January 25th, 2014
Fashion News
Gay Artist Alexander Kargaltsev Created “White Man Chair” In Response to Dasha Zhukova’s “Black Woman Chair” Debacle (NSFW)
By Claire

It was only a matter of time before this happened, eh?
Gay Russian artist Alexander Kargaltsev recently issued a rebuttal to Dasha Zhukova’s controversial ‘Black Woman Chair’ photograph: an image of a black man sitting on a nude ‘white man’ chair.
Alexander-Kargaltsev-white-man-chair-black-man-dasha-zhukova

He told the Huffington Post, “I was forced to leave Russia because of the discrimination I experienced as a gay [man]. I’m disappointed that the tradition of xenophobia is so strong in my home country that such an image of Ms. Zhukova can appear as if it is normal and unremarkable. Russian people do not seem to realize when people offend the principle of color, nationality, sexual orientation and so on.”
See the NSFW image below:
ga y russian artist alexander kargaltsev sits on white man chair
He went on to tell Out There Magazine, “[I]t deeply saddens me to see that racism is now being glamorized and thus made not only acceptable but trendy by the likes of Ms. Zhukova. My own composition reverses the visual injustice and offense perpetrated by that editorial and in a way restores the equality of genders, races, and sexual orientations. Sadly, I understand very well that my work will be seen by most Russians as provocative and inappropriate, while that repulsive image (published on Martin Luther King’s Day of all days in a year) will hardly make anyone over there shake their head.”


Photographer Dasha Zhukova Sits on a Black Woman Chair for Buro 247 Interview
The original offending image

Though undoubtedly provocative, Kargaltsev’s image differs from Zhukova’s in very salient ways: the man in the picture is a real breathing human being, who voluntarily agreed to pose for the photograph. And both men are naked, leveling the playing field. Very different from Zhukova posing on a sculpture made to look like a bound black woman…with Zhukova clothed, and the other barely covered.
At any rate, thoughts on Kargaltsev’s ‘answer’ to Zhukova’s original photograph?
See more on Huffington Post.

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31 comments

31 Responses to “Gay Artist Alexander Kargaltsev Created “White Man Chair” In Response to Dasha Zhukova’s “Black Woman Chair” Debacle (NSFW)”

  1. Septembre says:

    This would have been way more impactful if he was sitting on a white woman. He also appropriated this strictly race and gendered offence and added sexuality to the mix. I’m not dow with the co-optation of the discussion.

  2. Marie says:

    Now explain to me again why the original picture is racist when you actually have similar chairs with white women from the SAME artist! Offending, maybe. And for women of ALL races! But racist? Once again you guys are reaching too far!

  3. Jeda says:

    Marie, you have to reach farther. Even if the chair is available in white, the designer chose to use a black chair. They knew exactly what kind of symbolism they were going for with white people almost literally sitting on, crushing, and oppressing black people who are left naked. Don’t let this “in the name of art” and “they have it in white” fool you. And I’m tired of people saying that we searching. The less we search the more self oppressed we become. We can’t become tolerant about this kind of stuff or it will never stop. It will worsen.

  4. Anonymous says:

    ——————–>

  5. Aramide says:

    Jeda, you my friend are reaching for the f*cking stars then. I dont know what you see but crushing and oppressing black people is what I dont see. This definitely looks like a bdsm piece. Now im with you for not tolerating oppression. But this is not one of those ‘up in arms’ kind of things. You’re only stressing yourself out.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Oh. My. GOSH.

  7. Shirley says:

    This doesn’t solve anything. More of these images/symbolism will continue. I say we start making art that makes them uncomfortable, then “maybe” they’ll chill if not, we know what kinds of people they are.

  8. I’m sorry but the real meaning behind the original piece is totally irrelevant. It offended a lot of people and that is what matters. To the artist it was an artistic message and to a lot of us it was racist and THATS what matters. You can’t put offensive images out there and justify it by saying its art. People kept slaves and justified it as business!!! It saddens me that there are black people out there that STILL feel the original piece was ok (I’m going back to comments on Instagram) because until there is unity in what is acceptable these things will keep happening.

    As for this piece here it doesn’t make it any better but I think it’s interesting and necessary to keep the discussion going to ensure that people can see that this is not acceptable!!

