Russian-based fashion website Buro 24/7 published a photo of Garage Magazine editor and socialite Dasha Zhukova, sitting on top of a sculpture of a black woman in bondage by Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard. The photo popped up on both Buro 24/7 and Russian fashion scene fixture and Buro 24/7's founder, Miroslava Duma's instagram.
The public outcry was instant. Critics took to Buro and Duma's instagram citing racism further inflamed by the fact that the photo was published on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Both Duma and Zhukova have since issued and apology and the offending photo has been removed from Duma's instagram an an altered version of the photo with the chair/sculpture cropped out is up on the Buro website.
Just what is the intended context? The Malgaard piece is in fact, as Zhukova states, a reinterpretation of British pop artist Allen Jones bondage sculptures.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.