April 17, 2008

Abortion as art — possibly a hoax, I think.

Maybe the real artwork is the outrage this purported activity will undoubtedly provoke:
[Yale art major Aliza] 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 "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.
So is there any proof at all that these were really abortions? Blood is easy enough to come by.
"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."
Okay, jump through the hoop she's holding up for you. Get outraged.

ADDED: Yuval Levin at the Corner also thinks it's a hoax. (Via Instapundit.) I assure you I read that after I posted here, so maybe this is so obviously hoaxy that we're chumps to give the young woman all this attention.

MORE: Hoax admitted.

67 comments:

Quayle said...

Not outraged.

Bad art tells you what to think. Great art takes flight from the artist and is never controlled by the artist again.

This sounds like great art. The message and communication is now independent of and uncontrollable by the artist.

I can speak for the strong feeling just the discussion produces in me - and it isn't one of light and joy. I suspect everyone else can feel it also.

George said...

Speaking of hoaxes, I watched the CBS interviews with the guy who claimed to have agented the sale of the Marilyn porno flick. Suspicious. He claimed that the FBI years ago had reviewed the movie frame-by-frame trying to figure out if the man in it was JFK or RFK. A 15-minute movie and you can't see the man's face? A movie star makes a X-rated film? Why? Was it made by someone trying to blackmail her/the Kennedys? Why would she have made the movie? And the buyer has promised never to exhibit the film? Hah.

Best of all, CBS flashed images of FOIA documents that he claimed to have received from the FBI. Hmm. Wonder if they are real.

Hard to believe.

Simon said...

Why would we be outraged? After all, why should art made from the effluvia of abortions be any more morally loaded than art made from the effluvia of a pap smear? It could be a hoax, but what's tragic is that in a world where there are people who think like Amanda Marcotte, it is far too optimistic to conclude that it must be merely because it is so appalling to all civilized persons.

Kirby Olson said...

I feel sorry for all the young women that feminism has cornered into dumb thinking, or even thinking that this is thinking. I mean, what is she thinking? What a dope. Minor roll of the eyes on my part. Quite predictable. Next!

Windbag said...

Why doesn't she just get a job as a stripper, like any normal exhibitionist?

Jeremy said...

Meh. Maybe the meta art project is actually the outrage itself. For her grad thesis she'll document the ironic disinterest in the choreographed outrage over a manufactured fake publicity stunt. It's gonna blow ... your mind!

Bob said...

Warner Todd Huston at Newsbusters thinks it's a hoax, also, and goes into detail as to why.

rcocean said...

May the Schvartz be with you.

Trooper York said...

Hey they were too busy viewing the film where Clyde Tolson was fleching J Edgar Hoover.

The most expenisve payment for number one celebrity porno movie still remains the one where Marlon Brando is sucking Wally Cox's cock.

Say that ten time fast why don't ya.

Just at the end say:
Not that theres anything wrong with that.

Trooper York said...

Plus I think there is a woodchuck in there somewhere, but I forget how the saying goes.

dbp said...

What is an "artist" to do if she can't draw, paint, sculpt or take a good picture?

Outrage the squares man! That's art.

john said...

Wally Cox
Walley's cox

I always suspected there was something strange about that guy.

Remeber the "My first time" site where 2 kids were going to film and post their loss of virginity on the intenet? Lots of breathless commentary about that hoax too.

john said...

"dbp said...
What is an "artist" to do if she can't draw, paint, sculpt or take a good picture?"

Used to be she would screw her teacher for a passing grade. Now she can screw all the guys in her class for the grade.

rhhardin said...

It's conceptual art.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Call me sceptical, but just how many times can you actually get pregnant in a 9 month period, when you are only ovulating 9 times or less? In addition an abortifacient doesn't necessarily actually abort a fertilized egg. Everytime you use artificial insemination or natural inseminiation (my preference) there is no guarantee of a fertilized egg.

I'm not outraged. More along the lines of pity for someone who is A.)so stupid that they don't understand basic biology
B.) so needy of attention that she has to pull such a stunt and especially
C.) sorry that she has no other artistic talents. Seems like she (or more likely her parents)has spent quite a lot of money on a wasted education.

rhhardin said...

It's conceptual art.

