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Russian Socialite and Editor-in-Chief of Garage magazine, Dasha Zhukova, is coming under fire for a recent interview she gave to artist Miroslava Duma’s online pub Buro 247. While the content of the interview isn’t offensive—the pair discusses the Zhukova’s magazine, fashion, and collecting Russian art—the images accompanying the story have many crying foul.

Zhukova, who is described by Wikipedia as a “celebutante, philanthropist, and entrepreneur,” sits calmly atop a chair supported by a nearly naked, extremely life-like black female mannequin, who strains to support her. The image is jarring, upsetting and very offensive.

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Allen Jones’ Hatstand, Table and Chair (1969)

The crude piece seems to be inspired by a collection by artist Allen Jones who used White mannequins styled as strippers and used as furniture in 1969. The pieces objectify women and literally renders them as nothing more than objects. However, the chair Zhukova chose to be photographed on for her interview was even more troubling considering the long history of White women partaking in the dismissal and domination of Black women and our bodies.

Miroslava Duma posted the image of a smiling Zhukova sitting on a naked Black female mannequin to her Instagram account and was immediately bombarded with criticism. Duma has since removed the image, but it remains on the Buro 247 site along with Zhukova’s interview.

The creative world has a long history of objectifying women of color (and our skin) and calling it art. Whether it’s a magazine painting White models in blackface and dressing them in “ethnic” clothing, or the macabre “Painful Cake” that encouraged viewers to cut a slice of an African’s woman’s body while she screamed in pain, the art world is one of the last places in our society where blatantly offensive pieces are celebrated as “innovative” and “groundbreaking.”

While Duma and Zhukova will almost certainly issue an apology, probably feigning ignorance about racism because they are Russian (which does not give them a pass, by the way), I’m trying to wrap my brain around why they felt this was a good idea, or a worthwhile piece of “art” in the first place.

H/T Rachel Stewart

UPDATE:

Looks like the Buro 247 site caved to the outrage…sorta. After a slew of negative comments and blog posts around the web, the site cropped out the Black mannequin in the image, and now shows Dasha Zhukova sitting on a chair made of a woman’s legs. Peep it:

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  • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004214564095 Fwd Amadet

    As they gleefully participate in one of their ancient rituals….

  • EbonyLolita

    All of these images are sickening. You can keep this type of art. I’d like to interview the real life model who allowed herself to be used in this manner.

  • LeAnna

    In the article it states that this was “extremely life-like black mannequin”.

    I would hope no one would ever be this desperate to do this.

  • BeanBean

    These ‘furniture mannequins’ are disgusting regardless of color. Why would any woman want to buy and use something that is objectifying towards women in the first place? Because the mannequin is black and she’s white it makes it racially offensive, but even if the mannequin was white it would still be gross.

  • Ivory

    I agree. If they wore more clothes and were sitting up than maybe but the fact that they are in a compromising pose nearly nude makes them disgusting. They are made worse by the fact that they look so life like.

    I hate post modern art people.

  • omfg

    wow. just wow.

  • Marisa

    It should be titled “Naked Black woman allows herself to be used for art”. Astonishing that in this day and age it seems more of our people, readily signing up for their own objectivication. The russian woman doesnt really need to be discussed, as her motives arer obvious and she will play dumb like they all do.

  • Anthony

    I cannot really wrap my head around the fact that so many whites in places were there few, if any black people are obsessed with us. I can understand us thinking about them, especially in America or Europe, where we are minorities among a white majority. Why a white person of influence thinks about us when that person probably had little contact with us is just weird.

  • http://roslynhardyholcomb.com roslynholcomb

    It’s not a real black woman. It’s a mannequin.

  • KD

    I, too, find this incredibly disturbing. I am all for artistic expression and I realize that some artists would like their work to create controversy and could care less who it offends. So, while I find the “furniture” disgusting and in poor taste for it does objectify women, I believe the person who created this has the right to freedom of expression despite how twisted it may be.
    Now, on to this interview…
    It was highly inappropriate for them to use this image. Let’s be real…several people proof and edit work before it goes to print or online. They knew exactly what they were doing and that it would spark a viral backlash. ALL WOMEN should be offended by this regardless of race because the bigger picture is that it objectifies women in addition to dehumanizing AA women by illustrating white superiority. With that said, does anyone really care to read what the interview was about? No. Because those of us with a sound mind and conscious cannot get past the image.

  • S.

    Trollin’

  • Pseudonym

    That’s what I thought. I’m just as offended by the original works with the white woman. The term “sexist pig” comes to mind to describe anyone that would like that furniture.

  • Starla

    I believe she is a good friend of Naomi Campbell, would be interesting to hear Naomi’s opinion on this art.

  • iforgotitall

    I think is just offensive to all women. I did not take offense solely at the black mannequin. My first thought was she’s trying to insult, cause contraversy and get press. It just made Miley No#1 on the charts. Using sex and race works everytime. Now she is a worldwide trending topic.

  • Chike

    Feigning ignorance? Undisguised racism is so common in Russia that it is even handed out for free. Russians never include Blacks in anything that is worth anything-ask Osaze Odemwingie, ( footballer)he is half Russian, but still…. I think they knew really what they were doing alll right. I am glad they are been made to understand that everywhere is not Russia.

  • Dee D

    “ALL WOMEN should be offended by this regardless of race because the bigger picture is that it objectifies women in addition to dehumanizing AA women by illustrating white superiority. With that said, does anyone really care to read what the interview was about? No. Because those of us with a sound mind and conscious cannot get past the image.”