  9. diasporamuse says:

    A paramount fact is misreprented in this article. The artist behind this piece is not a black gay Russia. He is a white gay Russian. This piece was done in support of the outrage of the previous female piece. He did this as a representative of a demographic in Russia that is denied rights and dignity. You can Google his nam. You will see his picture. I believe this fact changes the lense by which we view this piece.

  10. Deedee says:

    Would’ve killed it in a suit or clothing period

  11. jt says:

    Morality, moralitÝ, morality. Is being crude the only way to make a point. Why does the shock factor have to be upped( in the artists use of a black naked man sitting on a human being) for his point to be made? The picture is disturbing and brings the issue to sexuality- which was never even what caused the uproar in the first place. I feel like he’s cashing in on his own views from personal experience as opposed to lending support to racism and to objectification of black women as sex slaves/objects.

  12. L. says:

    You know, what I think would be interesting if there was an artist out there who purposely addresses the issue of racially charged “artwork” through their own art. Ex: artistic representations of hangings or hate crimes. Art should mirror life. It should also speak truth. Use art in a shocking way to show people what racism looks and feels like. I’m reminded of that scene in 12 years a slave where Lupita’s character is so brutally beaten for getting a bar of soap. That is provocative art mirroring truth and life. All the white people in the theatre were shocked or crying, and I’m sure they came away understanding just a little bit better what slavery and injustice and racism really translate into. The oppression of the defenseless because those in power simply can. Artists should be using their talents to bring consciousness of the world to their audience not simply using provocative images to make a name for themselves.

  13. Lola Reggy says:

    Before I read the text, I just had to laugh, I thought it was funny that a guy came back with his own chair.. After reading the text, I felt a bit sad. People will we ever stop doing this and just love eachother, because at the end we are all people!

  14. Vega says:

    My questions are to those who don’t find it racist do you believe racism still exist; and if so, in which form(through what actions)?

    Also, have you been a victim of racism? And if not, what Is the best way to explain and convince someone, who has been a victim, that this isn’t?

    Or in a more generalized term, how do you respond when society does things that you(maybe not everybody else) think is offensive? And is it okay if everybody disagrees with you and continues to offend you in whatever way that makes you uncomfortable?

    And if this is in the perspective of art, to some pornography is art. If we got enough people to think the same and decided to put it in an art book that is given to individuals 5-16 years of age in school, would it make it okay because someone finds it to be artistic? Or forget age, would it be okay to post it in the streets freely? Where do boundaries come in? And on top of that, art is supposed to be “thought provoking”; and this is just that.
    What thought am I to get from ANYONE(black, Jew, male, female, martian, whomever) sitting on a black woman who’s bent over laying on the floor, wearing leather/latex, with her breast out while looking up at the person that is sitting on her??? (It’s obviously a view of domination rather it is freely given or taken.)

    Whatever your conclusion: artistic, racist, sexist or just plain being offensive, being a young, black, gay man myself, I would NEVER argue that something isn’t offensive to someone else.
    It’s illogical.
    How are you going to tell someone else how they should feel?
    I can tell you the perspective of doing said action, is normally perceived as being an a*shole or a b*tch…. And no one likes a*sholes or b*tches.

    Just food for thought…or the lack there of.

  15. The sad part about it is…the people it needs to hit home with’ it simply won’t. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they did it to get the reactions that they did. They knew th particular piece was going to raise an uproar but that’s the way they do things now. Use race, culture, and nationality as propaganda for their own hidden agenda. That’s how much respect they have for us.

  16. DJAjavon says:

    Why does the topic of the discussions depicting different races or genders always move thoughts to racism, sexuality, or even gender inequalities?

    There is so much more to these photos… The obvious is too obvious and actually takes away from any possible intellectual conversation which can be cultivated rather than the typical normal negative response…

    Negativity is old and boring… Positivity negates creativity, which stimulates the brain and the soul…

    A perfect example of this… If this picture was shown to a child, I can almost guarantee, their comments won’t have anything to do with racism, sexuality, or even gender inequalities… LOL!

    The adult forced to explain this photo and others like it to a child, will have to be pretty creative, in using their full brain capacity; in the attempt to explain this menagerie to a child…while staying in-bounds to delineate the points and important facts without overindulging their curiosity or tarnishing their dome of innocence until a later date of maturity…

    That will require total massage of the brain cells… LOL!

