Design Drama

documenting the delicate dance of design

Artistic controversy April 17, 2008

Filed under: artistic angst,controversy,Uncategorized,what the ??? — Beth D @ 7:52 pm
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Since my days an art student, I’ve had more conversations than I can count about the methods artists take to become famous and the directions in which they elevate their art to get it noticed in order to sell work. Almost all art students I’ve talked to agree that creating controversy is the easiest way to get noticed, but a total cop out because usually it involves a mediocre piece of art that otherwise wouldn’t make a blip on the radar.

Once again we have one of these “artists” rising up through the ranks of the media through the method of doing something shocking for their work to be viewed.

Yale art major, Aliza Shvarts, says she wanted to make a statement with her senior art project: a documentation of a nine-month process of artificially inseminating herself “as often as possible” then taking drugs to induce miscarriages. She then filmed the miscarriages and collected the bodily fluids to preserve them for her thesis.

I’m at a loss here.

Remember Piss Christ?? this was the controversial photograph by American photographer Andres Serrano — the photograph showed a small plastic crucifix submerged in a glass of the photographers own urine. Religious groups were outraged, as were people who maintain that government funding of this artwork violates the separation of church and state — but others defended the work as saying it was a statement as to what the world has done to Christ and how society undervalues religion.

The last big broohaa in the art world was Eric Fischl’s bronze, Tumbling Woman, a depiction of the moment a woman hits the ground after jumping from the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attacks. Many felt that the subject matter and display were too graphic — but others argued back that 9/11 was a graphic event and should be depicted in a true to nature manner. Adding fuel to the fire, the statue was displayed for on the lower concourse of Rockefeller Center in NYC. I personally reacted to “Tumbling Woman” as a Guernica for this generation… an artist’s reaction to a horrifying event. Sure, we wanted to turn our eyes and pretend that planes hadn’t hit the Twin Towers and that 3,000 people hadn’t been wiped out. But it DID happen, and being shocked and outraged by a piece of art is hardly as shocking or outraging as the events of that day.

But back to the Yale student.

From the Yale Daily News:

“Shvarts emphasized that she is not ashamed of her exhibition, and she has become increasingly comfortable discussing her miscarriage experiences with her peers.

“It was a private and personal endeavor, but also a transparent one for the most part,” Shvarts said. “This isn’t something I’ve been hiding.”

Call me crazy, but when something is truly “a private and personal endeavor”, one doesn’t put it in a gallery for the world to see.

For the record, I am about as pro-choice as they come and I am against censorship. Neither do I need, nor want some old man in Congress telling me what to do with my body & I can make my own decisions as to what I view and what I’ll spend my money to inject into my life. However, this is just completely horrifying to me. Sure, freedom of speech, 1st amendment… blah blah blah. But to trivialize what is a very personal and painful decision for so many people — well, I find that disgusting and definitely not artistic in any way, shape or form.

And, I’m calling Aliza Shvarts out here: you didn’t do this for “art”– you did it for fame.

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One Response to “Artistic controversy”

  1. Jeff Clark Says:

    I once saw some “pro-life art” at an exhibit in LA. It was a mobile made of rusty coat hangers and spray painted red. It made its point……


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