Click Me: This is What’s Wrong with Student Wikis

Welcome to our “Click Me” series! Over the next few weeks, IvyGate will be launching several recurring features on a variety of topics. (If you’ve got an idea for a running feature or would like to write one, hit us up.) The “Click Me” posts will spotlight egregiously ill-conceived and/or ridiculous Ivy League websites…starting right now.

We have great respect for any scholarly adult that knows what a wiki is. Hell, we have great respect for any scholarly adult who knows how to turn on a computer and plug it into the wall without having a neural aneurysm. But there’s a big difference between “knowing what” and “knowing how,” and in case you can’t guess it, the Yale School of Art’s website is a really, really big clue.

By which we mean, it’s kind of a clusterfuck. Behold the home page:

FYI, those little blobby pink-and-green nipple things move constantly up and down. And it gets trippier from there. More screen caps after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dartmouth Student Puts Skills to Good Use

Drinking beer was practically an art form at Dartmouth already, but props to art studio intern Max Heiges for taking it to the next level.

The Dartmouth alum has built a towering, precariously balanced sculpture made out of beer cans and chairs in Dartmouth’s Barrows Rotunda. He’s calling it “The Juggler,” although every frat boy on campus would probably recognize it as “Last Friday at Around 2am.”

Said Heiges in an interview with The Dartmouth:

I thought the precarious balance would catch people’s attention, and the cans provided a sound structural element to the piece,” Heiges said. “And I like beer. I like Keystone.”

Gamma Delta Chi generously supplied the cans. God bless fraternities and their philanthropic contributions to the field of conceptual art.

If all goes well, Heiges could set an interesting precedent here. Just imagine: it’s 5am, and you’re sitting on your smelly futon, surrounded by empty beer cans and watching a rerun of Everybody Loves Raymond. (Does anyone actually love Raymond?) Now imagine your fifty empty cans of Natty Light have been repurposed as an abstract art version of the Parthenon/the Grand Canyon/the spaceship from Independence Day/John McCain’s bald spot. Is there any better incentive to clean up your shit?

Meanwhile, Heiges, who unsurprisingly didn’t respond to requests for comment, gave this interpretation of his balancing act:

After a pause, Heighes added that there was one message to his work.

“Nobody rages anymore,” he said.

You can always count on a Dartmouth student to get philosophical about raging. Let’s hope that stacking beer cans will remind us what we love about getting fall-down drunk. At the very least, it’ll remind us what we love about Jenga.

Update: Heiges graciously provided us photographic evidence documenting his labor of love. Behold:

Yale DKE Brothers Scream Primally; Art Ensues

It’s no secret that many frat parties are privy to bullish meatheads, jostling and yelling at one other in a desperate attempt to earn masculinity points; it just never occurred to me that you could make artwork out of it. (After all, Yale and art have a rather tenuous relationship.) I guess that’s why I’m not a creative genius, like artist and filmmaker Richard Mosse, who has given us the ingeniously simple “Fraternity.” In the short film, he challenges a group of brothers at Yale’s oldest and meatiest jock fraternity, DKE, to scream at the camera, as loudly and for as long as possible; winner gets bragging rights. The big boys heartily oblige. And why not? As Mosse explains:

The men were happy to participate in the project in exchange for a keg of beer.

The rules:

They compete against each other to shout or scream the loudest and for the longest time. When they cannot scream any longer they must stop, and cannot begin again.

The piece, beautifully shot, starts off hilarious, then enters the sublime, and finally, vaguely disturbs. This shit is primal. The triumphant, longest lasting bro screams as if giving birth, his face turning beet-red, and sweat (tears?) beading down his cheeks. Snuff-film associations abound, as well as a discomfiting sense of visual assault. Most worrying of all? Mosse hits the nail on the head:

DKE (pronounced Deke) stands for Delta Kappa Epsilon, and counts five US presidents in its alumni, including George Bush Jr, George Bush Sr, Gerald Ford and Theodore Roosevelt. Other famous Dekes include three Justices of the US Supreme Court, one Vice President, and countless State Governors, Senators and Speakers.

