With Shvarts silent, project will not go up

As Aliza Shvarts ’08 maintained her silence Monday, the University kept its promise to forbid the Davenport College senior from installing her controversial senior art project in a public exhibit planned to go on display today.

On Sunday, Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said Shvarts would not be allowed to open her exhibit unless she issued a written statement admitting that her project — which she claimed comprised nine months of self-inseminations and subsequent induced miscarriages — was nothing more than a creative fiction. Since no resolution was reached on Monday, Shvarts’s project will not be on display when the Undergraduate Art Senior Project Show opens for public viewing this morning. Whether it will eventually be installed remains uncertain.

“A determination has not yet been made,” Yale spokeswoman Helaine Klasky wrote in an e-mail Monday night.

She did not comment further.

Shvarts has not spoken publicly since Friday, when she defended her art project in an interview with the News and in an op-ed piece published in the newspaper. She did not return telephone messages over the weekend and remained silent Monday as time ticked away bef re today’s scheduled opening.

Since then, the University has disciplined two faculty members — the adviser, School of Art lecturer Pia Lindman, and one other — who knew of Shvarts’s project, which drew ire on campus and across the country last week when she first revealed its details. Yale officials have maintained that her project was an example of “performance art,” terming it a “creative fiction.”

In her public comments last week, Shvarts rebutted that assessment, calling it “ultimately inaccurate” and gave no indication that she planned to capitulate.

“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 Friday. “Ultimately, I want to get back to a point where they renew their support, because ultimately this was something they supported.”

Whether or not Shvarts’s project is displayed, the Undergraduate Art Senior Project Show is scheduled to run from April 22 to May 1 in Green Hall on Chapel Street. The show will be open to the public at 10 a.m. today, according to the Web site of the School of Art, with a formal reception for the exhibit scheduled for Friday night.

In interviews last week, Shvarts said her project would take the shape of a four-foot-wide cube to be suspended from the ceiling of a gallery in Green Hall. The cube would be wrapped with hundreds of feet of plastic sheeting, lined with blood she claimed to have collected and preserved over her nine months of self-induced miscarriages.

Meanwhile, video recordings of her purported miscarriages would be projected onto the sides of the cube, Shvarts said.

Shvarts said last week that she did not plan to seek an alternative venue for the exhibition if the University forbade her from showing it at Green Hall. In his statement Sunday night, Salovey outlined three conditions for allowing Shvarts to display her work:

¶ She submits a “clear and unambiguous written statement” admitting her project is a “work of fiction,” as Salovey put it.

¶ She admits she did not try to inseminate herself or produce miscarriages.

¶ She promises that no human blood will be displayed in her exhibit.

Whether or not Shvarts will comply with those terms is unclear, but a swarm of media is expected to gather outside Green Hall this morning for the exhibition’s scheduled opening.

The timing could not be worse: Today is the second day of the annual Bulldog Days, a three-day event for which admitted students are invited to visit campus and imbibe the Yale experience. Today also marks the beginning of the annual summit for the International Alliance of Research Universities, a consortium of ten leading research universities, including Yale, whose presidents are scheduled to converge on campus today for two days of meetings.

Comments

  • yale 2010

    Although this was probably inevitable, it is still "too bad"

    too bad for aliza, because she produced a conceptually tight, brilliant piece, despite possible harm to an institution (which, I may say, can absorb it) and to reproductive rights organizations (which cannot)

    too bad for Yale's administration, which was given the chance to prove its allegiance to truly interesting and challenging academic work but gave it up

    too bad for the rest of us, who will not get the chance to form our own, informed opinions about the finished work--though the most interesting parts of the project may have already "happened"

    I am very glad that the rest of the seniors' work will get the attention it deserves, but this solution is the lowest common denominator.

  • Freedom of Artistic Expression is Sacrosanct

    Though this is a university decision and not a government one, it is nonetheless a use of political authority to silence a student's expression purely based on the content of that expression. When it comes to this sort of lamentable and short-sighted decision, nobody put it better than Justice Brennan:

    “Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning… the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence…. Such must be the rule if authority is to be reconciled with freedom.”

