Yale threatens to ban Shvarts’ art project from show

This article has been corrected. You may view this article’s correction here.

The University will not allow Aliza Shvarts ’08 to display her controversial senior art project at its scheduled opening Tuesday unless she confesses in writing that the exhibition is a work of fiction, Yale officials said Sunday.The University, meanwhile, acknowledged that it has disciplined two faculty members for their role in allowing Shvarts to proceed with a project that she claimed included nine months of repeated artificial inseminations followed by self-induced miscarriages.

As news of Shvarts’ project swept across the Web last week and attracted the ire of students and private citizens alike, Shvarts and the University engaged in a match of he-said/she-said: Shvarts stood by her project as she described it earlier last week in a news release, while the University — claiming Shvarts had privately denied actually committing the acts in question — dismissed it as a hoax that amounted to nothing more than “performance art.”

And with the scheduled opening of her exhibition rapidly approaching, the University only intensified its criticism this weekend.

“I am appalled,” Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said in a statement Friday. “This piece of performance art as reported in the press bears no relation to what I consider appropriate for an undergraduate senior project.”

School of Art Dean Robert Storr also condemned the project in a written statement Friday.

“If I had known about this, I would not have permitted it to go forward,” Storr said in the statement. “This is not an acceptable project in a community where the consequences go beyond the individual who initiates the project and may even endanger that individual.”

Shvarts did not return several telephone messages this weekend.

Meanwhile, Salovey said in the Friday statement that he and Storr would reassess what constitutes an “appropriate” senior project and the process through which such projects are overseen by faculty.

Two days later, Salovey and Storr announced that an investigation had found “serious errors in judgement” on the part of two unnamed individuals who had been involved in her project before it incited mass condemnation across campus and across the country and that “appropriate action” had been taken against them.

“In one case, the instructor responsible for the senior project should not have allowed it to go forward,” Salovey said. “In the other, an adviser should have interceded and consulted others when first given information about the project.”

In interviews last week, Shvarts said that Lindman and van Assen had both supported her project before it became the object of public dismay. The Davenport College senior defended her project as “University-sanctioned” because it had received their approval.

“I started out with the University on board with what I was doing, and because of the media frenzy they’ve been trying to dissociate with me,” she said at the time. “Ultimately, I want to get back to a point where they renew their support, because ultimately this was something they supported.”

Van Assen declined requests for comment last week, and Lindman did not respond to repeated attempts to contact her. Other officials in the School of Art have repeatedly referred requests for comment to the Office of Public Affairs.

In his statement Sunday night, Salovey called on Shvarts to produce a written confession admitting that her project did not actually include the graphic acts that she had first described. He added that Shvarts will not be allowed to install her project unless she admits she did not try to inseminate herself and induce miscarriages and promises that no human blood will be displayed in her exhibit.

While showing diagrams of the exhibit to reporters from the News on Thursday, Shvarts said she planned to construct a four-foot-wide cube made from PVC pipe that would hang suspended from the ceiling of the gallery, wrapped in hundreds of feet of plastic sheeting. Between the layers of this sheeting would be thick coatings of Vaseline, which she plans to use as an “extender” for the display of her bodily fluids.

Shvarts’ plans also include the projection of videos of her possible miscarriages onto the plastic sheeting. These videos show Shvarts, wearing headphones and in a bathroom tub, removing blood from her body and collecting it in disposable cups.

Shvarts said Thursday that if the University does not allow her to exhibit her senior art project at Green Hall on Tuesday, she has no plans for an alternative venue to showcase her work.

If the exhibition does go ahead, it will likely require heavy security. A Yale official said last week that the incident has drawn more press inquiries to the University than any episode since the controversy over the admission of former Taliban diplomat Rahmatullah Hashemi in 2006.

But if the art opening does not continue, the University is likely to face criticism that it has restricted freedom of expression.

In his statement, Storr emphasized that the University “has a profound commitment to freedom of expression” and that he, personally, supports the legality of abortion.