In short, this is something that every Ivy Leaguer should see, not just for its visceral minimalism and artistic oomph, but also to spur an intense appreciation for every single one of your IQ points.

(N.B.: I definitely called the winner from the get-go. Can you?)

(h/t Pablo Torre)

Go Ask Aliza: Shvarts-Embryo-Art Describes Her First

picture-5Good news! Aliza Shvarts—the Yalie who staged a hostile takeover of the 24-hour news cycle last spring with nothing but a turkey baster, a jar of vaseline, and her fertile loins—is back, in the most ironic role possible: Educating little girls on reproductive health.

That’s right, Yale’s most notorious artist is a featured contributor in My Little Red Book, an anthology of first period stories edited by fellow Eli Rachel Kauder Nalebuff. Blurbed by Gloria Steinem, My Little Red Book is a strangely high-profile affair featuring the likes of Erica Jong and Gossip Girl originator Cecily von Ziegesar. Luckily, even the heftiest of literary minds is rendered totally preposterous in the face of adolescent menstruation and associated awkwardness, so this will be a fun post, after all. For a frighteningly weird peek into reproductive lives of Shvarts-Period-Art, Jong, and von Ziegesar (featuring phrases like “blood and poop and pee” and “clean white crotch of another girl”) read on!

Read the rest of this entry »

Prodigygate Part III: In Which Osberg Actually Files a Lawsuit

When child art prodigy Annabel Osberg told the television last week that she was going to take Yale to court for kicking her out of its MFA program, few believed her. Hopefully, this will be the last time anyone underestimates the young painting whiz, who has found a lawyer and politely informed everyone that she is quite serious about this whole suing thing.

In the recently filed lawsuit, a copy of which has been provided by her lawyer here, Osberg reveals a few details of how she got the boot, but nothing yet that offers an explanation to this mystery.

On or about July 7, 2008, the defendant locked the plaintiff out of the studio she was renting from the defendant and thereafter locked her out of the residence she was renting from the defendant … As a result, the plaintiff has suffered ascertainable economic losses and emotional distress.

Rough, but last I heard, schools don’t usually make a habit of locking students out of their rooms just to be a bitch. Osberg wants $15,000 (about 0.00006% of Yale’s endowment) and to be re-admitted into the program, but that looks doubtful. Any Yale MFAs still reading IvyGate these days? Send us the full version of this story.

Lost Tenenbaum Child Shown the Door at Yale

In a story sure to provoke equal parts sympathy and schadenfreude among the Wes Anderson loving, art-school rejected smart set, the New Haven Register is reporting that Annabel Osberg, a 19 year old painting prodigy, has been dismissed from Yale’s prestigious graduate program in art.

Osberg, who has the looks and skill set of Margot and Richie Tenenbaum’s (adopted!) incestuous love affair, graduated from California State University at San Bernadino at age 18 and spent a year in the Yale MFA program before being dropped for an apparent lack of maturity. Apparently, someone realized that the TEENAGER in the YALE GRADUATE PROGRAM was immature only AFTER collecting her $52,000 for the year. They do say money changes people.

Osberg sounds surprised that the teachers and administrators at Yale are unfeeling bastards:

“In my previous educational experience, the teachers (at Cal State) were very helpful and I expected it to be that way at Yale. In reality, their actions indicated that they are not concerned about their students, only about their own reputation,” Osberg said.

She said two top Yale administrators, meeting with her in April, “indicated that they believed that I was too young to receive an MFA. Several times, they emphasized the fact that I would only be 20 when receiving my terminal degree and challenged me to think about what I would do with a terminal degree at such a young age.

So: unfairly wronged or just not ready for primetime? A sampling of the precocious artist’s work after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Aliza Shvarts as Bad as the Taliban, PR-wise

Aliza Shvarts as Bad as the Taliban, PR-wiseYalies: If you would like to commit a grievous crime, now is the time, as you are almost guaranteed to fly under the radar, because we are all way too busy discussing Aliza Shvarts-Embryo-Art’s menstrual cycle and senior project.