    If you are deeply offended by Shvarts’s project, then say so. If you feel it is a disgrace to the university, then say so. If you feel you must picket, then picket. But do not support an arbitrary hand of authority reaching out to silence one of us. Do not support an administration that attempts to define what is “appropriate“ art and enforce that definition. The symphonies of Dmitrti Shostakovich were banned by such a power for a time. Vaclav Havel went to prison for his plays.

    I am not saying that Shvarts’s artwork is on the same level as Shostakovich and Havel. I am saying that those with authority should never attempt to enforce their definition of “appropriate” art, even though the entire world may find it offensive. Remember “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Do not take away our right to be challenged, provoked, and yes, even emotionally hurt by art. Do not sacrifice freedom of expression. That is a price too high for your comfort.

    "

  • Anonymous

    This is part of a larger trend in social depravity.

    http://rawstory.com/news/afp/German_artist_wants_to_put_dying_pe_04212008.html

  • Anonymous

    Some of you seem confused as to why the advisors would get disciplined if this whole project is a hoax.

    The university pays the faculty, thereby making the faculty representatives of Yale. Even if this project is a hoax, the advisors should have been smart enough to realize the PR nightmare that this was going to cause (including loss of donors). The faculty members are supposed to operate in a way that ensures the students get an excellent education while preserving Yale's reputation. They failed to do that here.

    …and before some of you ask….No, I don't work for Yale. It just seems obvious to me why they would be disciplined.

  • Hieronymus

    "The timing could not be worse: Today is the second day of the annual Bulldog Days, a three-day event for which admitted students are invited to visit campus and imbibe the Yale experience."

    Thanks, Aliza, for dragging your alma mater through the mud for selfish purposes.

    How many times have I written of this "Me! Me! Me!" generation?

    BTW: if Aliza chooses to not participate in the art exhibit, how much of her final grade will receive a zero?

  • Out Wrong

    The last paragraph states, "the timing could not be worse." How is this statement to be reconciled with an aim of journalistic objectivity and unbiased reporting? The use of "worse" is a poor choice of words and the writer and editor should exercise better care with of the responsibility entrusted as employees of the student paper.

    Anyone who opposes Shvarts is simply an enemy of liberty and equality and should be ashamed of her or himself.

  • MySelf

    I dont belive in what she did period. I think It is Disgusting and wrong. But In the same sense what Yale is doing is wrong. I Dont mean the not showing it is wrong, I mean making her lie where as she could be telling the truth. I mean, you see Yale supporting her, then you see bad publicity, then you see Yale saying its a hoax, and she is still saying it is real. If Yale supported her and they thought it was all fake then fine, but dont make this girl lie just to cover ur butts when you did support her. It is clear this girl has alota mental issues, anyone who would claim that it is real, or really do this is sick in the head but why on earth make the girl lie about it?

  • Yale 2010

    Let her graduate - it'll get her out of our hair.

  • Anonymous

    Yale is a place for education, but it is also a business. It cannot survive without the financial support of current parents, future parents, and alumni. Aliza just managed to anger 95% of them. Good business sense would dictate that Yale must separate the university from her.

    If she wants to present it elsewhere, fine. However, like Yale, most galleries will probably pass on her project too….for the same reason. Nobody is silencing her. They and every other place has a right to choose what is presented within their walls.

  • Anonymous

    The objection is to her methods, not her message.

  • Anonymous

    It's a good thing Yale's reputation is so much more dear to people here than intellectual inquiry, debate, and ideas, which are now, evidently, entirely excluded from that reputation.

    Shvarts played this school brilliantly. Her project exposed every knee-jerk, hyperbolic tendency Yale has and laid plain what the university's priorities are and where its heart lays.

  • Alum

    Can we move on now?

    Let's put this poopstorm behind us and remember that Yale is about serious intellectual contribution and not one woman's uterine circus.

  • proud of Yale again

    At least I can now graduate without watching Yale devolve into a place for every moron to express their crude and sick "opinions."

