Ickiest student art project ever or unfunny joke

Yale art student Aliza Shvarts decided to “inspire some sort of discussion” and “provoke inquiry” with her unusual art installation in which she impregnated herself multiple times through the use of donor sperm and them forced herself to undergo miscarriages with the use of herbal medicines and abortifacient drugs.

“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.

The project opens to the public next Tuesday at the gallery in Holcombe T. Green Jr. Hall. Now this type of thing makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable. Mostly for her health. I don’t think she quite understands what she’s doing to her body, but also because something like this is politicizing. Incredibly polarizing. “Students on both ends of the abortion debate have expressed shock, saying the project does everything from violate moral code to trivialize abortion.” You know you’ve touched a nerve when you’ve pissed off both pro-life and pro-choice groups.

But, take for example how it was portrayed by Fox News. Look at how they wear their bias on their sleeve. After the opening lede, the first quote in the article was not from the artist or from the school or anyone tied to the project (which is the norm for any journalistic story), no it was this doozy of a quote: “It?s clearly depraved. I think the poor woman has got some major mental problems,” National Right to Life Committee President Wanda Franz said. “She?s a serial killer. This is just a horrible thought.”

However, the funny thing is that it was all a hoax. The story spread like a raging inferno through news outlets and blogs. But it seems the art project was actually in pulling off the grand joke. Well sort of. It’s a little ambiguous.

The supposed senior art project of the Davenport College senior was a ?creative fiction,? a Yale official said Thursday afternoon as students on campus and bloggers across the country expressed colossal outrage over what Shvarts described as a documentation of a nine-month process during which she claimed to have artificially inseminated herself ?as often as possible? while periodically taking ?abortifacient drugs? to induce 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,? Yale spokeswoman Helaine Klasky said in a written statement e-mailed to the News this afternoon.

But Shvarts stood by her project, calling the University?s statement ?ultimately inaccurate.?

Klasky said Shvarts informed three senior Yale officials today ? including two deans ? that she neither impregnated herself nor induced any miscarriages. Rather, the entire episode, including a press release describing the exhibition, was ?performance art,? Klasky said.

?She is an artist and has the right to express herself through performance art,? Klasky said. ?Had these acts been real, they would have violated basic ethical standards and raised serious mental and physical health concerns.?

But 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.?

It’ll be interesting once more details emerge. Anyone down at Yale and can get us some more details or at the very least some photos of this exhibit once it opens? Rory Gilmore certainly would have checked all the facts and gotten to the bottom of this story and not been fooled.

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