Take that seriously. It actually is as a genre (directions laid out for performance which itself is a perfunctory following of the directions), and in addition makes a pun on conceiving.

That would be enough for a student.

If you want a motive.

The Drill SGT said...

Beyond questioning the "artist" judgement.

Where were the adults: e.g The senior Project Advisor and the Art Dept Chairman. ?

Hoax or reality: I'd fail the student and fire the advisor. The charge?

Gross lack of Judgement sounds like a fair description

Clyde said...

If the dateline was April 1st instead of April 17th, I'd be more inclined to think "hoax."

Given that we live in a world in which a crucifix in a jar of urine is considered "art," I can't see why Ms. Shvarts' project sounds like something that nobody would actually do.

P. Rich said...

When someone once said that a measure of art is the emotion it stirs in the viewer (or listener), I doubt they had in mind feelings of disgust. Many modern artists, art teachers and art critics apparently beg to differ.

MadisonMan said...

I wonder how a great painter would fare at the Yale Art School.

I am also skeptical re: How many times can you get pregnant in 9 months? And I do think this made her popular with her male Art School friends.

This doesn't really disgust me. More like roll my eyes and think You're trying and failing to provoke me.

blake said...

Why doesn't she just get a job as a stripper, like any normal exhibitionist?

First, she's not good-looking enough, probably can't dance well enough, and would be ignored in favor of the pros.

Second, it wouldn't generate anywhere near this level of attention.

Third, stripping is hard.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

If it's proven to be a hoax, does she still get a grade? I suppose she would if the teacher knew from the onset that it was a hoax. The more people she pisses off, the better the grade?

None of this grosses me out though, even if it is real. Women use abortion as birth control everyday and it's a ridiculous fact of life.

The only unfortunate thing is that she didn't accidentally overdose on her miscarriage drugs and abort herself. I hate contrived college art students.

Roger J. said...

Drill Sgt: of even more concern, where are the public health people to monitor the whole bodily fluids thing. These people are flat, f**king nuts.

bearbee said...

Graphic images
Aliza Shvarts stole my work!!!

jeff said...

I'd still like to see them toss this "art" project, not on any moral grounds, but on health safety ones....

The Senator said...

I'm with the Drill Sgt.

Hoax or not, this project shouldn't have been approved by a faculty member. Something like this, which could be physically damaging, shouldn't be allowed for a class project. It opens up the school for a whole mess of law suits if something happens to the student involved and reinforces the idea that the University is disconnected from the students and only view them as a "number," an idea that is especially popular at my University...

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Well, it only took a couple hours for this You Tube clip of her to surface:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmD-wLdCgVw

PatCA said...

Poor little sick girl.

Apparently her relationship with her mother was somewhat troubled (follow the links).

It seems to me Yale is self-selecting downward (the Taliban, this woman's sick advisor) and is losing credibility fast.

Drooch77 said...

"This sounds like great art. The message and communication is now independent of and uncontrollable by the artist."

I don't think this is a criterion for art. Any sort of communication can either be independent of or controlled by the communicator.

"...someone once said that a measure of art is the emotion it stirs in the viewer (or listener)"

If this were a criterion for art, the Virginia Tech killer would be America's greatest artist.

I haven't seen the piece in question, but it doesn't strike me as something that rises to the level of art. It's provocative for sure, perhaps it makes a statement of some kind, but those things do not in themselves make anything artistic.

Dogwood said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmD-wLdCgVw

So, that's what art looks like in the Ivy League huh? Color me unimpressed.

Pogo said...

A friend of mine teaches at an art school that is no longer highly regarded because they still teach actual skills, like watercolor and oil painting.

He says that there has been a rift between the "craft" people, those lowly types who actually make something and the high concept artistes. He calls this latter group the "handwavers", which includes sad performance artists like the bonehead in question here.

As noted by William Bonner in Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets,, the modern "rebel-iconoclast artist" thing is just a schtick meant for cash and fame.
"We marvel at the elegant symmetry of it all: Things with no value are bought by people with no sense. Money flows from weaker hands to stronger ones. Make-believe art flows from scalawags and hustlers to dimwits and social climbers ...and life goes on." (p.35)

The Drill SGT said...

As an aside, the basic Yale story was written from a favorable slant.