  • David

    I think the real issue is not exactly what she did, but that the university can not support someone doing something incredibly detrimental to her body. It would be morally incorrect of the university to gamble with her life, her health, and the money of their supporters & students.

    My analogy would be someone riding their bike into oncoming traffic, playing chicken, and documenting it. Taking overdoses of drugs for 9 months and forcing her body to become pregnant 9 times in a row is a pretty risky thing to do, and not appropriate for a university to support.

    Beyond ethical & moral dilemmas, the university is certainly liable if her health did suffer from this "art", and if she was so interested in this, I think she should have done it on her own time--not as part of her work at the university. It's neither respectful nor considerate of the university's position, nor her fellow students, who are spending money that may not have to attend.

    It would be a poor--unethical--use of their money to fight a lawsuit over an obviously dangerous experiment masked as art. I think the university has a responsibility to uphold it's own reputation, also for the sake of the students, & to have been in agreement with this as a university sanctioned art project would have been in direct opposition to that responsibility.

    Individuals are welcome to view this as they see fit: However, it's ultimately not an issue of free speech or reproductive rights, and I think it's single-point zealotry to pursue it under that banner. I strongly feel that reproductive rights & free speech should not be impinged, yet I think the university should not support (financially or otherwise) an individual gambling with their own health. I don't mean to present this as a "slippery slope" argument: however, I think it definitely does set a standard that other students will try to meet, if this project were supported & accepted.

    I feel badly for the student who thought the university was behind this project, but I think a modicum of common sense could have served her well.

    I also question the validity of her art (and her common sense) if she really hasn't attempted to line up any other venue for this work. I think it illustrates that this is probably designed to get attention & provoke others for reasons that may be less than noble.

  • Andrew

    I just thought everyone might like a little reminder about Yale's--and specifically Dean Salovey's--stance on freedom of expression. Any idea what drastic change happened between now and, oh, the middle of March??

    After campus gets ‘juicier,’ Yale considers legal options
    03/07

    "The option of banning the site altogether could go against Yale’s official policy of protecting freedom of expression “even when some members of the University community fail to meet their social and ethical responsibilities.”

    But the same protection might not extend to anonymous speech, Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said.

    “Anonymous speech does not enjoy the same protections afforded to other kinds of expression — expression where individuals stand behind their words, by Yale’s policies,” he said.
    The official policy does not mention any exceptions for anonymous speech.
    University President Richard Levin said Thursday that he was unfamiliar with JuicyCampus and the surrounding controversy, but blocking any Web site “wouldn’t be our first instinct of response.”

    “I tend to think offensive speech is better countered with more speech, with counterargument, rather than by barring access,” he said."

    Attorney general investigates JuicyCampus
    03/25

    "Administrators at Yale, the only college in Connecticut featured on JuicyCampus, said they welcomed the investigation as a chance to confront the Web forum in ways they could not. Yale is not pursing legal action on its own against the site.

    “While we find Web sites that promote harassment and intimidation inappropriate and we would encourage students to challenge material that they feel is libelous, we do not feel that censoring a Web site is consistent with Yale’s free expression policies,” Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said.

    Salovey’s stance represents a change in
    tone from views he expressed last month when the University mulled over possible responses to the site. At that time, he told the News that anonymous speech like that on JuicyCampus should not enjoy the protections afforded other speech."

    So, moral of the story: administration is not willing to take a stand against a gossip site reminiscent of a high school locker room, but is willing to do so against a piece of student artwork which, whether you are repulsed by it or not, seems to have been carefully crafted, and presented as a genuine intellectual (or emotional) argument.

    Just wanted to make sure we all had our priorities straight.

  • John

    She's a phony, a fraud, and a poser. All she wants is attention. If it's performance art, and there's no performance, then it's not art. She should take up a writing career, she has the imagination but doesn't have the guts to carry it out.

  • Anonymous

    @11 re:"intellectual inquiry" please assist me in understanding how exactly this work participates in any ongoing academic discourse? For this to be academic it needs to participate and offer something other than "ambiguity," which obviously cannot make a claim, present evidence, justify warrants, in other words, produce an argument.

  • A.C.

    Shame on Yale.

