Yesterday, the Russian online publication Buro 24/7 published an interview with Dasha Zhukova, the editor-in-chief of Garage Magazine. The article features a photo of the noted girlfriend of a Russian oligarch sitting atop a chair in the shape of a half-naked black woman. Yesterday, you’ll recall, happened to be the American holiday commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. These are just facts.
According to a statement from Ms. Zhukova, “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.”
Buro 24/7 has since cropped the photo so that the chair, apart from two legs sticking up in the air, is essentially invisible.
“I regret allowing an artwork with such charged meaning to be used in this context,” Ms. Zhukova’s statement continues. “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.”
The cover of Garage Magazine’s first issue featured a photograph of a woman with a Damien Hirst butterfly tattooed on her labia.