Where do I begin? I suppose I’ll tell you about a brilliant, educated woman, Dasha Zhukova, 32, who is the Russian editor-in-chief of Garage magazine. She was born in Russia, but educated in the U.S., where her mother taught molecular biology at UCLA. Her father was and still is a very wealthy Russian oil man. She earned her degree in Slavic studies and literature from UC Santa Barbara, graduating with honors and later enrolled in London’s College of Naturopathic Medicine. She has been called a businesswoman, philanthropist, entrepreneur and fashion designer. In short, she’s no dummy. So how does a lovely, smart woman sit down for a photo shoot with Russian magazine, Buro 24/7, and not for even a little bit think this might be offensive?
Not even a little? Pret-a-Reporter, the Hollywood Reporter’s fashion pub ignored some important journalistic tenets when posting their headline:
Stylelite.com posted Zhukova’s shaming of the uneducated who were too stupid to understand the inference of her sitting on the chair. It goes without saying that no one knew the artist so she provides a brief history before the berating begins. I’m pretty sure you have to put your pinky out and use a Cambridge accent when you read this.
“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.”
To suggest that this was merely offensive because it was released on MLK Day is even more disgusting. Of course the Miroslava Duma, editor and founder of online fashion publication Buro 24/7, sent her apologies as well to the stupid people who don’t understand great art:
“Dear all, Buro 24/7 team and I personally would like to express our sincerest apology to anyone who we have offended and hurt,” she writes on Instagram. “It was ABSOLUTELY not our intention. We are against racism or gender inequality or anything that infringes upon anyone’s rights. We love, respect and look up to people regardless of their race, gender or social status. The chair in the photo should only be seen as a piece of art which was created by British Pop-Artist Allen Jones, and not as any form of racial discrimination.”
Duma is also Russian, so it’s plain to see why Americans and Russians are often so far apart in our opinions. How can one look at the chair and not see it as a form of “racial discrimination.” If it is art, I assume it’s meant to be activist art and you’re not supposed to sit on it.
Who’s stupid now.