Bjarne Melgaard and Gavin Brown React to the “Racist” Chair Controversy

Yesterday, we commented on the brouhaha around a photograph of Dasha Zhukova sitting on a chair-sculpture by Bjarne Melgaard, who is pictured above. (Quick refresher: The photo was published online on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; the sculpture was of a naked black woman; everyone got very, very upset; the internet exploded.) Today, Melgaard’s New York gallerist Gavin Brown has a concise reaction to the controversy, which I’m reproducing here in full:

These Bjarne Melgaard sculptures, based on the Allen Jones originals, exist to destabilize and unhinge our hardened and crusty notions of race and sex and power. These sculptures, made by a self professed ‘homosexual’, expose the latent and residual self hatred in a culture where the inhuman and overpowering presence of violence and catastrophe is imminent. Our tragedy is so evident in our daily experience that Melgaard has nothing left to portray but society in its utter decay. We see this photograph to be extraordinary. We see this debate to be a distraction from the true challenges that face us. We applaud both the sitter and the seated. To fault the sitter, now in the age of the Anthropocene, in the midst of enormous and REAL obscenities that threaten our actual existence, reflects a civilization that is not dying but already dead. Turn your outrage upside down.


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