“That said, Yale does not encourage or condone projects that would involve unknown health risks to the student,” Storr said. “Nor does it believe that open discourse and inquiry can exist in an educational and creative community when an individual exercises these rights but evades full intellectual accountability for the strong response he or she may provoke.”

Shvarts’ installation would be unveiled at the official reception for the Undergraduate Senior Art Show on Tuesday at Green Hall. The exhibition will be on public display from April 22 to May 1.

Comments

  • Yalie '08

    I fully support any move to ban Shvarts '08 project. I support the freedom of expression. However, just like misguided expressions of racial intolerance and sexual harassment shouldn't be put on public display and be praised, likewise, neither should such gross disrespect of human life.
    Shvarts may, of course, display her 'art' piece in somewhere more aligned to its value -- like on youtube or a blog.

  • Anonymous

    Go Salovey!

  • yalie

    i think salovey is embarassing the university. he is just playing to the press when he should be sticking up for the principles he says are important.

  • kobi

    salovey should be fired. this guy is just bullying a student.

  • Anonymous

    As a woman who is pro-choice, pro freedom of artistic expression, a mother as well as one who has experienced both an abortion and a miscarriage, I applaud and support Yale's decision I find Ms. Shvart's reported project silly, self serving, naive and amoral. I am grateful that the Yale administration has not indulged her immature and misguided attempt to be an "artiste."

  • okiye

    The point of the project wasn't to make a statement about her right to have an abortion. I'm surprised people are even offended by this project. It's should be a total non-issue that she's allowed to do whatever she wants to her body. She could could keep doing this to herself for ever and it wouldn't be anyone's place to stop her.

    Also, the second statement put out by the university practically exposes the falsehood of their first statement, as well as their increased desperation. If Aliza had really told the university officials that she had indeed not been inseminating herself and taking abortifacients, and then had gone out afterward and public contradicted herself, they wouldn't have put out this BS statement about being "disappointed" at her decision to continue lying to the press. They would have said Aliza is lying and in contradiction of academic regulations and will be duly punished. Wouldn't it make sense for them to make it clear that she would be punished if they actually had a legitimate case against her?

  • yalie'80

    I agree…let her put it on youtube. DO NOT allow her to exhibit with the other students at Yale.

  • Anonymous

    Good.

  • Y '12

    Thank god, the girl is whack and very nearly managed to kill all of my excitement about Yale.

  • LB

    Yale should not threaten to ban this piece of whatever ..they should ban this piece of whatever. Freedom of speech does not include one abusing that freedom in my house. Yale is my house.

  • Class of 1987

    Good. I'm glad to hear that the did this. It was best for all concerned.

  • Yalie '10

    Aliza had to have seen that this was coming. That way, if it was banned, no one would have to see how visually uninteresting or empty her work as proposed actually would have been.

    Regardless of my feelings for it, I believe that the other senior art thesis works deserve more attention.

  • Many thanks to Salovey!!

    Salovey has brought credibility back to Yale faculty!

    Thanks so much. I love Yale, and am disgusted when a single student damages the reputation of an otherwise great school.

    Shvarts should be expelled.

  • Yalie '10

    Thank God the administration is finally stepping up and condemning it in unequivocal language.

  • Anonymous

    "The University will not allow Aliza Shvarts ’08 to display her controversial senior art project at its scheduled opening Tuesday unless she confesses in writing that the exhibition is a work of fiction, Yale officials said Sunday."

    Does this mean that she could still get a passing grade on her project?

  • Anonymous

    aliza = galileo
    salovey = grand inquisitioner

  • hobermallow

    it should be banned.

    shvarts should get an "A"

  • Yale '09

    I find it very odd that no one seems to be considering the possibility that the Yale administration is telling the truth, and that the project is, in fact, a "creative fiction" meant to raise questions and start discussions. An essential part of that discussion is that people believe that the project is real (otherwise they'd dismiss the real issues at question). Thus, Aliza is trying to keep open a plausible case for the project being real. As long as people have a shred of doubt in their mind (that is, that they think it *might* be real) they can still consider it with the intended effect.

