Endlessly Creative Yalie Makes Art with Abortion Goo

Endlessly Creative Yalie Makes Art with Abortion GooWe saw this YDN headine:

For Senior, Abortion a Medium for Art, Political Discourse

And thought the headline editor made a humorously inappropriate mistake. But then we read this:

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.

So- wait a- holy shi-

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.

I think I saw this, once. In a horrible, horrible nightmare.

If L’Affaire Papaya is any indicator, Shvarts should think about getting a security detail for her dorm. Drudge Report linked to the article, and you know what they say: First Drudge, then the blogosphere, then psychotic right-wing militiamen with websites hosted on Angelfire. Due to sudden influx of Drudge-related traffic, YDN’s website is periodically going down. So, until YDN stabilizes, we’re running the full article and a li’l more commentary after the jump. Oh, and in case you’re wondering:

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

Well, at least she has a sense of modesty.

For senior, abortion a medium

Martine Powers
Staff Reporter
Yale Daily News: April 17, 2008

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.”

“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.

A few questions arise:

  • How did she save the, er, biological material between collection-time and creative-time? Tupperware? Fridge? Old paint cans in the art building?
  • Is anyone else concerned about drip-potential in an aerial abortion-goo-cube hanging from a classroom ceiling?
  • Why did they time this to coincide with pre-frosh stuff?
 
Pictures. Please. Send to us. Now.
UPDATE: Perhaps the aborto-art is a sequel to this memoir about Aliza’s first period.
  • Reason

    Why are people – pro-choice people, at that – horrified? If abortion is a right, then it is a right that should be exercised by anyone. What argument can you stand on if, as your own principles maintain, no one has a voice in the matter but the woman herself?

    Terrible? Only a beast would say exercising a right, a Constitutional right no less, should be called terrible. How dare you say her actions should be prohibited. Everything Ms. Shvarts has done is perfectly legal. If she wants to make her womb Sheol, it is her right. This is her body. It is her choice. She needs no reason. She is old enough to need no permission. And in the end, all she has done is create art out of her children, as so many parents do.

  • Reason

    Why are people – pro-choice people, at that – horrified? If abortion is a right, then it is a right that should be exercised by anyone. What argument can you stand on if, as your own principles maintain, no one has a voice in the matter but the woman herself?

    Terrible? Only a beast would say exercising a right, a Constitutional right no less, should be called terrible. How dare you say her actions should be prohibited. Everything Ms. Shvarts has done is perfectly legal. If she wants to make her womb Sheol, it is her right. This is her body. It is her choice. She needs no reason. She is old enough to need no permission. And in the end, all she has done is create art out of her children, as so many parents do.

  • Reason

    Why are people – pro-choice people, at that – horrified? If abortion is a right, then it is a right that should be exercised by anyone. What argument can you stand on if, as your own principles maintain, no one has a voice in the matter but the woman herself?

    Terrible? Only a beast would say exercising a right, a Constitutional right no less, should be called terrible. How dare you say her actions should be prohibited. Everything Ms. Shvarts has done is perfectly legal. If she wants to make her womb Sheol, it is her right. This is her body. It is her choice. She needs no reason. She is old enough to need no permission. And in the end, all she has done is create art out of her children, as so many parents do.

  • cdcspy

    So… when are you going to post some pictures of this Aliza chick?

  • cdcspy

    So… when are you going to post some pictures of this Aliza chick?

  • cdcspy

    So… when are you going to post some pictures of this Aliza chick?

  • Logic

    Reason, you’re batshit crazy.

  • Logic

    Reason, you’re batshit crazy.

  • Logic

    Reason, you’re batshit crazy.

  • @y11

    i wasn’t being sarcastic. i really do think this is an amazing piece (then again, i am convinced that there’s no way it was actually carried out the way it was described). but maybe i’m just a weirdo or a freak…

  • @y11

    i wasn’t being sarcastic. i really do think this is an amazing piece (then again, i am convinced that there’s no way it was actually carried out the way it was described). but maybe i’m just a weirdo or a freak…

  • @y11

    i wasn’t being sarcastic. i really do think this is an amazing piece (then again, i am convinced that there’s no way it was actually carried out the way it was described). but maybe i’m just a weirdo or a freak…

  • Aliza’s picture
  • Aliza’s picture
  • Aliza’s picture
  • oxford

    I’d like to preface my post by saying that I believe in academic freedom and the right to expression. However:

    I can’t believe YALE let this go on for NINE MONTHS.

