Yale senior 'induced abortions on herself' for art project (9)

1 Name: Yale Daily News : 2008-04-17 18:58 ID:/PXqzivm

Art major Aliza Shvarts '08 wants to make a statement.

Beginning next Tuesday, Shvarts will be displaying her senior art project, a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself "as often as possible" while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages. Her exhibition will feature video recordings of these forced miscarriages as well as preserved collections of the blood from the process.

The goal in creating the art exhibition, Shvarts said, was to spark conversation and debate on the relationship between art and the human body. But her project has already provoked more than just debate, inciting, for instance, outcry at a forum for fellow senior art majors held last week. And when told about Shvarts' project, students on both ends of the abortion debate have expressed shock . saying the project does everything from violate moral code to trivialize abortion.

But Shvarts insists her concept was not designed for "shock value."

"I hope it inspires some sort of discourse," Shvarts said. "Sure, some people will be upset with the message and will not agree with it, but it's not the intention of the piece to scandalize anyone."

The "fabricators," or donors, of the sperm were not paid for their services, but Shvarts required them to periodically take tests for sexually transmitted diseases. She said she was not concerned about any medical effects the forced miscarriages may have had on her body. The abortifacient drugs she took were legal and herbal, she said, and she did not feel the need to consult a doctor about her repeated miscarriages.

Shvarts declined to specify the number of sperm donors she used, as well as the number of times she inseminated herself.

Art major Juan Castillo '08 said that although he was intrigued by the creativity and beauty of her senior project, not everyone was as thrilled as he was by the concept and the means by which she attained the result.

"I really loved the idea of this project, but a lot other people didn't," Castillo said. "I think that most people were very resistant to thinking about what the project was really about. [The senior-art-project forum] stopped being a conversation on the work itself."

Although Shvarts said she does not remember the class being quite as hostile as Castillo described, she said she believes it is the nature of her piece to "provoke inquiry."

2 Name: Yale Daily News : 2008-04-17 18:58 ID:/PXqzivm

"I believe strongly that art should be a medium for politics and ideologies, not just a commodity," Shvarts said. "I think that I'm creating a project that lives up to the standard of what art is supposed to be."

The display of Schvarts' project will feature a large cube suspended from the ceiling of a room in the gallery of Green Hall. Schvarts will wrap hundreds of feet of plastic sheeting around this cube; lined between layers of the sheeting will be the blood from Schvarts' self-induced miscarriages mixed with Vaseline in order to prevent the blood from drying and to extend the blood throughout the plastic sheeting.

Schvarts will then project recorded videos onto the four sides of the cube. These videos, captured on a VHS camcorder, will show her experiencing miscarriages in her bathrooom tub, she said. Similar videos will be projected onto the walls of the room.

School of Art lecturer Pia Lindman, Schvarts' senior-project advisor, could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

Few people outside of Yale's undergraduate art department have heard about Shvarts' exhibition. Members of two campus abortion-activist groups . Choose Life at Yale, a pro-life group, and the Reproductive Rights Action League of Yale, a pro-choice group . said they were not previously aware of Schvarts' project.

Alice Buttrick '10, an officer of RALY, said the group was in no way involved with the art exhibition and had no official opinion on the matter.

Sara Rahman '09 said, in her opinion, Shvarts is abusing her constitutional right to do what she chooses with her body.

"[Shvarts' exhibit] turns what is a serious decision for women into an absurdism," Rahman said. "It discounts the gravity of the situation that is abortion."

CLAY member Jonathan Serrato '09 said he does not think CLAY has an official response to Schvarts' exhibition. But personally, Serrato said he found the concept of the senior art project "surprising" and unethical.

"I feel that she's manipulating life for the benefit of her art, and I definitely don't support it," Serrato said. "I think it's morally wrong."

Shvarts emphasized that she is not ashamed of her exhibition, and she has become increasingly comfortable discussing her miscarriage experiences with her peers.

"It was a private and personal endeavor, but also a transparent one for the most part," Shvarts said. "This isn't something I've been hiding."

The official reception for the Undergraduate Senior Art Show will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 25. The exhibition will be on public display from April 22 to May 1. The art exhibition is set to premiere alongside the projects of other art seniors this Tuesday, April 22 at the gallery of Holcombe T. Green Jr. Hall on Chapel Street.

3 Name: Unverified Source : 2008-04-17 19:48 ID:WfrBCZ3x

sick fuck

4 Name: Unverified Source : 2008-04-18 00:47 ID:wfoFDOnE

Ms. Shvarts is engaged in performance art. Her art project includes visual representations, a press release and other narrative materials. She stated to three senior Yale University officials today, including two deans, that she did not impregnate herself and that she did not induce any miscarriages. The entire project is an art piece, a creative fiction designed to draw attention to the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman’s body.

She is an artist and has the right to express herself through performance art.

Had these acts been real, they would have violated basic ethical standards and raised serious mental and physical health concerns.

legendary troll

5 Name: Unverified Source : 2008-04-18 02:55 ID:+O+4q0oG

is correct. This is a hoax.

Rather believable, though, wasn't it? EPATER LE BOURGEOISIE!

6 Name: Unverified Source : 2008-04-18 22:39 ID:wfoFDOnE


Ahahahaha, this thing just keeps getting crazier.

7 Name: Unverified Source : 2008-04-20 10:37 ID:wfoFDOnE

since this might be true again, i've been trying to come to a satisfying opinion on the matter.

i'm willing to accept that she wasn't intending to cause a media circus. based on her narrative about her first period i see her as one of those womb-obsessed hippie sorts. at most she may have seen that aspect as simply something to leverage to increase the popularity of her work.
i guess the point is about how the body doesn't have some teological purpose and it can just as well be used to repeatedly cause abortions for artistic purposes than it can be used to fulfill biological imperatives. or something like that.
but ignoring her goals, for a bunch of people she's taken pro-choice and lit it on fire. some come up with arguments that don't touch on the issue itself, like that the work trivializes the experience of women who have abortions. but it's pretty obvious that they still have some unresolved issues with the act itself.
the medium of her work is completely fucking insane. menstrual blood video cube hanging from the ceiling, what the fuck.

8 Name: Unverified Source : 2008-04-20 10:40 ID:Heaven

*read teological as teleological

9 Name: Unverified Source : 2008-04-22 17:47 ID:Heaven

I'm thinking this girl isn't going to find many people in her favor, which probably won't bother her. At this point though, attracting the ire of the whole country, she would do best not to refute Yale's attempts to protect her.

Well anyway... I hope she likes hate mail and death-threats. I don't think this kind of publicity for a gaudy show of art is going to help her career much either; stupid undergrads.

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