Student’s artwork purports to show abortions

Yale University says it will not install an art project by a student who claims to have filmed herself inducing repeated abortions unless she includes a disclaimer saying it is a work of fiction.

The university also says an instructor and an adviser made ”serious errors of judgement” in letting the project go forward.

Aliza Shvarts’s work was described last Thursday in a story in the Yale Daily News. She told the newspaper she had artificially inseminated herself ”as often as possible” while taking herbal drugs to induce miscarriages.

The account was widely reported by media outlets and in blogs before Yale issued a statement saying it had investigated and found it all to be a hoax that was Shvarts’s idea of elaborate ”performance art”.

It was not clear if Shvarts’s instructor knew from the outset that her piece was a hoax. Yale spokesperson Tom Conroy declined to clarify that on Monday night, saying the school would stick to its written statement.

Normally, Shvarts’s project would be installed at the School of Art for critique and discussion with a committee of faculty.

”In this case, we will not permit her to install the project unless she submits a clear and unambiguous written statement that her installation is a work of fiction: that she did not try to inseminate herself and induce miscarriages, and that no human blood will be physically displayed in her installation,” Peter Salovey, dean of Yale College, said in the statement.

The work was scheduled to go on display on Tuesday. Conroy said the matter had not been resolved by Monday night.

Salovey said an instructor responsible for the senior project should not have allowed it to go forward. He also said an adviser should have interceded and consulted others when first given information about the project.

Yale says ”appropriate action” has been taken in those cases. Conroy would not say what action was taken or disclose the names of the adviser and instructor.

When confronted by three senior Yale officials, including two deans, Shvarts acknowledged that she was never pregnant and did not induce abortions, officials said.

But in a guest column published in Friday’s student newspaper, Shvarts insists the project was real. She describes her ”repeated self-induced miscarriages”, although she allows that she never knew if she was actually pregnant.

Shvarts told the paper her goal was to spark conversation and debate on the relationship between art and the human body.

Attempts to contact her on Monday night were not successful. The phone number listed for her in the Yale directory has been disconnected. — Sapa-AP

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