The Art of Murder

By Ben Domenech Posted in Comments (31) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

The Yale Daily News reports that art major Aliza Shvarts has an intriguing and controversial new art project.  Yawn.  When we say "controversial" about art, it always seems to come back to excrement, Jesus, or both.  What was hailed as "brave" and "courageous" a few years ago, however, is now so passe.  Piss Christ?  That's for sellouts.

Thus, young Ms. Shvarts came up with a novel way to create her unique project: she artificially inseminated herself, and destroyed the results.

[Shvarts project is] 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...

What a beautiful and terrible thing Ms. Shvarts has done. 

Beautiful from her perspective - the rebelliousness of it all, a multitudinous expression of what goes on every weekend at thousands of college campuses (seek out a donor, destroy the result, move on).  The organic symmetry of having such a process play out over the nine month period in which one life has created.  People will recoil, and she will - whether she admits it or not - revel in it.

The comments on the Gawker entry are illuminating.  People are horrified, but then angry, saying the young woman has given a gift to the pro-life cause.  But if a right is limitless - as Barack Obama wishes it to be, and as so many on the extreme pro-choice left do as well - what is wrong about excercising it to the fullest?  She is at liberty to do so.  How can you be angry at her?  What argument can you stand on if, as your own principles maintain, no one has a voice in the matter but the woman herself? 

Terrible?  Only a beast would say exercising a right, a Constitutional right no less, should be called terrible.  How dare you say her actions should be prohibited.  Everything Ms. Shvarts has done is perfectly legal.  If she wants to make her womb Sheol, it is her right.  This is her body.  It is her choice.  She needs no reason.  She is old enough to need no permission.  And in the end, all she has done is create art out of her children, as so many parents do.  In this, she has excelled.  You take yours to Wal Mart for head shots and hang them on walls in cheap frames.  She will make hers famous.

Her children, who died alone.

It is a hard thing to be an art critic.  It is harder still to be an art critic in an age when art is so poorly defined.  When everything is art, nothing is.  The best encapsulation of the difficulty, I think, is Daniel Patrick Moynihan's brilliant spoof when asked to dedicate a new piece of "art" which was really just a big prow of a junker put on a pedestal.  After giving a purposefully ridiculous speech on the matter, he closed succinctly: "It will be with us a long time."

The young woman says she worries not about her body, or the consequences.  She is a dedicated artist.  And Aliza Shvarts' works of art will be with her for a long time indeed. 

They will be with her forever.


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"The most dangerous form in which oppression can overshadow a community is that of popular sway" -James Fenimore Cooper

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"If we want to take this party back, and I think we can someday, let’s get to work." – Barry Goldwater

She didn't mean to make everyone all upset. What's your deal, man???

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The Red Sox Republican: Burkeanism, Baseball, and Sundries.

__________________________________________________

The blogger formerly known as "Alexham"

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/warner-todd-huston/2008/04/17/yale-students...

"I ain't never votin' fo another Democrat so long as I can draw breath! I'll vote for a dog first!" - Leola Thomas

I agree it's not fact, but the evidence they throw out there would need some pretty strong refutations. I think they are probably right.

And they don't even address one question I have: how soon is it possible to get pregnant after a miscarriage? I'm no medical expert, but you can't get pregnant immediately after a miscarriage, can you? I mean, it's not like you can miscarry one day and get pregnant again the next, I wouldn't think. Can anybody confirm or deny this?

"I ain't never votin' fo another Democrat so long as I can draw breath! I'll vote for a dog first!" - Leola Thomas

Artificial insemination requires more than someone being, ahem, a willing donor unless it's, you know, "freshly squeezed".

Moreover, as anyone who's said "let's have a kid!" can tell you, it takes a little more effort than... erm... it's difficult to talk about this without using the language I'm used to using on this topic... well. You have to try a lot. Yes, it just sort of happens a good portion of the time. But a watched pot never boils and all that.

Moreover, the method of inducing self-abortion that she's talking about is about as iffy as artificial insemination. Sure, it works sometimes... but you can't *COUNT* on it.

What she has is blood, sure. It may even be her own. It may even be her own collected from... well. You know.

What I sincerely doubt is that what she has is what she claims she has.

I would sincerely doubt it if she had a dozen (or however many) + pregnancy tests in ziploc bags in front of the blood samples.

What she has is the idea that art that causes the audience to deeply and viscerally flinch is superior to art that causes the audience to nod and say "that's nice" before moving on.

