27 April, 2008

Aliza Shvarts - miscarraige art?

The Yale Daily News reports that Aliza Shvarts is disputing Yale's announcement that her entire project is a "creative fiction."

.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.

full article



"An American artist claims to have repeatedly self-impregnated and self-aborted for her senior year project. Why does this feel like old hat?

The art student Aliza Shvarts has caused controversy in the United States with her performance art piece in which she artificially inseminated herself repeatedly and then self-aborted. It is still unclear whether the performance actually happened, but in these media-saturated days it doesn't really matter. True or not, the result is a hot press topic and Shvarts has been re-christened the Abortion Girl.

Naturally the act (if it happened at all) has upset a vast section of the American right, and no doubt it was Shvart's intention to highlight a woman's right to choose what she does with her body. But what really seems to be getting the goat of the American public is its assumption of a cynical publicity stunt on the part of the artist.

Let's remember that Shvarts is just one in a long line of performance artists who have used their bodies to reach out to an anaesthetised and alienated society: one so inured from the shoot-from-the-hip tragedies on the evening news that it takes a willful, self-inflicted act to make us sit up.

The 1970s were of course the heyday of ritualised mutilation of this kind. Gina Pane, Marina Abramovic, VALIE EXPORT and Rudolf Schwarzkogler all self-inflicted bodily harm in an attempt to understand the connections between the body and the self. Chris Burden got his assistant to shoot him in the left arm while the legendary Czech performance artist Tomas Ruller set fire to himself in memory of the 1968 Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia.

The only difference between these artists and Shvarts is today's publicity machine. The artists of the 1970s rarely made the headlines, but when they did there was never a question of cynicism attached. By the 1980s, thanks to a few gallery owners, their media-hungry clients and some canny marketing gurus, the artist became a star and consequently very rich, and since that time a disproportionate attention to hype has dogged the political artist. We now have the dilettante Sebastian Horsley travelling to the Philippines to have himself crucified or the slack-faced David Blane shut up in a glass box in the name of art.

So what should we make of Shvarts? Art tart or savage political artist? It doesn't really matter. Her work is terrifying territory for so many reasons that it cannot fail to make an impact. It is not about Neo-cons or Christianity: it is about the body, the self and our disconnection from reality. For this reason it is art."

from the guardian

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