Is chair made from model of black woman's nearly-naked body racist?

Dasha Zhukova branded a 'chairhead' for posing on it, but art critic says seat has been 'misunderstood'

LAST UPDATED AT 15:47 ON Wed 22 Jan 2014

THERE is "nothing racist" about a chair supported by a mannequin of a nearly-naked black woman lying on her back, which caused a Twitter-storm earlier this week, writes The Guardian's Jonathan Jones.

He was moved to write a defence of the controversial chair today after a photograph of Roman Abramovich's girlfriend, Dasha Zhukova, sitting on it sparked an international furore. Several commentators pointed out that the picture was particularly offensive because it appeared on the Russian fashion website Buro 24/7 on Martin Luther King Day, a public holiday in the US.

The Sun calls Zhukova - who owns an art gallery - a "chairhead" for allowing herself to be pictured on the offending furniture.

Miroslava Duma, the editor of Buro 24/7, issued an apology for the picture yesterday and the image was cropped to obscure the offending mannequin. But Zhukova said the photograph of the chair – which was designed by Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard – had been published "entirely out of context".

Zhukova added that the art work is "intended specifically as a commentary on gender and racial politics".

The Guardian's Jones agrees. The fury triggered by the image "is not about racism as such", he writes. "It is about the clumsy exposure of a strange work of art to popular culture in a way that begs to be misunderstood."

But Hana Riaz, also writing in The Guardian, says Melgaard's chair is a reminder of how black women are often portrayed by artists as "hypersexualised, abused and ridiculed objects".

Riaz adds: "He [Melgaard] might attempt to confront the act of fetishism that is often involved in the gendered racialisation of black bodies – the eroticism and desire that underlies the disavowal involved in racism – but he does so by using black women's bodies as collateral." · 

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I don't see it as racist and who gives a toss what day it was published, what has it got to do with the yanks - the world does not revolve around them

THIS IS FUNNY, BECAUSE IF THE BLACK WOMAN WAS REAL, THEN THE WOMAN ON TOP WOULD HAVE BEEN PROJECTED TO THE ROOF AND ENDED-UP LOOKING LIKE A FRIED EGG.

...didn't you know that the US is the arbiter of all that politically correct, of all that is socially acceptable, of all that is "democratically" proper and of all that is religiously acceptable (ie fundamental Christianity).

The rest of the world has been swept along in the wake of US brow-beating pontification, disapproval and evangelistic pursuit of "Western" values.

Well - no thanks! If the Russians want to express their artistic instincts in different ways from the US why shouldn't they? And why shouldn't we enjoy this, rather attractive, expression of art.

S***f what the US says or thinks - let them stick to their crazy gun culture, their mind-numbing political correctness, their trigger-happy propensity to "sue" each other for squillions of dollars - what a revolting world they have created for themselves and one which they try to impose, either culturally, or by armed force, on the rest of us.

Shame on her for apologising.

Yea somehow any racism towards blacks is excusable huh? I bet if it was a white woman chair with a black woman Sitting on it on Columbus day, you'd be outraged. To be the minority on the entire planet, you whites are incredibly narcissistic. True to your reptilian nature.

No problem, just so long as when someone black makes a table center piece of a white slave master's decapitated head, its looked upon as art as well. :-)

...Zelda - please do NOT impose your "guilt trip" on me - I am NOT racist and I take offence at the notion - if you, presumably, are a "person of colour" or, to be plain sensible, "black" - then be proud of it, if you must - but do NOT expect the rest of the world to bend over backwards to apologise to you, to feel "guilty" for being "white", or to afford you respect and privileges that the rest of society can only dream of.

Get over it and get over yourself!!

..."you whites"??!! "Reptilian nature"??!! What revoltingly racist comments! Your words betray a huge chip on your shoulder.

Is it only "whites" who are racist? Methinks not - far more racism emanates from some other ethnic groups who, incidentally, presume the right to call each "damn n****r, with impunity, while rounding on others who might offend, or "diss", them.

...talk about hypocricy!!

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