She didn't have miscarriages, which are natural and unplanned terminations. This art project featured planned abortions, FWIW

Laika's Last Woof said...

"I don't care if people are outraged, as long as they're having a conversation about ME, tee hee!"

Sigh. She's a troll in the tradition of "Don't Taze Me, Bro!"

3rd Way said...

Say what ever you want about her but she is no dummy.

This stunt probably just guaranteed her a prominent gallery show and the nice payday that can accompany it.

Freeman Hunt said...

Say you're an art teacher, and this is someone's senior project; wouldn't you fail the person? Doesn't the selection of this as a project indicate a lack of artistic skill?

Hoax or not, what an ethically dead woman.

JohnAnnArbor said...

A friend of mine teaches at an art school that is no longer highly regarded because they still teach actual skills, like watercolor and oil painting.

Make you wonder what unknown talent, sneered at by the present crowd, will be lauded in future centuries as a crowning achievement of early 21st-century art.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

More broadly speaking, something valuable was lost -- or jettisoned -- when a certain class of intellectual decided amongst themselves that "art" should "challenge" people rather than inspire and uplift them.

As a consequence, 20th Century "art" became a nearly unbroken stream of dreary "avant-garde" effluvia. Centuries from now the melodic, or the beautiful, or the inspiring works from the last hundred years or so will be celebrated as the few bright spots in a very sick century.

Hoax or not, it was intended to "challenge," and is therefore utterly worthless. That aside, its perpetrator is in obvious need of serious professional assistance.

vnjagvet said...

It is not a hoax, but it is not real either. I just copied this from a Yale website linked by a Newsbusters commenter:

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.

vnjagvet said...

The quoted statement was attributed to:

Helaine S. Klasky — Yale University, Spokesperson

Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Althouse, et al.
RE: I Hope to God...

....that it's a hoax.

And, after the missive I just sent to the BlogVader, I suspect he's hoping the same.

Glenn Reynolds has been a proponent of abortion for quite some time. As have a number of other so-called 'liberal' people I've encountered over the last 40 years.

The point here is that if a woman can do with her body as she wishes....vis-a-vis some ruling by the Supremes over 30 years ago....what 'right' do we have to complain about this?

After all....

....if you REALLY BELIEVE this trash.....

....it's HER BODY!

If you don't like what she does with her body....shut the flock up!

You have no RIGHT to disagree with her CHOICE!

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Are we getting a 'clue' here?

The Drill SGT said...

can some feminist or artist (Ann?)translate this:

creative fiction designed to draw attention to the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman’s body.


again; Yale now is getting Clintonist in its parsing of words:

induce any miscarriages

what she claimed to have induced were abortions. To say otherwise is to inflict additional hurt on women that have experienced miscarriages.

LordSomber said...

Outrage the squares man! That's art.

“Épater le Bourgeois” est bourgeois.

mrs whatsit said...

Drill Sgt said: Where were the adults: e.g The senior Project Advisor and the Art Dept Chairman?

The chances are good that they are not actual adults. Very likely, they were the ones who taught her to believe that art is that which shocks and provokes, and nothing more. That's been the prevailing view in the visual arts for quite some time now. As a fine arts major who loved to draw, I was told in no uncertain terms that the art I loved to make was "just illustration" because it was too representational, and that if I wasn't shocking somebody, I wasn't making art. That was more years ago than I want to admit, but it doesn't appear that much has changed.

It appears from vnjagvet's comment that the student made the whole thing up as "performance art." Perhaps she believes that she was drawing attention to the "ambiguity surrounding the form and function of a woman's body," or whatever that babble was. But in fact, her stunt drew attention to nothing more than the poverty of today's fine arts -- and of herself.

ricpic said...

Sorry Schvartz, we're all epatayed out. But you might try developing the skill at representation that would make it possible for you to actually produce something visually beautiful or stirring. Now wouldn't that be revolutionary!

Revenant said...

The point here is that if a woman can do with her body as she wishes....vis-a-vis some ruling by the Supremes over 30 years ago....what 'right' do we have to complain about this?

The right to freedom of speech, protected by the First Amendment.

Any other silly questions?

PoliShifter said...

When I read this article I just didn't get it. I still don't get it. I sure hope it's a hoax.