    I couldn't agree more with #11; if, as I suspect, the true art project was creating a firestorm which would put Yale's purported values to the test, she's succeeded brilliantly and Yale has failed miserably. Of course, that shouldn't come as any surprise to those of us who have always known that, both here and elsewhere, the bottom line is always the bottom line.

  • other art majors in mind

    although i support general freedom of expression and the message of aliza's work (if not the method), i also support the university's decision to ban the exhibit, considering the circus scene that would have surrounded the art building this following week.
    i'm not an art major myself, but i know a number of art students who have been preparing their senior projects for many months now. allowing artless mayhem to invade the space where other students will exhibit the culmination of their yale studies would have been a remarkably inconsiderate decision on behalf of this institution.

  • Anonymous

    What have we become? Serial murder as art? Fictitious or not, this shows a mental state that is twisted and self centered. This girl needs serious help not an audience to cheer her on.

    Maybe for an encore she can do a fictitious display of kicking crippled, elderly men down 10 flights of stairs. Maybe this can start some converstation around wether or not the elderly are helpfull or harmfull to society.

  • To all the free speech advocates

    I support free speech as much as anyone, but there's a big conceptual difference here. For example, you can write as many editorials as you want advocating the legalization and use of heroin, and the University wouldn't be able to penalize you for it due to your first amendment rights. But if they actually catch you shooting up on campus, they can (and will) discipline you for it. In fact, you'll probably get arrested, so even the thick conception of free speech (the kind that applies to government authority) won't save you then. When you actually do something, instead of just talking about it, it's not just a speech issue anymore. This extends to strongly encouraging other people to commit violence against themselves or others (which is why you can prosecute suicide-cult leaders and riot-starters).
    The University can't encourage students to gamble with their health (especially when the University's liable). Putting up Shvarts' project, if it is indeed real, would do just that. Even if it's not real, and other people believe it is, it will encourage other students to gamble with their physical and mental well-being in the name of "art". Since the University would be liable for any such stunts, and because they actually care about the well-being of their students, they have a legitimate interest in discouraging this sort of idiotic behavior. That's why they'd be okay with it if Shvarts admitted it were a creative fiction- students would know that actually DOING things that severely risk their physical and mental well-being is off-limits for their senior theses.

  • The adminsistration is pathetic

    Whether Salovey knew about this before or not, the project was approved by peopel related to Yale months ago, and it is entirely unfair to refuse Aliza's project at the last minute like this.

    I guess Aliza's project did really challenge norms if it created this much of a reaction.

  • sodak

    good for her for not retracting. and boo to Yale for hanging her out to dry. The art piece was crap, that is not the issue.

  • Dawgson

    More than an art major Aliza is an expert marketer. She's managed to create more buzz through controversy than her work alone ever could.

    This isn't about free expression, it's about manipulating the marketplace. I wonder if she'll get a commission out of this media frenzy.

    Maybe she should be rewarded an MBA rather than a BFA?

  • Yale '10

    In response to this discussion I'll post something I posted yesterday, in response to Chase Oliverius-McAllister's Op-Ed. The second point is pertinent.

    ----

    There are two prominent unrelated flaws in Oliverius-McAllister's argument. They may both have been addressed above; I didn't read all the comments.

    1. Her claim that Salovey lied is unsubstantiated. It probably can't be proven either way, though personally I'm not apt to believe Schvatz over Dean Salovey. She shouldn't base her argument off of something that can't be verified.

    2. There's a distinction between the University tolerating an act of free speech and endorsing it. Oliverius-McAllister claims that Salovey justified the University's "limp reaction" to incidents of hate speech earlier this year by citing the Woodward Report, which (from my understanding) emphasizes the importance of free speech and dialogue on campus. A refusal to show Schvartz's project would not be an abridgment of her speech, it would merely be the University withholding its endorsement from such speech.

    Yale could have done this at any point (advisors and DUS's are not required to approve every senior thesis proposal), and Salovey, as Dean of Yale College, has every right and obligation to do this. Though its probably too late to not give Schvartz credit for her project, the University can still refuse to endorse a senior thesis by putting it on display in University space.

