Filed under: Art Pranks, Fact or Fiction?, You Decide
Submitted by Rose Foster:
Yale student claims to make art from her induced miscarriages–but it’s a hoax [Editor's note: see updates at the end in which she claims it is not a hoax]
Aliza Shvarts ‘Abortion Art’ Project a ‘Creative Fiction,’ Yale Says
by David Emery
About.com: Urban Legends
April 17, 2008
Yale art student Aliza Shvarts delivered a one-two punch to the media on Thursday, beginning with the announcement of her senior project: an exhibition chronicling a nine-month period during which she impregnated herself “as often as possible” with semen from voluntary donors then videotaped herself inducing miscarriages and preserving the bloody byproducts thereof. “I hope it inspires some sort of discourse,” Shvarts was quoted as saying in the Yale Daily News. She got her wish in spades. The announcement sent shock waves through the blogosphere, eliciting disgust and outrage from every quarter, expressed via headlines on the order of “The Art of Murder” and “Aliza Shvarts Is a Monster.”
Hours later came an announcement from the Yale University Office of Public Affairs stating that the art project was just that — art. “The entire project is … a creative fiction designed to draw attention to the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman’s body,” read the statement by Yale spokesperson Helaine Klasky. “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 statement went on to acknowledge that had they been real, Shvarts’ actions would have “violated basic ethical standards and raised serious mental and physical health concerns.” It concluded by defending Ms. Shvarts’ right to express herself, a right she can certainly be said to have exercised to the fullest.
The story continues. Via Museum of Hoaxes, we learn that Yale art student Aliza Shvarts is contradicting a Yale spokesperson’s claim that the student’s senior project involving serial pregnancies and induced miscarriages is a “creative fiction.”
In follow-up statements to the Yale Daily News Shvarts insisted that she really did inseminate herself with a syringe and took abortifacient herbs to induce bleeding, though she doesn’t know whether she was ever actually pregnant.
“No one can say with 100-percent certainty that anything in the piece did or did not happen,” Shvarts was quoted as saying, “because the nature of the piece is that it did not consist of certainties.”
Neither, therefore, did this report. I will update you with further uncertainties as they develop.