Recently, Buro 24/7, released an interview with the Russian editor-in-chief of Garage magazine, Dasha Zhukova attached to a highly controversial photograph. In the photo, Zhukova is sitting on a chair sculpted to look like a contorted and mostly naked black woman. And while this situation sounds terrible on its own, things were only made worse by the fact that the photo was published on MLK Day. An online parade of critics were swift in condemning the artwork as undoubtedly racist and I have to agree.
Though some are claiming the chair is a piece of art meant to challenge racism, (it should be noted that the chair is a throwback to Allen Jone’s chair featuring a white woman) I would argue that we cannot ignore the racial implications of the sculpture when considering it as a piece of furniture or the way in which the photo at hand sends a profoundly racist message about who gets to be on top in this world. This picture has white dominance written all over it and I stand with all those wanting to hold the world of fashion accountable. We cannot continue to allow claims of creativity to erase blatant examples of racism and sexism (I find it no coincidence that there is no male version of this chair).
Buro 24/7 and Zhukova, have apologized with excuses ranging from, “We value diversity” to “The chair was taken out of context”, but I for one would prefer if they would just stop being racist. What do you all think? Is this racism disguising itself as art, or is it just a chair?