  • aliza is whack.

    #6 is Juan Castillo, the same fool who defended Aliza in the very first article. okiye = yokie = juan castillo's logo. Juan, you're the only one absurd enough to keep defending her. Give it up. I've already discussed those points with you. I don't know why you would then anonymously go on a forum and KEEP arguing your dead points.

  • Freedom of Artistic Expression is Sacrosanct

    It's very easy to make a commitment to freedom of artistic expression when the art doesn't offend, provoke, or challenge. But while hanging non-controversial projects in the gallery may show the university's ability to instruct in aesthetic and technique, it is not a test of Yale's commitment to freedom of artistic expression. That test only comes when they have the choice between supporting a controversial artist, or bowing to the voices of the crowd. I am disappointed that the administration appears to be saying "We will support the rights of our artists to express themselves, unless…"

    Shvarts's piece follows a long tradition of provocative art that causes many to react with disgust. The Tragedy of Medea causes people to react with disgust. The plays of Chris Durang cause people to react with disgust. The novels of Thomas Hardy cause people to react with disgust. Disgust, offense, and revulsion are not sufficient reasons to stifle artistic expression and I would have expected better from Yale than to join a mob in the doing of its work.

  • Old Blue

    okiye, once Ms. Schvarts decided to make this public, it's no longer a private decision for her to do whatever she wants to do to her body. Furthermore, this was an academic project, not a private art project. Yale has every right to set rules under which educational activities will be conducted, including whether a student forbidding a student to lie (either to the press or the university), create a situation that may put herself in danger, or put on public display something that is so controversial that most people find it extremely offensive.

  • liars

    Why are they punishing faculty if Shvartz didn't actually do the miscarriages like Yale claims?

    Ummmmm….

  • Sodak

    why isn't anyone blaming the faculty that signed off! I have an art degree, and everything you do has to go through your advisor..especially a senior project! her project couldn't have looked good on paper either, it's a bad concept- regardless of the "process". Still doesn't change the fact that they are hanging her out to dry. I guess I expected more honor at such a university.

  • Anonymous

    Not a bad PR move. To allow it to proceed would bring worse press upon Yale.

  • Anonymous

    This is exactly what needed to happen.

  • feminist

    Dear Chase,

    You are not a feminist. You are a false feminist and an infirmary man-hater who by mere association discredits all the positive work that the YWC does.

    Shame on you,
    An ex-admirer

  • me

    No one has commented on the irony that the very administrators who get so worked up over the moral implications of a publicity stunt are not at all bothered by the moral implications of aiding and abetting the Chinese government, which (ahem) has forced millions of their citizens to get abortions.

  • Chris Burden+Marcel Duchamp+Orlan+Mari

    The throngs of people who have expressed outrage about this project are probably Thomas Kincade collectors.

  • y'11

    Shvarts' project should only be assessed on its artistic merits. In my opinion it is junk, but those are not the grounds on which Salovey and the commentors here want it banned. In any case, it is not for us or for Salovey to judge its artistic worth, that's the job of her professors. Offensiveness is not a reason for banning her work, if the only thing she's offending is your sense of what she should do with her body.

  • fairness

    If Yale had guidelines for art projects such as: No body fluids, size-requirements, student safety etc, published ahead of time, then they can claim it can't be exhibited. Otherwise, they are only trying some CYA tactics - could it have anything to do with who their donors are--hmm?

  • dodad1176

    Salovey: Hurrah for what is reported here. But she should be expelled. Send her to XCom for this, and also for apparently not telling the truth (telling the admin apparently "I really didn't do it" when she apparently she did).

    Two faculty members: What is the punishment? For being this stupid, it should be severe.

    Authors of this article: Involuntary: miscarraige. Voluntary: Abortion. Therefore please stop referring to miscarraiges. There were none. There were abortions if she was impregnated.Please keep this very important distinction straight.

  • pathetic

    The Yale administration has absolutely no backbone. It is more concerned with Yale's public image than with supporting its students.