    The fact that Schvartz's advisor and the DUS liked the project doesn't change this. The Art Department doesn't act independently; it functions as part of Yale College and is subordinate to it.

    Salovey, therefore, should not resign his office. Just as Schvartz engaged her reproductive rights and rights to free speech to carry out and publicize her project (however morally dubious that project might be), so Salovey, as a representative of Yale College, is acting on the College's right to not endorse such a project -- the College's right to free speech.

    -----

    The Woodward Report, as Oliverius-McAllister stresses, does place freedom of expression as the paramount value that a university can hold. But it doesn't place freedom of expression as the only value. The paragraph below comes from the Woodward Report.

    "In addition to the university's primary obligation to protect free expression there are also ethical responsibilities assumed by each member of the university community, along with the right to enjoy free expression. Though these are much more difficult to state clearly, they are of great importance. If freedom of expression is to serve its purpose and thus the purpose of the university, it should seek to enhance understanding. Shock, hurt, and anger are not consequences to be weighed lightly… It may sometimes be necessary in a university for civility and mutual respect to be superseded by the need to guarantee free expression."

    Note that in the last sentence quoted above that the need for free speech "sometimes" supersedes one's obligation to civility. This is far from saying that it should always be tolerated, let alone implicitly endorsed, by a University. It's not hard to imagine the University refusing to approve a senior thesis that, say, asserted (as someone has mentioned above) "the moral inferiority of some race." Yale's decision to withhold its approval from Schvartz's project is hardly any different.

    Link to a Yale College page about the Woodward Report, with a link to the report itself:
    http://www.yale.edu/yalecollege/students/administration/documents/speech.html

  • WisconsinActor

    How anyone can defend the deliberate miscarrages & using the human remains as "art" or freedom of speech is beyond me. This isn't art, this a seriously disturbed individual's attempt to pass off her own lack of talent into some sort of radical feminist political statement.

    Kudos to Yale for refusing to display it.

    Ms. Shvarts has received her 15 min. of fame, & will slowly fade from the public view, except to be forever associated with this disgusting event. After all, what reputable gallery would exhibit her work?? In fact, where will she even get a job with this albatross hanging from her neck?? In a college environment, students sometimes forget that eventually, they have to leave the college cocoon, & go out into the real world, & make a living…too bad she didn't take that into consideration.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Dawgson. If this were really about the piece itself, Aliza wouldn't have felt the need to circulate a press release beforehand. As far as I know, none of the other art majors felt their work needed that extra little bit of publicity. A real artist would have let the work speak for itself and wouldn't have intentionally created the media circus that will almost certainly overshadow all her classmates' hard work. Way to go, Aliza, you've shown everyone just how much a selfish, attention-craving nutjob you really are.

    And as far as getting academic approval goes, that entitles her to academic credit (i.e. towards graduation) not a spot in the art gallery. At the very least, the fact that it's (allegedly) actual blood in there creates a serious biohazard (especially since she claims to have been injecting other men's sperm into herself… I don't buy the STD test thing, it takes 6 months for AIDS to show up and one of the donors could have contracted it in, say, month 5 of the project). Biohazard aside, the University can and should choose not to put this up because that will give it the Yale Seal of Approval. Aliza's junior classmates might try to do derivative works and harm themselves in the process, in which case the University would be liable (someone posting on another article made the analogy for suicide- if the University doesn't take steps to discourage it, the family can sue them in court). It's not about speech. Aliza and her friends at the Women's Center can yell all day about how intentionally producing abortions is "interesting and provocative" and the University wouldn't be able to say boo about it. When they actually start doing things that are seriously detrimental to their own health, (and in the case of biohazard or copycat art) the health of others, it stops being a speech issue.

    Some Pro-Lifers may jump on me for not including the aborted embryos. I excluded them in this case because, regardless of whether or not you include them in the moral calculus, from a legal perspective they don't have rights, and cannot therefore limit Aliza's rights to do whatever crazy shit she wants to her body. You might think that's deplorable, but that's how it is. In any case, the University can and should limit her rights to put the thing up if it inflicts serious danger to other individuals (biohazard), or encourages them to endanger themselves.

