Racism backlash over art 'chair'

Last updated 09:03 23/01/2014
 Dasha Zhukova
Buro 24/7
OUT OF CONTEXT: The original picture of Dasha Zhukova published by Buro 24/7, which caused racism backlash online

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Russian-born socialite Dasha Zhukova has apologised after a picture of her posing on a chair designed to look like a half-naked, bound black woman being crushed sparked racism outrage.

The picture of was published online by Russian magazine Buro 24/7 as part of a feature on Zhukova, who is a 32-year-old editor-in-chief of UK art magazine, Garage, and partner of Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich.

The chair was an artwork created by Norwegian-born artist Bjarne Melgaard in tribute to provocative '60s British pop art sculptor Allen Jones' works. In particular Jones' work Chair (1969), in which a realistic-looking, fair-skinned female mannequin was fashioned into chair.

Zhukova said Melgaard's chair, which too used a human-sized mannequin, had been taken out of context and its inclusion in the photo shoot was "regrettable" as it took "the artwork totally out of its intended context".

"I utterly abhor racism and would like to apologise to those offended by my participation in this shoot," the art collector said.

Buro 24/7 editor Miroslava Duma also posted an apology on her Instagram page, saying: "Buro 24/7 and I personally would like to express our sincerest apology to anyone who we have offended and hurt. It was ABSOLUTELY not our intention.

"We are against racism or gender inequality or anything that infringes upon anyone's rights."

The picture quickly went viral on social media and had to be removed by the online magazine and replaced by a cropped version of the original photograph to show only Zhukova and the mannequin's legs.

The picture was also removed from Zhukova's personal Instagram account after receiving multiple complaints.

The article's publication also coincided with a United States' holiday dedicated to civil rights activist Martin Luther King Junior, which caused some Americans to protest the picture's bad taste on a day forged from his fight against racial segregation and racism.

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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