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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Art for Art's Sake

The New York Sun reports one of the more bizarre stories to come out of Yale recently (if it is possible to use the comparative with "bizarre" in any story from Yale), that of co-ed Miss Aliza Shvart, who claims to have "repeatedly impregnated herself and induced abortions that she videotaped for use in a senior art project." Gratifyingly, in this cynical age, the story got wide press until a Yale administrator revealed it as hoax, claiming Ms. Shvart was engaged in "performance art;" that "[t]he 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.” Ah, that's what it is, we were wondering. We can assume Ms. Shvart is also engaging in "transgressing boundaries"and other Po-Mo stuff, which imparts that certain je ne sais quoi found only in the most distinguished opera of performance art.

We also learn from the Sun article Miss Shvart has an impressive portfolio; that she has several compositions under her belt including a work performed in lower Manhattan at Federal Hall, at a performance art event in 2006. Miss Shvart's opus consisted of her standing and reciting (we may assume in an elevated tone) the following. "We have this huge fucking institution telling us: ‘That’s what power looks like. That’s what empowerment looks like.’ It’s these patriarchal, heteronormative trappings of a voice, of a right to speak, but really I think we should think more about it." Yes we should, Miss Shvart, and we thank you for bringing it to our attention.

Of further interest is the Federal Hall event where Miss Shvart so generously shared her genius was sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Cultural (sic) Council, with the "generous support of the September 11 Fund." It is good to know the donations to that charity, founded to "meet the needs of affected victims, families and communities" resulting from that dreadful day, are being spent so wisely and efficaciously.

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