones as a commentary on gender and racial politics. Its use in this photo shoot is regrettable as it took the artwork totally out of its intended context, particularly given that Buro 24/7′s release of the article coincided with the important celebration of the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I regret allowing an artwork with such charged meaning to be used in this context. I utterly abhor racism and would like to apologize to those offended by my participation in this shoot.

Garage Magazine has a strong track record of promoting diversity and racial and gender equality in the worlds of art and fashion, and will continue in our mission to stir positive debate on these and other issues.”

When the ladies aren’t too busy with damage control, perhaps they could take a lesson on how to apologize.

UPDATE: Gay artist Alexander Kargaltsev has created a NSFW ‘white man chair’ in response to the black woman chair controversy. Kargaltsey told the Huffington Post:

“I was forced to leave Russia because of the discrimination I experienced as a gay [man]. I’m disappointed that the tradition of xenophobia is so strong in my home country that such an image of Ms. Zhukova can appear as if it is normal and unremarkable. Russian people do not seem to realize when people offend the principle of color, nationality, sexual orientation and so on.”

 

It doesn’t really get to the crux of the controversy since both the men are alive and naked, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Also definitely NSFW:

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[Buro 24/7]

Related links:
Oh My God Why: Elle France Editor Still Thinks Blackface is Okay
Belgian Designer’s Runway Demands Fashion “Stop Racism”
Unapologetically Racist Nivea Ad Seeks to “Re-Civilize” Black Men

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