  • Anon Alum

    By her own standards Ms. Schvarts should receive a very low grade on this project. Compare her project with that of Trashman, who is now convulsing Youtube with his buzzing claims of having infected over 1,000 women with AIDS:

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article1073965.ece

    The Schvarts and Trashman projects are obviously directly comparable, but Trashman's effort is far superior! Ms. Schvarts would have to see the extra public frission of claiming to having committed over 1,000 potentially capital felonies (rather than just claiming to have repeatedly and savagely abused a constitutional right by terminating the lives of a few fetuses) as a big artistic plus! And just think of how the criminal aspect would have enhanced the "uncertainty" quality of her project of which she is so proud and protective! Plus, she would have had the additional benefit of involking yet another federal constitutional right (the right against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment) to ward off the University's demand that she admit her project is fictional. Yes, Ms. Schvarts missed all of these artistic opportunities that Trashman has exploited in his directly comparable project. Yet, Trashman's far superior project is deemed just artidtic trash - nobody is suggesting it would deserve a good grade at the Yale art department. The conclusion that by her own standards Ms. Schwarts deserved no better than a "D-" on her artistically pale project seems unavoidable. Sad.

  • Non-Yale Prof

    I agree with those posters who have noted that the central issue, particularly in terms of disciplining the advisors, has to do with the risk to the student's health. The project would never have passed an ordinarily constituted Ethics Board -- ever -- which suggests that, unless something is deeply, deeply wrong at Yale, it was never submitted to an Ethics Board in the first place. That's grounds for a disciplinary hearing of the faculty involved.

    The key issue here is the distinction, common in law but apparently rare amongst the vanishing devotees of what used to be radical theory, between speech or expression, and action. This point has also been made above, but seems worth re-iterating. The inseminations and ingestion of abortifacients, if they happened, are actions; the recording of the events is expression. It is for the actions that the Ethics Board ought to have been consulted (for projects involving a human subject); no reputable University can afford to disregard Ethics requirements.

    Given the dereliction of duty on the part of the faculty overseeing the project, it's not clear what appropriate steps ought to be taken with regard to graduation requirements. I'm inclined to think that the student ought to be granted a deferral and an opportunity to submit a project that doesn't violate the "human subject" protocols, but your mileage may vary: certainly the contrary view, that as the primary scholar on the project she had an obligation of her own to obtain Ethics approval, is defensible.

    What does not seem to me defensible is the claim that the issue is a free speech one. Again, this depends on a confusion of the project with the experiments undertaken to prepare the project, but it is precisely this sort of confusion that the research and ethics guidelines are designed to avoid.

  • JN

    One of the better things I've seen written on the Yale-Shvarts drama:

    "For those of us in the contemporary-art business, the Yale squabble isn’t all that interesting. Ms Shvarts’s undergraduate project sounds so, well, so undergraduate. Contrary to what a lot of people may think, her project wouldn’t make it into a serious contemporary gallery and, if it did, it wouldn’t get much traction with the press or the public. Ms. Shvarts’s project is getting attention mostly because it’s at an elite university, where it has students, professors, administrators, and college flacks running to the free-speech and culture-wars barricades. Almost everyone in the art world has been there and done that, a long time ago.

    "The real stuff — e.g., performance works by such artists as Carolee Schneeman, Ana Mendieta, Karen Finley, Chris Burden or Annie Sprinkle in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s — was bitter, shocking, risky, and always on the line. It took place in funky, rented venues, and not the cushioned halls of ivy. Sometimes it was stupid, but sometimes it was powerful and moving.

    The dispiriting part about Shvarts’s tempestuous teapot isn’t really the art — whether it’s morally offensive, or not, or good, or bad — but the fact that putatively edgy art projects are really guided to completion by faculty advisers who inexorably turn what was once upon a time a fierce counter-voice to culture into soft, risk-free, pseudo-avant-garde exercises in calculated offensiveness."