I just don't think it's art.

I guess this is what it takes to get attention these days.

Sorry, I just don't get it...I guess I am getting old.

Chuck Pelto said...

TO: ripic
RE: Okay....

"The right to freedom of speech, protected by the First Amendment.

Any other silly questions?" -- ripic

...please explain the Dredd-Scott Decision; that Blacks are not REALLY human beings.

Regards,

Chuck(le)

vnjagvet said...

Not that there would be anything wrong with that, right, Ricpic?

Chuck Pelto said...

TO: ripic and Revenant
RE: My Apologies

I did not mean to mis-represent ripic as posting comments made by Revenant.

Sincerely,

Chuck(le)
[The only Guy I know who was 'perfect', got nailed to a cross for it.]

MC said...

I suspected it was a hoax. She's actually performed a brilliant work of satire in the tradition of Swift's modest proposal, although I doubt that was her intention given the crap she said about "draw[ing] attention to the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman’s body".

Unintentional self satire would be even richer in comedy, though.

Revenant said...

...please explain the Dredd-Scott Decision; that Blacks are not REALLY human beings.

No, I don't think I'll bother. But the Wikipedia page here is informative, if you care to read it.

Simon said...

MC said...
"I suspected it was a hoax. She's actually performed a brilliant work of satire in the tradition of Swift's modest proposal...."

More like performing the sort of act that a civilized country would deal with by pistols at dawn.

Windbag said...

I just finished Madeleine L'Engle's book Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. In her book, she has a chapter entitled "Cosmos out of Chaos" (or something close to that). She argues against what passes as art today.

In her (accurate) estimation, the artist's task is to create a cosmos--something tangible that the reader/listener/viewer can relate to--from the chaos that comprises life. Too often, contemporary artists simply replicate the chaos of the universe and peddle it as art.

Freeman Hunt said...

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

Glad that Yale at least recognized this.

Joseph Hovsep said...

its performance art (aka a hoax). the artist is my housemate's girlfriend

Trooper York said...

Dude, I hope you safeguarded your sperm!

vnjagvet said...

Troop:

I would hate to see it in one of her "paintings".

In view of Ann's categorization that the post's subject includes "bodily fluids", we cannot ignore all of the possiblities, can we?

Chip Ahoy said...

One of my dogs had a fascination for such things. One day I had woman visitor excuse herself to the bathroom. A few minutes later my dog came prancing in carrying a Kotex™ in her mouth as if she discovered an irresistible treasure. How embarrassing for everyone ... except the dog who was confused why I keep taking away her best smelly things. That's the thing about dogs, they can be kinda gross.

Sir Archy said...

To Professor Althouse.

Madam,

If we consider the Works of Nature and Art, as they incite the Imagination, we shall find the Last defective, in Comparison of the Former.  A Wag once said, however, that, "We find the Works of Nature still more pleasant, the more they resemble those of Art."  So 'tis that we often have Art & Nature tangl'd & intermixt; and such Pleasures and Sensations as we receive, are more due to the Imagination excited by this Admixture, than to the pure Skill of an Artist who would colour a Canvas.

From whatever Source they may arise, the Pleasures of the Imagination will be stimulated by what is Great, Uncommon, or Beautiful.  There may, indeed, be something so terrible or offensive, that the Horror or Loathsomeness of an Object may over-bear the Pleasure which results from its Greatness, Novelty, or Beauly; but still there will be such a Mixture of Delight in the very Disgust it gives us, as any of these three Qualifications are most conspicuous and prevailing.

That Mrs. Shvarts' Project, whether real or feigned, remains Terrible, Offensive, Loathsome, and Disguisting cannot be denied.  While others may discover it, I have search'd in vain for any Delight in the Disgust I feel; altho' as the Ghost of a Gentleman dead these 250 Years and more, I admit that my Sentiments may not be those of this Age.  If we are to find any Joy in the Artist's Satirick Bent, it is hard for this Ghost, at least, to discover.

Mrs. Shvarts has supposedly mingled Nature with Art; but the Nature pretends to be the horrible Effluvia of Human Conception, and the Art has none of the mention'd Qualities to recommend itself, and, indeed, is not Art at all, as I may understand it.  As it has fall'n out, the Art may not be in the odd & hideous Object, but in the supposed Satire upon the Publick by way of the very Loathsomeness of the Conceit.