  • yls '09

    Excellent, I wouldn't want to risk exposing yalies to anything controversial…no telling what could happen.

  • okiye

    right on, #20

  • Anonymous

    For those that keep making the argument that just because it is offensive, the project shouldn't be banned…

    The problem isn't that it is offensive, but unethical. Suppose for a minute that some big medical breakthrough could be made by having patients voluntarily perform the same procedure on themselves as Schvarts claims to have done here. It would never be allowed to happen. The medical ethics committee would never allow such a thing to be done on people, even if the result would be some big cure. Why then should art not be held to some ethical standards too? Calling an action art doesn't negate the need for ethics. This is also why novels and plays could not be the same by any stretch of the imagination. Something that is purely offensive, but still ethical, can be ignored.

  • Alum

    What is shocking to me is that such a project would be considered to be worthy of senior essay credit. Is that the best thing she could think of after over 3 years of a Yale education? Doesn't exactly say much for the rigor of a major in art. Hardly up to the calibre of a typical senior essay in Chemistry or English.

  • Anonymous

    Use of bodily fluids makes it a biohazard. So there.

  • Jim

    She should expelled and deported to a special "camp" for other degenerate artists.

  • Chad

    The anonymous one above said:

    "aliza = galileo

    salovey = grand inquisitioner"

    Never seen a spoiled, petulant child be compared to an observational scientist.

    As for making this right, Yale also needs to publicly promise to not award any school credit for this project. If the advisers should not have allowed it to go forward then the student cannot profit from it.

  • Danny Helfen

    I find this "Art" project disgusting. It is a perfect example of the stupidity of no boundaries liberal arts education. This pathetic girl has no business darkening and soiling the reputation of Yale, and every other college art proram. This student should be expelled and lose credit for the project. I understand that for artists to be recgonized they must stand out, but this is rediculus.

  • rb

    This is one of the most disgusting and disturbing stories that I have ever read. There must be limits to our first amendment rights and colleges and institutions must be willing to make impose and enforce those limitations. IF not then there will be no end to what sick individuals like this woman are willing to do for both pure publicity and also personal satisfaction.

  • hmmm

    i can't believe yale is considering banning this project…arent the elite colleges supposed to be sort of a last bastion of free expression/thinking…i'm no artist, but, had I known the dean (or administration or whatever major donor is pressuring them) was the final say on what constitutes art, I would have had a much easier time on art history essays in undergrad…

  • KansasGirl

    This is "exactly" why the arts have to beg or confiscate money. Her "parents" must be "proud"!

  • Mark Paquette

    I have to wonder if inducing pregnancy for purposes of an abortion is what was intended by the right-to-kill-babies 'found' in the Constitution by ignorant SCOTUS justices. I was under the impression, and so are those who agree with a woman's 'right' to commit murder, that it's supposed to be for cases of rape, incest, or threat to the mother's life (at the cost of the child's, although one could argue most good mothers would put their child's welfare before their own).

  • ron

    can it be … is it true … yale took a position on something instead of sitting back on the sidelines - that alone is amazing, but not as much as the project they are keeping out of the senior art show. thank god someone there seems to have finally put on their thinking cap, this student certainly wasn't thinking (aside from being in pursuit of sensationalism) … some faculty direction would have been helpful (one would think in an academic environment that would automatically occur).

  • mom

    Anyone who believes killing an unborn child in the name of "art" and "freedom of expression" is void of any moral compass. Don't even try to justify these acts as a pro-choice argument,this is an act of murder in the most selfish sense of the word. Shame on all those involved in allowing this.
    What a wonderful example of what constitutes higher learning these days, no wonder the world is messed up!!!

  • Rick

    Here's my submission of performance art. It's titled "He tried".
    In act one, I attend grade school, study hard, get good grades, attend a state college, get more good grades,and get a degree.
    In act two, I get a job at which I am particularly well suited. I go to this job every day, pay my taxes, and obey the law. I get married and after seeing my wife suffering several miscarriages and a stillborn baby, we have a beautiful daughter - the normal way. We raise her to love others and be thankful for her great gifts.
    In act three, I finish my working days, see my daughter become a well-adjusted, non-whining woman. I finally fall into declining health and die. On my tombstone are two words: He tried.
    This is my performance art… and it is strong.