Yale’s administration is now threatening to ban the aborto-agitator’s project if she doesn’t ‘fess up to making it up. YDN explains,

The University will not allow Aliza Shvarts ’08 to display her controversial senior art project at its scheduled opening Tuesday unless she confesses in writing that the exhibition is a work of fiction, Yale officials said Sunday. …  “I am appalled,” Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said in a statement Friday. “This piece of performance art as reported in the press bears no relation to what I consider appropriate for an undergraduate senior project.”

School of Art Dean Robert Storr also condemned the project in a written statement Friday.

“If I had known about this, I would not have permitted it to go forward,” Storr said in the statement. “This is not an acceptable project in a community where the consequences go beyond the individual who initiates the project and may even endanger that individual.”

Storr accuses Aliza of “avoiding intellectual accountability” for screaming ABORTION! in a crowded theater. Another administrator said the Shvarts-induced PR disaster is as bad as the time they admitted an ex-Taliban leader as a student.

Now that everyone’s favorite kinda-slutty-for-needleless-syringes Yalie commands about 50% of YDN, plus headlines in every newssource this side of the Milky Way, there’s much to read. After the jump, a highlights guide to the latest, including info on Shvarts’ much-maligned adviser.

Also, may I please call attention to the fact that, in the above image, Aliza is standing on not one but two soapboxes? Girlfriend literally needs double the platform to get her message out.

Read the rest of this entry »

“Ceci N’est Pas Aborted Baby Matter”

Ceci N'est Pas Aborted Baby MatterIt’s real! It’s fake! It’s real! It’s- oh, hell. In the matter of Aliza Shvarts’ reproductive organs and senior art project, who can even keep track? In a new interview with the Yale Daily News, Shvarts disputes Yale’s designation of her abortion-goo-cube and menstrual-snuff-films as “creative fiction,” and admits that even she isn’t sure what happened:

Shvarts stood by her project, calling the University’s statement “ultimately inaccurate.” …Shvarts reiterated Thursday that she repeatedly use a needleless syringe to insert semen into herself. At the end of her menstrual cycle, she took abortifacient herbs to induce bleeding, she said. She said she does not know whether or not she was ever pregnant.

“No one can say with 100-percent certainty that anything in the piece did or did not happen,” Shvarts said, “because the nature of the piece is that it did not consist of certainties.”

What is reality, anyway? What is truth? We have here the story of one mildly deranged art student who somehow took an entire 24-hour newscycle hostage. We have many questions but not a single sufficient answer. For instance: How supernaturally powerful must this girl’s uterus be, if we are to believe it withstood nine maybe-pregnancies followed by nine abortions in just as many months? Aliza Shvarts, we dub thee “Wonder Walls.”

More urgently: What poor, abused YDN staffer was forced to witness this?

This afternoon, Shvarts showed the News footage from tapes she plans to play at the exhibit. The tapes depict Shvarts – sometimes naked, sometimes clothed – alone in a shower stall bleeding into a cup.

It’s like some terrible staring contest, and I’m pretty sure someone blinked, I just don’t know if it was her or us.

Aborto-Artist Was Faking; No Fetuses Were Hurt In the Making of This Senior Project

Aborto-Artist Was Faking; No Fetuses Were Hurt In the Making of This Senior ProjectAs the frenzy surrounding Aliza Shvarts’ abortion-goo finger-painting scandal escalated, some cried “bullshit“: “Herbal” abortion? Artificial insemination? Nine straight months of crampsing and hormonal fluctuation? Personally, I figured she was just really talented; it is Yale, after all. Not so, says Yale’s Office of Public Affairs in a public announcement:

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.

Google-bombing yourself into horrific baby-killing infamy, however, raises not a single red flag. Basically, Aliza’s senior thesis was to create the biggest PR disaster possible for her alma mater. Some will say this is attention-seeking malice; I say, it’s a clever way to guarantee passing grade. At this point, Yale will probably do anything to make sure Aliza graduates on time and gets the hell off their campus and out of their hair.

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.

Read the rest of this entry »