Man is free at the moment he wishes to be. --Voltaire

I would sincerely doubt it if she had a dozen (or however many) + pregnancy tests in ziploc bags in front of the blood samples.

What she has is the idea that art that causes the audience to deeply and viscerally flinch is superior to art that causes the audience to nod and say "that's nice" before moving on.

That phrasing sounds familiar, but it may be deja vu. At any rate, well put.

--
Gone 2500 years, still not PC.

Made similar points in the other thread.

Man is free at the moment he wishes to be. --Voltaire

came from doing what some people do in college: have sex with lots and lots of different people.

But that's not what she said.

If it comes out that what she did was *NOT* artificially inseminate but have sex... will you be surprised to hear that the blood was not one of many "herbally induced" abortions but the residue of the much more mundane moon sickness?

Man is free at the moment he wishes to be. --Voltaire

But could she even get pregnant that many times that fast even if she was having sex? I don't think you can get pregnant the day after you have a miscarriage.

"I ain't never votin' fo another Democrat so long as I can draw breath! I'll vote for a dog first!" - Leola Thomas

A womans body will take a break for about 1-3 months..
I'm sure there is exceptions...I've seen very pregnant women with very young babies.

Three kids for me and wifey

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than those people in households that don't have guns."

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The Red Sox Republican: Burkeanism, Baseball, and Sundries.

Here is my response to her "art"
1- Launch a very public lawsuit with Yale as co-defendant

2- Find one of the "donors" to make it even more legally complex

3-Test the limit of every Federal and state law that applies

4- If convicted, she should have a mandatory sentence of sterilization since her impact on the human gene pool is overtly deleterious

Her parents must be so proud!

"Nec Aspera Terrent"
bene ambula et redambula
Contributor to The Minority Report

Yeah, that's a rallying cry.

Man is free at the moment he wishes to be. --Voltaire

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That this was a huge piece of performance art...

That the "real" art was the huge public outcry...

That the "real" art was to show how it is now illegal to say that you had an abortion...

What then?

Yes, what she did was *MONUMENTALLY* offensive. This is an opportunity to talk about *WHY* it was so offensive (if abortion is legal, why are you upset? If abortion on demand is the law of the land, then why did you get so angry at this exhibit? If you are pro-choice, why did you clench your fists as you read this story?).

To involve the courts is to turn the discussion into a discussion of how "the right" wants to throw people in jail for art exhibits about things they don't like.

Talk about "safe, legal, rare" and ask folks why "rare" resonates so much and why this art exhibit irritated so many feminists as well as pro-lifers.

To involve the police??? The courts???

That is to cause an unforced error in response to perhaps the biggest opening for a discussion for the pro-life position since Bork's nomination.

Man is free at the moment he wishes to be. --Voltaire

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My guess is that this Shvartz chick just faked the planet out, and coming from Yale, it seems she got her money's worth out of that education.

It's not unprecedented. People lie about abortions (and miscarriages) all the time, and in art, a lie can be just as easily important as the truth. It's all about discourse and competing narratives.

Welcome to the 21st Century.

A Yale education wouldn't be worth the money if it didn't prepare the bearer of that education to transcend society while at the same time pulling it's strings. That's why Yale exists.

Of course, absent DNA testing from the "fabricators" and the "mom", there's no way to prove whether or not the art project is a fake or is just a very inventive confabulation designed to make a name for one Aliza Shvarts. And, of course, that is a part of what she intended.

I've been down this road before, personally. The only difference was that my experience was on a much smaller scale, for much more petty purposes of small-time extortion. It takes someone from Yale University to do it in a way that gets mentioned on Drudge.

Statement by Helaine S. Klasky -
Yale University, Spokesperson:
New Haven, Connecticut - April 17, 2008

"Ms. Shvarts is engaged in performance art. Her art project includes visual representations, a press release and other narrative materials. She stated to three senior Yale University officials today, including two deans, that she did not impregnate herself and that she did not induce any miscarriages. 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.

She is an artist and has the right to express herself through performance art.

Had these acts been real, they would have violated basic ethical standards and raised serious mental and physical health concerns."

http://www.yale.edu/opa/

... they would have violated basic ethical standards and raised serious mental and physical health concerns."

Question for the pro-choicers: Why?