    I can’t believe Yale would approve this ‘thesis’ let alone host its display.

    Those at Yale – particularly in its art department and those who associate with Aliza – should be ashamed and embarrassed.

    The only “dialogue” that Aliza is sparking is one regarding her own recklessness – not her art.

  • oxford

    I’d like to preface my post by saying that I believe in academic freedom and the right to expression. However:

    I can’t believe YALE let this go on for NINE MONTHS.

    I can’t believe Yale would approve this ‘thesis’ let alone host its display.

    Those at Yale – particularly in its art department and those who associate with Aliza – should be ashamed and embarrassed.

    The only “dialogue” that Aliza is sparking is one regarding her own recklessness – not her art.

  • dieselboy

    funny i wouldnt think you could get pregnant enough in 9 months to make any sort of decent project out of it.
    also wouldnt miscarrying in the first month only yield like a microscopic lump of cells if anything not absorbed back into the body?

  • @Bollinger, Reason

    “The only reason it’s attracting attention is because Yale’s name is attached to it.”

    I think this is because people would have expected someone with a little foresight to intervene.

    @”Reason”
    You can extend that same freedom to allow yourself to run head first into a brickwall; that’s not the point. The question is, what kind of person would do that to herself?

  • dieselboy

    funny i wouldnt think you could get pregnant enough in 9 months to make any sort of decent project out of it.
    also wouldnt miscarrying in the first month only yield like a microscopic lump of cells if anything not absorbed back into the body?

  • @Bollinger, Reason

    “The only reason it’s attracting attention is because Yale’s name is attached to it.”

    I think this is because people would have expected someone with a little foresight to intervene.

    @”Reason”
    You can extend that same freedom to allow yourself to run head first into a brickwall; that’s not the point. The question is, what kind of person would do that to herself?

  • @Reason

    As a person who is generally pro-choice, I’m alarmed because pro-choice DOES NOT EQUAL pro-abortion. I’m for a woman’s right to exercise control over her own body to the extent that it is ethical. Using abortion as a form of birth control is not ethical; purposefully creating and then killing life is not ethical either. It’s one thing to abort a baby you didn’t mean to have and can’t support; it’s another to inseminate yourself so you can have an abortion.

  • @Reason

    As a person who is generally pro-choice, I’m alarmed because pro-choice DOES NOT EQUAL pro-abortion. I’m for a woman’s right to exercise control over her own body to the extent that it is ethical. Using abortion as a form of birth control is not ethical; purposefully creating and then killing life is not ethical either. It’s one thing to abort a baby you didn’t mean to have and can’t support; it’s another to inseminate yourself so you can have an abortion.

  • bitter ivy leaguer

    and Yale rejected ME over this crazy chick?
    i’m starting to be glad to be as far away from this psychotic, self-important dilettante as much as possible. i can’t believe that someone could call abuse of one’s body and one’s constitutional rights “art.” what a joke.

  • bitter ivy leaguer

    and Yale rejected ME over this crazy chick?
    i’m starting to be glad to be as far away from this psychotic, self-important dilettante as much as possible. i can’t believe that someone could call abuse of one’s body and one’s constitutional rights “art.” what a joke.

  • ///////

    EMO ART

  • ///////

    EMO ART

  • foolish

    This girl is a fool. Even if she did no damage to her health and graduates and her adviser escapes reprimand, she has made her career as an artist so much harder. Any grants she applies for will run the risk of reigniting publicity about this and, thus, getting denied funding. Anybody receiving government fund won’t touch her with a ten-foot pole lest they get their own funding cut. What a dipshit. But she will serve a purpose: she will be an example of what NOT to do as a beginning artist.