  17. Shay says:

    For me this had no impact whatsoever. Its crude and loses its power with the choice for the black man to be naked & the pose to be too provocative.

    The societal oppression and objectification of women in my opinion has more weight for me within the framework of this discussion.

    Around the world the rights of women are constantly being violated, ESPECIALLY the rights of women of color. But this piece screams to me that the Socialite is not as free as appearances would have it. Look at her face. For argument sake the photographer and the editor who chose to place her in the chair may be making the statement that no matter what women will always be looked at as inanimate objects; Constantly placed under the strain of living up to masculine ideals of who and what women should be.

    With that being said I showed the photograph to my biracial love interest and his reaction was one of amusement. It was more of a conversation starter for more pillow talk than anything else, and he is a very intelligent, well read, and highly educated man.We laughed about who/what appeared more uncomfortable, and it was indeed the animal that gave its life to be the rug that came out to be the real loser in all of this.

    In a Dr. Who moment, I would say “is that a chair sitting on a woman?….how odd indeed”

  18. Natasha says:

    I find it interesting that this pic is NSFW but the female pic was. Is it the addition of clothing?

    Seeing these pics side by side may bring up topics in the LGBTQ or fetish communities as opposed to strictly race topics.

    First pic (female) was about race and fetishism (which may include homosexual undertones).

    Second pic (male) was about race and homosexuality.

    It’s a bit hard to compare the two unless we’re talking about “race and sexuality” in, ahem, broad strokes.

    To add, the second artist’s stated intent to reverse “the visual injustice and offense perpetrated by that editorial and in a way restores the equality of genders, races, and sexual orientations” was a flop.

    Why qualify injustice? And how does one person, with any one act restore gender, race AND sexual equality? We’re a tad presumptuous today, aren’t we? His heart was in the right place though, the darling.

    I’m with “L” on this one, if you’re going to delve into the topic then it should at least be a long-term artistic phase/period to really explore the subtleties.

  19. Valentine says:

    The problem is that black people feel constantly offended as our history is very strong and painful. But funnily as I watch this picture of this black man sitting on a white man, I don’t feel offended at all? Why is that? I see a ying and yang type of picture, I don’t see it offending for that white dude on the floor. So I wonder if the problem doesn’t come from us black woman? As I don’t think the white community will would have ever complaint if this picture came out first.

    The same way as Jewish people feel constantly offended whatever you say about them, we act the same. Which is exhausting as it takes out the lightness in everything. We cannot make jokes about Jewish people because of the holocaust and we cannot represent black woman in submissive manor or make jokes about it because of the slavery.

    Which brings me to my other observation… Why can’t a white woman sit on a black woman chair when black woman are constantly reducing themselves to the lowest point in music video? And yet they do it all the time, shaking their ass like it’s the only thing we can do… Why do you want respect from other if you cannot respect yourself?

    I think internet buzzes make us focus on superficial things when much more important issue are happening to women in general.

    As long as we will see us as black woman, white woman, Asian woman, we won’t be able to see each others as woman in general and fight for our rights as a whole.

    If this Russian woman would have sat on a white woman, no one would have care..!

  20. Me Oh My says:

    Had this picture been a straight black man with a gay white guy bound and made to be a chair, the world wouldn’t been at war. Smh…. You’re oblivious if you don’t get that is offensive, no matter what the meaning behind the original photo is/was. It’s offensive. Point, blank, PERIOD!

  21. Jessy says:

    It would have been equally offensive if he was clothed (or a clothed black woman), sitting on a naked white woman. Oh, the selective feminists would be hee-hawing about that.

  22. Jessy says:

    “Which brings me to my other observation… Why can’t a white woman sit on a black woman chair when black woman are constantly reducing themselves to the lowest point in music video? And yet they do it all the time, shaking their ass like it’s the only thing we can do… Why do you want respect from other if you cannot respect yourself?”

    Again, with this ridiculous argument from Valentine and others that are clueless. I most certainly am not shaking my butt anywhere and I respect myself. But again, black women are viewed as this monolith…if one of us does something wrong, all bets are off and we’re free to attack and demean by everyone. If you are black, Valentine, that says a LOT more about how you view yourself in your skin than an isolated image says about a whole group of women.