    Yes!!

    However, I’m sure she doesn’t see it like this and will tell everyone: “relax it’s just art.” What exactly is the point of this “art”? Yes, I know they are making a play on women as sexual objects, but what are you really saying…Women as sexual objects are fine as long as I can buy it, put it in my house, and talk about “enlightened” I am?

  • ColorMePretty

    Sometimes I really hate white people.

  • mEE

    I wish I didn’t click on that Painful Cake link

  • Tara

    If this dumb ass black woman (like the white women who chose to be draped over that other guys shoulder as fashion about 2 months ago) agree to this then that is on them. I do not care. I must admit though, “The Help” came on the other night and I could not sit through 5 minutes of it..

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    Bingo! This is just disgusting period!

  • RJ

    Do you think that white women will look at it and be offended on behalf of black women? Doubt it. We need to stop thinking that white women automatically view us equally. In my opinion, this is offensive to black women period and she knew what she was doing when they selected the model.

    Also, I am so tired of these black people who just want to belong so bad that they will do anything to appear that they are on the scene. The woman letting her use her as a chair is equally to blame.

  • Nikkoli

    “tired of these black people who just want to belong so bad ”

    These black people?

    Comment after comment, you seem to have a serious issue with women who are not black. Have you ever sought therapy? Not every non-black woman is filled with “I hate negrodom”. Sometimes there are things that are universally WRONG, regardless of the color of people they’re perpetrated on.

    Also,

    “the woman letting her use her as a chair”

    Imagine if an inanimate object could object to being used as a chair, since it is a mannequin after all…..

  • http://gravatar.com/brownstocking brownstocking

    it’s a mannequin.

  • RJ

    I missed the point in the article that it is a life like mannequin which means that a model was used for this and a model posed for this. Unsure if she knew what she was being used for, but my general point stands.

  • Avril

    Disgusting. Those two better not even go there with “I’m Russian and I don’t know better” ish. Russia is a hotbed of horrible, horrible racism towards Africans. The only ones ‘spared’ are those with money, and it better be the right kind and amount of money. Don’t get me started also on the terrible treatment of Football players of african descent by Russian fans. So just no, no. For either of them to use this furniture as a woman either? REally?! Really? I just can’t most days with these ‘women’. What they don’t get is that if every woman of color were magically erased from the planet, they’d be the next on the victimzation totem pole. Just disgusting.

  • Mari

    Reading is fundamental -___-

  • http://www.jadebrieanne.com Jade

    2/4ths of this entire article zeros in on the mannequins. How did you miss that? Send them to school and they eat the books.

  • RJ

    The Article title says: Russian Socialite Uses Naked Black Woman As a Chair, Calls It Art. It says nothing about it being a manniquin. You assume that people read the article. This is a example of a picture being worth a thousand words.

    Many people also referenced the pictures of the white strippers without knowing that those pieces were done in 1969.

  • iforgotitall

    @ColorMePretty
    “Sometimes I really hate white people.”

    The totality of white people because one white Russian socialite is tasteless. Really? I believe “hate” should be reserved for people who actually engaging in negative acts that cause harm to black folks, like for instance the Republican politician who is working to cut school funding and social services in your state. But one day we just wake up and Grandmama’s medicaid is cut, Shaquan has no school bus for transport and the local library is closed while we are “hating” Zhukova and she’s still drinking top of the line vodka and obliviously enjoying life.

    As outraged as many people are, in some ways this is art imitating life. If you read the recent well circulated article about black nannies raising white children in NY you would have been aware there are still many white women figuratively sitting on black womens backs and we pass them in the street everyday.

  • http://melodymoose.deviantart.com/ catpopstar

    Its difficult for me to respect the art world when this crap keeps happening. Its obvious that that this is just an expression of hatred and calling it artistic. People need to stop giving everything a free pass just because the creator say “ART” or “JOKE” and use their brains.

  • http://gravatar.com/geenababe geenababe

    She wasn’t even orginal with her idea.

  • https://www.facebook.com/joshowasho Josh Nolan

    So yes, the image is offensive. Everyone here is talking about it, and talking about how horrible racism is. If the artist’s intention was to draw attention to racism and sexism – Mission accomplished?!

    Why is everyone saying that the image is bad? Racism is bad, not just the first artist or piece of art who reminds you that racism still exists and is still a problem!

    Similarly the other piece “Painful Cake” isn’t saying that it’s right that white people have been carving up the natural resources of Africa and abusing people of African descent, rather the image is grotesque.

    You need to stop shooting the messenger, and start doing something about the message. If you’re offended then good, because racism is offensive, but don’t take an obvious attempt to subvert racist culture as racism itself >>

  • Tyler

    “This day and age”? The sculpture (not furniture) was made in 1969.

  • http://twitter.com/JeremiahLumbee Jeremiah Clarke (@JeremiahLumbee)

    Okay so you show the entire Allen Jones collection UNCROPPED, but when it comes to this recent copy of his work, you crop it.

    So are we now saying that White women can take the offense but Black women can’t?

    I find both to be very distasteful and I would think that ALL women would be offended at this mess. But leave it to mainstream media to make racial distinctions.

  • https://www.facebook.com/zosxavius Zos Xavius

    My thoughts exactly. If she had a white girl holding her up it wouldn’t be seen as racist, just distasteful, but now that its a black girl, OMG RACISM! This whole article is racist and accusatory. In both, I see art, distasteful or not.

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