  • foolish

    This girl is a fool. Even if she did no damage to her health and graduates and her adviser escapes reprimand, she has made her career as an artist so much harder. Any grants she applies for will run the risk of reigniting publicity about this and, thus, getting denied funding. Anybody receiving government fund won’t touch her with a ten-foot pole lest they get their own funding cut. What a dipshit. But she will serve a purpose: she will be an example of what NOT to do as a beginning artist.

  • Dart Alum

    I would’ve expected something this batshit crazy to come out of Brown, not Yale…

    Also, Fark.com has picked up the story. Even the most pro-choice people over there think she’s fucked in the head.

  • Dart Alum

    I would’ve expected something this batshit crazy to come out of Brown, not Yale…

    Also, Fark.com has picked up the story. Even the most pro-choice people over there think she’s fucked in the head.

  • wtheckie

    she’s not even cute. what a letdown.

  • wtheckie

    she’s not even cute. what a letdown.

  • yale09

    apparently, it’s all fake? The Yale President’s office is releasing a statement about it being fake. There was some speculation that it might have been performance art–telling people she had done it without having actually done it. But all my classes have talked about today is how insane the whole thing is, whether real or not.

  • yale09

    apparently, it’s all fake? The Yale President’s office is releasing a statement about it being fake. There was some speculation that it might have been performance art–telling people she had done it without having actually done it. But all my classes have talked about today is how insane the whole thing is, whether real or not.

  • don’t matter

    whether or not she actually tried to impregnate herself or just said that she tried to impregnate herself is not the point.

    either way it’s just rabble rousing nonsense.

  • don’t matter

    whether or not she actually tried to impregnate herself or just said that she tried to impregnate herself is not the point.

    either way it’s just rabble rousing nonsense.

  • littlegreenbulldog

    From http://www.yale.edu/opa:

    Statement by Helaine S. Klasky — Yale University, Spokesperson

    New Haven, Conn. — April 17, 2008

    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.

  • littlegreenbulldog

    From http://www.yale.edu/opa:

    Statement by Helaine S. Klasky — Yale University, Spokesperson

    New Haven, Conn. — April 17, 2008

    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.

  • Bollinger

    What a self-righteous cunt

  • Bollinger

    What a self-righteous cunt

  • anon

    bollinger, go to hell.

  • anon

    bollinger, go to hell.

  • b

    i lied to people for 14 hours and got a yale degree out of it. awesome senior project, what a stupid bitch.

  • b

    i lied to people for 14 hours and got a yale degree out of it. awesome senior project, what a stupid bitch.

  • doesn’t matter

    good job yale. she ‘has the right to express herself through performance art.’ donors have a right not to support such nonsense. employers have a right not to hire her. real acts or not, she predictably got many people very upset. is this really her free speech or is she trying to cause trouble? incitement is not necessarily protected speech.

    forget prefrosh visiting. her timing with respect to congress is impeccable. congress is asking why universities should be tax exempt when their endowments grow so large. a stunt like this will not make friends in dc. should some congressmen take this as proof that yale is the antichrist and must be stopped… that would be very painful.

  • doesn’t matter

    good job yale. she ‘has the right to express herself through performance art.’ donors have a right not to support such nonsense. employers have a right not to hire her. real acts or not, she predictably got many people very upset. is this really her free speech or is she trying to cause trouble? incitement is not necessarily protected speech.

    forget prefrosh visiting. her timing with respect to congress is impeccable. congress is asking why universities should be tax exempt when their endowments grow so large. a stunt like this will not make friends in dc. should some congressmen take this as proof that yale is the antichrist and must be stopped… that would be very painful.

  • dig

    senioritis meets a strict deadline. her sculpture wasn’t ready yet, answer: “performance art.” i wish i were an art major. i could’ve shit in a bag instead of writing a thesis.

  • dig

    senioritis meets a strict deadline. her sculpture wasn’t ready yet, answer: “performance art.” i wish i were an art major. i could’ve shit in a bag instead of writing a thesis.

  • Ugly Mental Yale Kids

    @wtheckie: Of course she’s not attractive. Would anyone good-looking be in such dire need of attention?

    As an aside: WHAT is the major malfunction with Yale lately? Do they grow mental cases in New Haven or just recruit them?