Friday, April 18, 2008
Aliza's Abortion Art Project
Aliza Shvarts is pushing the limits of what defines art with an upcoming exhibition focusing on abortion. The Yale '08 art major is seeking to create a dialogue about art the the human body:
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.
How will the final project look?
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.
All a Hoax?
Or will it? Recent reports indicate that the entire exercise is a hoax, designed to provoke extreme reactions from the public and media. Yale University spokeswoman, Helaine Klasky, says:
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.
Writer Warren Ellis presciently called the Aliza Shvarts affair for a hoax earlier:
Seriously: you believe this is real? My money says the physical “art” doesn’t exist, not as described. I mean, I’m open to being wrong. But right now, I think the press release itself is the art piece. In fact, I would imagine any final presentation would be a collation of the media responses to the press release, broadcast as it was during a visit from the Pope to her country of residence. She’s going to be hoping someone sticks the PR in front of scary old Ratzinger.
Those seeking a psychological explanation for the affair might find clues in Aliza's story of her first period:
I was very excited, lying there in the carpet, at the notion that now it might be my turn. I ended up sticking it out for the whole film, which I still feel is quite an accomplishment—it was a very long movie, there is a lot that happened in 14th century China. After a trip to the girls’ bathroom and a harrowing experience with the pad dispenser, I got on the school bus to go home, excited to tell my mother the news.
Aliza Shvarts at the Soapbox Event, where you can stand on a box and say whatever you want for one minute, at Federal Hall National Memorial in New York
Aliza on her soapbox
Aliza Shvarts' "Disarticulation"