Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Yale Student Turns Self-Insemination and Abortion into Art

There are still a lot of uncertainties surround this story... but wow.
Her parents are probably very proud but Yale has a public relations nightmare on their hands.

She may later say, "sorry, I wasn't really ever pregnant". I hear that happens a lot actually. "No harm no foul."

For senior, abortion a medium for art, political discourse

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.

Read the orginal story in its entirety: Yale Daily News: For senior, abortion a medium for art, political discourse

Yale is obviously reeling from the PR and may be trying to quell the controversy by claing it's a hoax. Uncertainty ubounds at this point.

NYTimes: Sticking to the Bit? Yale’s Abortion Artist

Yale Daly News: University calls art project a fiction; Shvarts '08 disputes Yale's claim


Kathleen said...

Wow. I'm reeling from all the conflict this produces inside my own head. As a woman and an artist, I should be behind this sort of thing, but I'm not.

When I think about it, it's not that it's a public display of abortion, or even that it's revolting I'm just not into the whole "body as art" thing. Blood isn't art any more than paint is. Yes, art should spark discussion, but most of the weird shit you can do to or with your body will spark discussion. I think it's a cop-out sparked by a lack of subtlety and creativity.

Just my opinion, but if she'd tortured and killed a puppy, would that be art, or early warning signs of a sociopathic personality (your own childhood experiences notwithstanding)?

Kathleen said...

Btw, thanks for posting this - great way to start the day (seriously)! Hit the ground thinking.

Thomas Sherman said...

The resposes have been shock and overwhelming dissapointment that someone would use self-insemination and abortion as a means of "artisitic notoriety.