    Source: http://chronicle.com/review/brainstorm/fendrich/art-for-shvarts-sake

  • alum

    A few points with respect to this article and the situation resulting from Aliza Shvarts' senior project:

    - there are no First Amendment issues involved here. The First Amendment addresses restraints by the government, not private persons, including a private university.

    - the claims that the Dean of Yale College and the other senior Yale officials who met with Shvarts are now jointly lying to protect Yale's reputation is risible. Shvarts herself speaks in gibberish, seemingly intending to obscure the truth. The student who wrote a column and accused the Dean of lying, speaks without personal knowledge. If Shvarts wants to establish the truth of her various statements, she could produce supportive circumstantial evidence, surely. Fact and fiction seem to be one and the same to Shvarts: "No one can say with 100-percent certainty that anything in the piece did or did not happen," she said.

    - claims of bad faith by Yale are off the mark. There is seemingly no question but that several advisors supported Shvarts' project in some fashion (although it isn't clear whether they supported a project that purported to be fictional or if they thought she was actually performing the bizarre acts she has now claimed). Yale doesn't deny the complicity of these advisors; indeed it says it has taken disciplinary action against them. The project was a grotesque distortion of an appropriate senior project that no sensible adult should have sanctioned, whether the project involved the claimed actions or only the fictional claim of them.

    - artistic freedom is not the issue. So long as Shvarts doesn't violate the law, she is free to engage in whatever passes as art these days. She isn't entitled to have her stunts sanctioned by Yale, though. That misguided advisors may have provided that sanction doesn't mean more senior officials shouldn't disassociate the University from it when they learn of it.

  • 2010

    "- artistic freedom is not the issue. So long as Shvarts doesn't violate the law, she is free to engage in whatever passes as art these days. She isn't entitled to have her stunts sanctioned by Yale, though. That misguided advisors may have provided that sanction doesn't mean more senior officials shouldn't disassociate the University from it when they learn of it."

    This sums up the entire issue.

  • Call me crazy but….

    I don't think I've seen a post regarding this issue, but I do have to ask….
    How many people have multiple male friends who would be willing to provide the umm, sample for the turkey baster?
    My male friends would laugh me out of the room.

  • Wayne Dougan

    This goes to show why Yale needs a Dean of Common Sense. So when someone in the ranks of our fine school says "Hey, maybe we should have a member of the Taliban attend Yale", or "I think a girl having multiple abortions for an art exhibit is good idea", the Dean of Common Sense would step in and say "You know what, that would be stupid. We're not going to allow that." And all our problems would be solved.

  • user

    I'm not sure about the claim in Chronicle article above that no contemporary gallery would show this work. The beauty of getting herself banned from the Yale exhibit is that a commercial gallery will take the opportunity to bring the publicity to themselves by showing her work. Good for everyone all around.

    I do wish she would stop calling her acts "miscarriages" though. They're abortions. Worse than the materials she used is the lack of conceptual rigor in her work, which the "miscarriages" issue is just one part of. Maybe the work would be more acceptable if she was better able to represent it conceptually.

  • Anon

    The Chronicle article doesn't claim that no contemporary gallery would show this work. It claims that no *serious* contemporary gallery would show this work.

  • Art on Art

    "Anyone who opposes Shvarts is simply an enemy of liberty and equality and should be ashamed of her or himself."

    It is just this kind of statement that exposes the vacuous, navel-gazing, narcissistic mindset that is this most unfortunate generation.
    Can we please skip this generation and go on to the next one?

  • Sheila

    I hope that this young woman is evaluated psychologically. I hope her parents and college staff care enough to seek help for her. She truly is in need of professional assistance. If what she did is true, there are indeed medical consequences to her body. If what she said is not true, she needs to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

  • On health (re #21)

    #21 your argument is specious. By that logic, any war correspondent's footage used as art would also be suspect, because filming in a conflict zone is definitely physically and emotionally hazardous. Just because the art was created at major risk to the health and psyche of the artist, it does not mean that the art is to be less honored. Now I'm not implying that her project's means justify its end; I only mean to say that her self-endangerment cannot be considered a viable basis for appeal.

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