Update: It was fake.
Yale University senior Aliza Shvarts, left, swears she's not trying to "scandalize anyone." Her art is definitely not designed purely for "shock value,". Even so, it's hard to know what to call Shvarts' senior thesis, "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." Yup, in an attempt to start a dialogue about art and its relationship to the body, Shvarts is displaying plastic sheeting reportedly smeared with the uterine blood and tissue from her various miscarriages and projecting video of herself miscarrying into a bathtub. "I believe strongly that art should be a medium for politics and ideologies, not just a commodity," Shvarts tells the Yale Daily News. "I think that I'm creating a project that lives up to the standard of what art is supposed to be." The thing is, Shvarts' art isn't so much commenting on politics or ideologies but her own need for attention.
We've all met young men and women like Aliza Shvarts: They come from relatively happy, upper-middle-class families, and are so desperate to be "edgy" and "crazy" that they perform a series of stunts — whether through drug experimentation, sexual exploration, or bad performance art — to differentiate themselves from their hopelessly bourgie peers and parents. The problem with Shvarts' little art project, however, is that her need to rebel has potentially big ramifications outside her ivory tower of academia. (One assumes that Shvarts used, at least in part, the abortifacient RU-486, a prescription-only drug that some politicians want added to the list of Schedule I controlled substances.) Plus, conservative bloggers are already up in arms and using Aliza's capriciousness to support their anti-abortion agendas. (At 9:00am this morning Shvarts' name had 53 hits on Google; as of 11:52am, it had 291.) And though the Buckley School valedictorian claims that she wants her piece to be a medium for "politics and ideologies," it's not like she's shedding light on an obscure subject. People debate the ethics of abortion constantly, and possibly harming your body by forcing it to miscarry repeatedly? Yeah, that's not helping the discourse.
Molly Clark-Barol, a Yale student and commenter on the YDH's website, sums up Shvarts's egocentrism better than I could: "Congratulations, Aliza Shvarts '08: you have single-handedly trivialized not only an entire generation and a half's fight to gain and retain the right to choose, through harassment and against massive odds, but also history of women's struggles, not only politically, but with the emotional, moral, and spiritual impacts of the choice to terminate a pregnancy. You also spit upon every couple who has tried, and failed, sometimes repeatedly, to have children. it is the emotional impact of these struggles, emotional impact that you shamelessly exploit, not explore, in your senior project."
Soapbox Event" />
For Senior, Abortion A Medium For Art, Political Discourse [Yale Daily News]
Related: Absolutely Fascinating [Bitch, PhD]