If Mrs. Shvarts would entertain the Publick after this manner, I should have her do Something less disgusting.  She may introduce a new Word, as the Dublin theatre owner was said to have done in the Year 1791, by giving Us "Quiz."  Urchins were dispatch'd to chalk it all over the City by Night, and the next Morning 'twas on everyone's Lips, or so we are told.

Mrs. Shvarts should give us Art by a similar Performance, and introduce a new Word for the Artist who is at once without Talent & Morals, and a Frisky Ignoramus in the Bargain.

Sensible of the Hellish State of Art in this Age, and of the Difficulties of anyone who would play the Art Critick,

I remain, Madam,

Your humble & obt. Servant

Sir Archy

Daryl said...

its performance art (aka a hoax). the artist is my housemate's girlfriend

She's trying to keep the hoax alive, by claiming that she really did inject herself with sperm, she just had no way of knowing whether she ever got pregnant or not. So maybe she did have an abortion, maybe not.

It would be more believable if she said she jumped on some unsuspecting dudes to steal their precious bodily fluids, instead of inventing a story about a syringe (the "turkey baster" method).

The Drill SGT said...

Trooper,

How bout some quotes from one of Ann's favorite movies.

"Purity of Essence" ring a bell?

"Peace on Earth"?

bearbee said...

The art of 15 minutes of fame?

Last night her Googled name resulted in 1950 items. This morning it results in 8950 and she is in Wikipedia.

Pogo said...

Last night, after thinking about this sad addition to the detritus of conceptual art (contraceptual? abortifacient?) I went and saw the Edward Hopper-Winslow Homer exhibit at the Art Institute in Chicago.

Beautiful; words escape me.


Except this:
Shvarts svucks.

Trooper York said...

You don't know the meaning of life if you don't know that every sperm is sacred.

submandave said...

Seem slike Chuck(le) is one of the few to really get the significance of this performance. From the common understanding of the Roe v. Wade ruling coupled with militant dogma of many hard-core feminist groups there was absolutely nothing illegal about the actions the student claimed to have performed.

I wonder how many will recognize the cognitaive dissonance created by advocating on the one hand total female autonomy of an unborn child and the conceptualization of such as a "lump of cells" with the real visceral disgust and revulsion experienced thinking about one actually doing as the student claimed. Would they have had the same reaction had she claimed to have intentionally contracted warts just to have them removed and collected?

Laika's Last Woof said...

"Say you're an art teacher, and this is someone's senior project; wouldn't you fail the person?"
Not if you wanted attention just as badly as your student.

"... a creative fiction designed to draw attention ..."
No, really? Gaww-ly, I would'a never guessed.

"Dude, I hope you safeguarded your sperm!"
ROFL, Trooper York ftw ...

"Seem slike Chuck(le) is one of the few to really get the significance of this performance ..."
I get his point, that if abortion possesses zero ethical dimension why would this "performance" be so outrageous, but he's feeding a troll.
Does anyone remember the yellow book "Don't Taze Me" was waving around? Of course not. Nobody cares about that.
It was A PROP.
Abortion, in this case, is A PROP. It does not exist as an "issue", merely as a beacon for drawing the gullible.

Okay, folks, everyone who's outraged, let's all do our exercises:
Take a deep, cleansing breath ... now, roll your eyes. Roll them up, there you go, a little rotation at the top, now sigh, a good, sharp exhale. If you still have any lingering emotion practice the eye-rolling exercise again until all that's left is a cynical, knowing half-smile.
Congratulations, you've just found inner peace ... and saved a few hundred bucks on "art appreciation" classes.
You're welcome.

Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Revenant
RE: Why...

"No, I don't think I'll bother. But the Wikipedia page here is informative, if you care to read it." -- Revenant

....am I not surprised you would shy away from that discussion, and how it relates to Roe v. Wade.

RE: It's a Hoax?

Maybe not. The student is decrying Yale administration from abusing her artistic talents.

She says it's all for real.

Either way, hoax or not, it has put an additional strain on the concept that an unborn child is just a 'glob of flesh'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out....eventually.]