  • grad student

    It's a shame that she doesn't seem to grasp the potential political consequences of this kind of frivolity, especially when there are women out there who desperately need to be able to make use of their right to choose. It seems to me that "statements" like this can only serve to give anti-abortion advocates ammunition, as they make the pro-choice movement look like the right wing's stereotype of it.

    What a real shame.

  • Henry Wallace II

    Another bad move by Yale. This is all about the First Amendment. Let's not follow the gov't down the path of censorship. After all, censorship is becoming America's favorite past-time. The US gov't (and their corporate friends), already detain protesters, ban books like "America Deceived" from Amazon and shut down Ron Paul. Free Speech forever (even for this twisted girl).
    Last link (before Google Books caves to pressure and drops the title):
    http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?&isbn=0-595-38523-0

  • conant

    And how exactly does a degree from Yale differ from an abortion?

  • American Man

    Yale is directly responsible for much or the trouble we are having today. It is the elitist scum Yale produces like Bush who have just about destroyed our country. So why is anyone surprised that some mentally ill woman is defend by equally mentally ill men and women at Yale.

  • Scott from Modesto

    I'm sure anyone defending this project and its right to be presented in a school-sponsored forum would be perfectly fine if someone decided to have a pro-KKK rally on campus. Sure, elite universities are the last bastion of free speech, right?. Right, that's why any pro-conservative speaker is run out of town or shouted down, because elitist "students" love free speech. It doesn't matter whether someone is offended, right? We love free speech, right? Shut your hypocritical faces.

  • Y'11

    Peter Salovey knows what he is doing.
    He is not being hypocritical, he is not a liar.
    He is following good sense and morals.
    I fully support Dean Salovey. Freedom of expression does not entail playing around with abortion - that is not freedom of expression and it is by no means brave and courageous to stand behind a macabre lie such as the artist did.
    Also, Chase Olivarius, shame on you for calling Dean Salovey hypocritical. In any case, the hypocritic is the feminist who supports such a usage of abortion.

  • paul

    If what has been presented as fact is indeed true, this student should seek professional help immediately. The damage to her body and mind may not manifest itself for years, but it will take its toll eventually. These so called "advisers" should be fired immediately. The University should send out letters of apology to every student and their parents.

  • TSue

    I'd say that's nearly $200k wasted down the poop-chute! Money would have been better spent getting this disturbed "Art" student serious therapy!

  • Melvin

    Being an outsider and looking what is taking place by Ms. Schvarts and the ensuing interaction between Yale faculty and the public can be seen as actions worthy of a Yale Senior.
    By all appearances I could defecate on the Yale Commons and call it, "Mans impediment to the future" and I would expect a passing grade. I know it sounds a extreme but no less extreme in what Ms. Schvarts has done.
    From a college that has been around since the 1700's and produced the likes of William F. Buckley and diplomats, Ms. Schvarts actions do not inspire a higher level of thought or consciousness or wonderment, but rather severe revulsion and disgust.
    What Ms. Schvarts has done is more of a politcal statement than a art form.
    This work in not worthy of a Yale Senior I'm sorry it just isn't.

  • e t

    when did art become so boring?

  • Anonymous

    This is why real Americans have no respect for Yalies.

  • fowlowl

    Why did Yale choose this particular bizarre behavior to censor? It seems a natural for the "educational experience" they offer.