Man is free at the moment he wishes to be. --Voltaire

Oh, they'd have some reason. "We don't like abortion, we think it's mean, gross, sad, etc. We just think they should be able to make that choice."

In other words, they'd dodge the point, which is if it's a life, doesn't it deserve protection? And if it isn't, why is it mean, sad, etc.

"I ain't never votin' fo another Democrat so long as I can draw breath! I'll vote for a dog first!" - Leola Thomas

1. Thank God.

2. Please, all those pro-choicers who say they recoiled in fright at such acts, explain to me and birdmojo: why?

but I'll try.

I'm pro choice. It is an intellectual support, as in, I don't think I could bear the pain of having one myself (that is, my girlfriend getting one, since I'm a guy).

There are TONS of problems with this point of view, yes; and you probably know all the arguments against abortion, so let's set that aside. You see, being "pro-life" is very, very hypocritical.

Look at it this way: to be truly "pro-life" you would have to be against any and ALL types of war (which means you are anti-Iraq and want the troops out NOW, as I do); you would be a vegetarian or even vegan (which I am NOT), because eating meat kills animals; you would not wear leather or other things made from animal parts (I love my leather jacket).

To be truly pro-life, you have to be a Jain. I mean, it's the only religion I know of that truly commits to being "pro-life." (Look it up.) So we "normal" people of the Culture of Death are selective about what and whom we kill. Take me: anti-war but pro-steak. You might be pro-war but anti-abortion - we all pick and choose what we're willing to kill and what we aren't. I will kill a cow, but I am disgusted at the concept of someone killing another human being.

So let's be a bit more rational - we have to realize that we must either acknowledge that all life is sacred and become devout Jains - covering our mouths so that we don't swallow bugs, sweeping the ground before us so we don't step on bugs and staying off the grass so that we don't hurt the plants, all while maintaining a vegan diet.

Or we have to shut up about all this "pro-life" nonsense and admit that we are hypocrites and that we simply disagree about what it is ok to kill and what it is not ok to kill.

But a fetus, while human, while alive, while precious, is not a person. This is where Fake Pro-Lifers and Pro-Choicers disagree. You say the fetus is a person, I disagree. We BOTH agree that it's ok to kill SOME things. We just disagree that killing a fetus is ok. We both agree that killing animals for food is awesome, but killing a fetus to maintain your life, your hopes and your dreams (many people's hopes and dreams do NOT include babies) is not awesome.

So, why would impregnating yourself and repeatedly aborting the fetus be disgusting to Pro Choicers? Because it's excessive and wanton killing.

Some killing is ok. Excessive killing is not.

Aborting a fetus to preserve your hopes for your life, good. Impregnating yourself just to kill the fetus, bad.

As an analogy, take killing for food: killing a deer in the woods in order to make venison, awesome.
Killing every deer in the woods because you do not like them, not awesome.

:)

Think about it. Hopefully I've convinced you of one of two things: 1) that abortion has its place in the world and is acceptable within limits. Or 2) I've convinced you of your hypocrisy as someone who claims to be "pro-life" and have inspired you to pursue a new life as a Jain monk in order to get square with your "pro-life" philosophy.

P.S. I think Jainism is silly. I'm a Buddhist myself.

You see, being "pro-life" is very, very hypocritical.

Look at it this way: to be truly "pro-life" you would have to be against any and ALL types of war (which means you are anti-Iraq and want the troops out NOW, as I do); you would be a vegetarian or even vegan (which I am NOT), because eating meat kills animals; you would not wear leather or other things made from animal parts (I love my leather jacket).

Do you know what "hypocritical" means? I'll wait while you look it up. [drums fingers...] It means acting in discord with stated views. It doesn't mean merely inconsistent, which is what you're arguing here. But that's not the main problem with your argument.

"To be truly pro-life",

The labels "pro-life" and "pro-choice" are mere shorthand, and attempting to impute a complete philosophy into two hyphenated words is bound to fail. The two phrases give a quick "yes" or "no" answer to the question of abortion, and that is all they do.

Similarly, your post finds no difference between human and non-human life. As if we could survive a single minute without our bodies killing bacteria.

There are times (e.g., in war, in fighting crime) when it is necessary to kill another person. Abortion, except in the almost hypothetical case of saving the mother, is not one of those times.

--
Gone 2500 years, still not PC.

Sorry, I drop important points when I rush. I meant "Intellectual, as in I wouldn't do it myself, but I think it's ok for people to do in general."

Bash away!

 
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