miscarriage as art

It was reported today that Aliza Schvarts, an undergraduate art student at Yale, artificially inseminated herself several times and terminated the pregnancies as part of her senior art project. According to the story, she videotaped herself miscarrying and used the resulting biological material in her work. I’m hoping that the whole thing is a clever ruse, designed to spark meaningful dialogue around the issue of women’s reproductive rights, but I suspect it’s not. My gut tells me it’s real. I’ve met too many artists over the years that I know would have done this if only they’d had the idea first, and access to sperm and day-after drugs.

I think I’ve mentioned it here before, but a friend of a friend, an art student in New York, a few years ago decided to buy illegal drugs over the internet from Pakistan that would cause her to lactate. The idea was that she’d create milk, and then drink the milk to sustain herself, creating this perfect circle in which she sustained herself and required no other nutrients. I remember seeing photos of her industrial breast pump. I don’t recall the specifics, but I think the experiment went badly. Apparently you can’t live too long on your own excretions.

I knew this story about the Yale student really affected me when I read that a charred and smoldering man was found in Ann Arbor today, and my first thought was, “senior art project.”

Speaking of senior art projects, have I ever told you about my old friend Tubbs? He went out west to work on a ranch prior to graduation. He had a plan, you see… His project, as it turns out, was to involve branding, and he wanted to see how it was done firsthand. Story has it that Tubbs, upon returning, recruited some friends to help him. For his senior project, he ran through the gallery naked, as his friends, dressed like cowboys, chased him with lassos. He struggled, but it was no use. He was hogtied and branded in front of his guests… So, yeah, I think this woman probably terminated several pregnancies for her art… I just hope she knows what she’s doing. I also heard today that it was ruled acceptable to beat Yale students.

update: Yale issued a statement saying that it was “creative fiction designed to draw attention to the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman’s body.”

update: Looks like I might have been right after all. Aliza Shvarts is claiming that Yale lied when they issued the statement saying that her project wasn’t real.

This entry was posted in Art and Culture. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.


  1. mark
    Posted April 17, 2008 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    And, for what it’s worth, I don’t believe this is the Brian Tubbs I knew.

  2. Posted April 17, 2008 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Hmmmm, I wonder if the pictures could be put on large posters and displayed along Michigan Ave this year. Or is that anti-abortion campaign over now?

  3. Ol' E Cross
    Posted April 17, 2008 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    I would be shocked and offended, but after this, I have become numb to what lengths “artists” will go for a passing moment of the publics’ attention.

  4. mark
    Posted April 18, 2008 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    And I forgot to mention that I have asked her to be in the next Shadow Art Fair.

  5. Tommy
    Posted April 18, 2008 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Ride ’em, cowboy! What Fraternity were you in?

  6. Paw
    Posted April 18, 2008 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Abortion By Unicorn

    would be the best album title EVER!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


BUY LOCAL... or shop at Amazon through this link Banner Initiative Josh Tear Header