  • Mendicant Prophet

    It amazes me that this is even taking time up in anybodies existance. 1)How is this art? Really…Monet, Da Vinci, Dali all artists is a recognizable way. No need for a disscusion on their artistic viability or even integrity. 2)When foreign young adults regularly out-perform their American peers in todays global markets, should we really be spending time on blood and vasoline and some womans time spent in a bathtub? Especially when this is a product of one of America's BEST schools? Really…
    Lastly, nasty spiteful rhetoric is exactly that no matter how it is couched. A woman's RIGHT to an abortion should be an unquestioned fact, just as someone's sexual orientation is, but that doesn't mean that broadcasting not only the results, but the act itself to the general population is acceptable. Somethings are meant to be <i>private</i>. Sex, for instance, regardless of orientation, when broadcast publically is considered <b>pornography</b> and as such is <em>indecent</em>. This is really no different is it?

  • Tim88

    All of this "free speech" debate is so "been there done that". Take a shot at Muslims, black leadership or some liberal orthodoxy if you want to be cutting edge and see how fast you get censored.

  • Marfen

    The National Endowment for the Arts is anxiously awaiting her application for taxpayer funding. Another piece of anecdotal evidence that the "elite" ivy league schools students, faculty and administration are only so in their own minds.

  • John

    Yale does not condone a student taking voluntary "unknown health risks" but apparently has no concerns about the involuntary known health risks to an unborn baby. . .genius.

  • Wolfgang

    To even call this "project" an example of "art" is an oxymoron. This is trash, pure and simple. Its sole purpose is to create shock value - for the amusement of the "artist" eho expected to get academic credit for this piece of dreck. The young woman concerned reveals she has no concept at all what is "art" - she is nothing more than a cheap provocateur aided and abetted by two equally jaded faculty members. Bravo to the Administration for drawing the line in the sand on this incident.

  • DoodleLover

    Not that I disagree with your opinions on this matter, but those of you who refer to the First Amendment should remember that it only applies to the government ("Congress shall make no law…") It is my understanding that private institutions can enforce as many censorship policies as they deem appropriate or necessary. This controversy would have been more interesting had it spawned at a public university. Even then, as many readers pointed out, the university's refusal to display an "artwork" - deemed by many to be extremely offensive - would not constitute "abridging the freedom of speech." The refusal by itself does not infringe on the "artist's" right to express herself. After all, she is free to display the "artwork" in a private gallery, the Women's Center, her own room, or in the street. If the university ends up disciplining her, it will not be for creating this project, but rather, for possibly lying to her advisor(s) and/or for submitting a senior project that is judged by the faculty to be substandard. Before we even begin the free speech debate, however, we must decide whether this project constitutes a legitimate (and coherent) statement. I, for one, vote no.

  • Yalie

    "This is why real Americans have no respect for Yalies."

    What, can I ask, is a "Real American"? I would love to know because apparently my passport says "Not-Real American".

  • Brian

    Absolutely disgusting. When did human life become so meaningless? If the artwork is displayed, the media and everyone else who would have been associated should simply boycot. All that this sick soul wants is the attention this has received. What she needs is to be institutionalized and as a society we should reach out to help her. This deserves no more press than it has already received.

  • pissed-off conservative yalie

    To all who've chosen to smear the institution rather than the individual:

    Don't kid yourselves. Yale is a great school. There are crazy leftists here, just as there are everywhere.

    At this point, I'm ashamed to see so many brainless conservatives focus on the University (which has done the right thing) rather than the individual. When did conservatives decide to move away from a model of personal responsibility and towards a blame-the-institution mentality?

  • lily

    Miscarriages happen. The difference here is that she either actively decided to stop any possible pregnancies or she spun a story in which a woman decided to do so. If she actually performed the acts she describes, she may or may not have ever been pregnant. This to me is not about creating and killing babies as some seem to believe, but about exploring the form and function of a woman's bleeding cycle. So she took abortifacient herbs or meds or whatever, is that so different from being on the pill?

  • Marcus

    How about enforcing the same biohazard safety rules that the rest of us have to work under?

  • Michelle

    Why do the reporters continue to call what this student purported to do "miscarriages"?
    A "miscarriage" is a naturally occurring, premature end of pregnancy. What she claims to have done are ABORTIONS, plain and simple. Have the courage to call it what it is. I would expect at least that from an Ivy League institution.