    If that was the case, most of white feminism would be pointless, since white women dominate the porn industry. They don’t respect themselves, why should we respect them? Stupid, myopic thinking.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I support gay rights but please stop trying to compare slavery and what Africans all over the world haas to and continue to have to to your plight… Because there is no comparison…

  24. rouge says:

    Here is an interested article about why the chair don’t matter. It is about how it is used in the photo: https://medium.com/p/4dfaff641d3b

  25. nyc chick says:

    I agree COMPLETELY with Valentine. We are talking about an inconsistent and hypocritical response to images (often by the same group of people). There is a pattern of outrage among black women at any hint of a (symbolic or real) insult to our dignity from a non-black person while totally ignoring the numerous offenses happening WITHIN the black community that demean and destroy the way black women are perceived and perceive themselves. Many of the images WE (black women and men) put out are way more harmful than a feature in a magazine that few of us read anyway. If one’s concern is legitimately about the dignity and well being of black women, there are MUCH bigger fish to fry.

    Also, being part of the zeitgeist means we are subject to be depicted, described, opined upon, admired, critiqued, teased, celebrated, questioned AND insulted in any manner of ways within the mainstream culture just like any one else. It isn’t automatically racism if the image/words/etc arent positive .

  26. Jessy says:

    There most certainly are some black people propagating negative images, in a generational cycle of self-destruction. I can voice my opinion (and most certainly do)about these vile images wherever I get a chance (and an available soapbox), and plenty of other black women do too.

    That said, I don’t believe that it gives ‘others’ license to dehumanize and use black women as objects. There is a similar debate regarding the use of the ‘N’ word. I most certainly will not co-sign this attention-seeking behavior. You are free to cosign if you enjoy, support or wholeheartedly consider the use of black women as props to be ‘art’. Likewise, if you don’t believe that racism exists, that’s your prerogative. It’s your world, girl–shape it to fit your tastes.

    But, black women are not a monolith, some of us do not buy into negative images produced by ANYONE, rather support the Kerrys, Oprahs and Lupitas of the world over your fave rapper or socialite’s opinion and we do our best to uplift women and girls that look like ourselves.

  27. Sarai says:

    Chile please- This is just one horny ass white man that wanted to publicly feel a black cock on his bare skin under the guise of “equality”. To me, he wanted to show a black man as his boy toy while pushing his homosexual agenda. If his intentions were sincere he would’ve had a fully dressed black woman sitting on him instead. Enough of the propaganda that racism is the same as homophobia, people wake up!

  28. Carol NOEL says:

    The Evening Standart stated that the Artist wanted to shoke and was probably rubbing his hands with glee, because he got the reaction that he wanted.
    I’m still asking about his insensitivity that it made a mockery in many sences. Launched on the day of celebration of MLKD when people would of been celebrating what great achievements accomplished by the fight for rights of black people… woman included. The rich white woman apologised but it has not been the same of him, the Artist.
    By the way I watched the 1960s film The Rebel with Tony Hancock and this is a great e.g of the egos of artist, take a look and see what I am refering to.

  29. Lisa says:

    I was offended by the original piece more as a woman, than as a black woman. This, however,is lost on me. I can’t get beyond the partially covered scrotum resting on the white man’s leg. It’ll definitely raise eyebrows, but it doesn’t evoke the same sense of outrage. White woman literally sitting on black women or other women period to get to the top or to simply treat them as less than they are happens all the time. So to have it photographed and displayed as a work of art was more than most of us could stomach. Especially those of us with a white female boss sitting inches away. Black men “sitting on white men” just doesn’t happen. So this picture is just weird, and doesn’t at all conjure up the same emotions of the former.

  30. Valentine says:

    @Jessy

    I am sorry, I don’t see how my skin colors would mean anything to you…? I am a woman and that’s the only thing that counts.

    White feminism?? Black feminism, this is just a way to keep the barrier between each other.

    Before this chair issue, there was the dolce & gabbana black women earrings causing problem, again, the same earrings were available as white woman and as asian woman. And yet, only black women complaint about it. That says a lot about insecurity…

  31. Skippy Newton says:

    2 fudgepackers…who cares…

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