  • skippy

    #20 By Freedom of Artistic Expression is Sacrosanct
    You are deluded.
    No one can compare months-old blood and video of a woman crouching in a bathtub with true art.
    The complexity of the other works you mentioned have stood the test of time, and indeed, still spark debate.
    The artist's "debate" points are moot at best, and self-serving and dangerous to those exposed to the physical manifestations of her project.

    As a side note, if the artist is still intent of having a show, I'd suggest she hire a tent and provide biohazard suits for all guests.

  • Doom and Gloom

    #70 I'm with you

  • Deeva

    This woman is obviously just seeking fame and publicity through her heinous acts. The way America thinks, she'll be famous and her work highly coveted next month. Sad, but true.
    As a pro-choice woman, it makes me sick to see the way in which the efforts of so many have been abused and used to fulfill an immature woman's agenda and thirst of fame.
    Shame on her, shame on Yale, and shame on Bush, haha.

  • ES08

    1- To the free speech posters:

    If I exercised my constitutional right to free speech by submitting a one-word thesis in my Yale major, I would be failed. Yale is a school, not a lab for exercises in expression.

    2 - To the "Yale is treating Shvarts unfairly" posters:

    Yale penalizes students all the time for doing stupid things to themselves. That's clearly what they're doing here. I'm just surprised that Shvarts still gets to display hazardous body fluids for credit if she fixes her story.

  • Patrick Moore

    Thank you Dean Salovey for taking a stand. I can only assume that since you are "appalled" that the "appropriate action" taken against those who approved this project is dismissal from coveted Yale teaching positions. This entire affair creates the appearance that ethics and morals have no place in Yale's curriculum (even implicitly). What if the press had never called? What if rich alumni had not bombarded Yale's offices expressing outrage? This project would have continued.

    In the future should a similar instance occur (no doubt it will) I hope that Yale's first instinct will be to condemn rather than rationalize. Even as a hoax, this episode was disgusting at best. And as an alumni, I have seen Yale act much more swiftly and with more outrage on less appalling "hoaxes."

    As an alumni, I believe Yale is better than this. It better be.

    Patrick Moore
    SY '96

  • ha

    I get an endless kick out of every who "knows what art is" but hasn't seen any from the past 100 years.

  • Pro Aliza

    Plea to Yale students who care about free speech: find Aliza an alternate space to exhibit in. She has every right to show her work and must be denied.

  • Hannah M.

    I would like to respond to comment #5, "as one who has experienced both an abortion and a miscarriage…".
    If you had really "experienced" an abortion you would have been terminated, like your fetus.
    Why the passive language? Did you not make the choice?

  • ick

    Aside from the insensitivity and questionable ethics and blatant exploitation of a controversial issue, this project is just GROSS.

    Blood? Seriously?

    Isn't there some sort of public health code about that?

    Until we find a cure for AIDS and MRSA every other blood- and fluid-borne illness, please keep your vagina juice out of my art gallery.

  • #77

    I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and make it the last 75 years.

  • Anon

    Why would someone do this anyway? It really doesn't seem that much like art but I guess I'm more of a Monet fan.

    And what does being pro-abortion have to do with it? There's a difference between getting an abortion because of an unexpected pregnancy and trying to get pregnant just to induce a miscarriage.

  • Anonymous

    Why are they punishing faculty if Shvartz didn't actually do the miscarriages like Yale claim?

    Whoever posted this is RIGHT on the money.

  • Yalie 07

    Banning Aliza's exhibition would not, in any way, jeopardize freedom of expression at Yale. Aliza is free to display her senior project as long as it merely expresses the idea of repeated self-inseminations and self-abortions through theatrical work. Instead, Aliza (per her statements) went several steps further and acted upon this idea. The scenes in her project were not fictional drama where she was pretending; the scenes were real in that they had physical consequences upon her body. By banning Aliza's exhibition, Yale is condemning the act, not the idea, of her project.

    Lux et Veritas.

  • Nary Athought

    Was the Columbine tragedy just "performance art"? Yale graduates taught at that institution… go figure! The faculty deserve to lose their jobs. The student deserves discipline. The art school needs serious revamping. Yale is a stain on education worldwide.

  • matt

    this in my opinion is what being pro-choice gets you. if you dont like it, then become pro-life. is it sick? yes. immoral? yes. is it art? yes. does yale have the right to not allow this? yes. bottom line though, it is legal in this country and theres not anything anybody can do to stop her. i can understand why both pro-choicers and obviously pro-lifers think this is sick and wrong, because it spits in the face of those who have either struggled with the choice of aborting and those who cannot conceive. but ask yourself this? where do you draw the line on abortion? im not sure it can be done.

  • Alum05

    Good, and kudos to the Yale administration for disciplining her advisers. Universities have the responsibility for *teaching*, not just providing a forum for ethical emptiness masquerading as free expression… or, should we all be eagerly awaiting the next brilliant art thesis documenting the mutilation of animals or a nine-month process culminating in suicide?

  • gfo

    Unfortunately many "artists" are taking this route to gain attention. There is the South American artist who chained a dog to a wall and let it starve and the Chinese artist who made a video of himself repeatedly hitting the ground with a dead cat. Now these "artists" are claiming that their pieces were hoaxes as well. The dog was supposedly fed every day (even though it was seriously underweight and suffering from internal parasites) and the cat, well, how was the cat found? How did the cat die? These are all questions that only the "artists" can answer. The dog, supposedly released on the street after the show was given no care or a home after this exhibit sparked debate and the artist walked away with millions of dollars and a smug smile on his face.
    One more time- are we going to draw the line between blatant disregard for life of all kinds and what some are claiming is performance art?
    Lets not forget that many serial killers start out abusing those who cannot help themselves.
    If Ms. Shvarts really wanted to open peoples minds her life would be better suited helping people who are disadvantaged rather than trying to garnish attention through the media by disgust and horror.
    I'm sure Charles Manson sought to "open peoples minds" as well.
    If these atrocities are going to occur, lets try and send out the message that it is not humane, appropriate, creative, or intellegent to abuse, and that Yale will not stand to have its reputation ruined because of one self-absorbed, mentally ill student.

  • Maija

    I don’t have a problem with Shvarts’ art project being banned not because I find it extremely unethical or disgusting, but because it’s mediocre and devoid of any real substance anyway. Is abortion ethical? What is considered art? These debates are nothing new, and her project has nothing new to say about them. Shvarts’ so called “intellectual ideas” behind her project are extremely shallow, and it seems the bigger purpose behind the piece is just meant to shock and disgust—a very elementary idea.

    Shvarts’ project has only received the attention it has because she is a senior at a high profile university, not a freshmen at an obscure college (which sounds like a much more plausible creator for the piece).

  • Maija

    Shvarts project is much less intellectually stimulating than it is just plain gross. It doesn't take intelligence to pull that off.

  • Careless

    The only thing that really bothers me here is that she's not getting an F for this work.

  • Lisa

    As much as I would like to believe that what she is doing is just pushing the envelope in what art really is, I cannot. To me, this seems like a very smart career move on her part. While her antics are disgusting, she is very smart because her newsworthy project has put her on the map. When you Google Aliza Shvarts, you can get 86,000 hits on her name. Now that she is about to graduate, it will make it very easy to get a job with a company that encourages excentric art of this nature. The buzz around this sadistic art project and society’s interest in it has gotten Aliza exactly what she wanted, what were we all thinking?

    It is posts like these that are making here more and more popular.
    http://perezhilton.com/?s=yale

  • The Specialist

    Oh, well we all care about the well being of students crating Avangarde Art Projects.
    However in this instance exception is warranted by the fact of brain disorder of an "artist". If she injures herself and makes compost due to infection, interests of humanity's gene pool will be saved. Not to mention being nominated for coveted Darwin award. (Usually awarded after dumbass is gone).

    Lovingly,

    The Specialist