Saturday, April 19, 2008

That's what the Roman Catholic Church has dubbed modern society, and I admit I at first was stymied by this. I wanted to say "No, you have it all wrong. We are a society, culture, and world, that celebrates life."
It turns out, the Catholic Church was definitely ahead of the curve, on this.
Consider Ms. Shvarts, a Yale student who claimed she had deliberately impregnated herself, several times, in order to
create numerous miscarriages, which she then videotaped(her on a toliet). She then preserved the tissue/fluids with petroleum jelly("so it wouldn't dry out") and prepared to hang this material in sheets, overhead, as her Yale "art project".
As I read the details of this "art project", I was sickened, and found it hard to believe. Several posters to salon. com commented that it sounded like a hoax. Turns out, this one was.
Apparently, Ms. Shvarts thought it an interesting concept to make people feel physically nauseated(mission accomplished, Ms. Shvarts!).Actually, I don't know precisely WHAT her intention was, but even conceiving(pardon the awful pun here) of such an "art project" is inherently cruel. And cruelty apparently, sells.
The recent examples at San Francisco Art Institute and Adel Abdessemed's "art" involving deliberate execution of several animals by hammer, and the even more recent example of an art gallery inviting back an "artist" who rounded up a dog from the street, only to then tie a rope around his(the dog's) neck, and leaving him to starve to death. In the art gallery, on exhibit, for all to see/watch. There is even video of guests of the gallery, "art" patrons, milling about, chatting, as an emaciated dog lies in the middle of the floor, dying.(And no, I did NOT click on these images--I do not want this in my head--but it is absolutely true).
So we do have a culture of death. A culture that celebrates animals being killed for no reason other than the ego of an "artist"; a dog starved to death for the same reason, and a woman(bears mentioning her gender again, as we women are supposedly the beings with so much empathy) art student decides it's clever or witty or insightful --not to challenge us--
but to sicken us by alledging she used her body to create something alive, only to banish it--for sport.
Whatever this trend in academia is, please stop it.
I always considered myself a proud intellectual, a thinker who acts, who writes, who empathizes, who feels.
But I want no part of this.
And as far as the Catholic Church goes, when they spoke of a culture of death, they were speaking against war, especially preemptive war(our invasion of Iraq for example); they were speaking against abortion because the Church believes all human life, sacred; they were speaking against capital punishment(for the same reason they are against abortion--all human life is sacred, and of God).
When these "artists" speak, they are working in a medium that ideally should raise our consciousness...I am not implying all art should be "uplifting"...certainly, art can horrify(case in point, the exhibits which memoralize the Holocaust).
In cases where horrifying the audience may be justified, the artist is documenting history, questioning motive, and examining our response(or lack thereof). In these recent examples, however, cruelty is created for cruelty's sake. Such a lack of imagination should not be rewarded with grants, with support, and with the blessings of universities.

In spite of tremendous wrongs in the Catholic Church(the sex-abuse scandal, the utter disregard for ordination of women priests,non-inclusive policies towartds LGBT people), they have my deepest respect on their perception and our reality of our very sad...Culture of Death.
For more details on the story I referenced above, read on...

Yale: Student artwork purporting to show abortion a hoax
By PAT EATON-ROBB – 1 day ago
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Yale University art student duped the student newspaper with a story about inducing repeated abortions on herself and using the blood for her senior art project, the school said Thursday.
The story about Aliza Shvarts' project, published Thursday in the Yale Daily News, swept across blogs and media outlets — including the Drudge Report, Fox News and The Washington Post — before Yale issued a statement saying it investigated and found it all to be a hoax that was Shvarts' idea of elaborate "performance art."
"The 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," said Yale spokeswoman Helaine Klasky.
Shvarts' "performance art" included visual representations, a news release and other narrative materials, Klasky said. When confronted by three senior Yale officials, including two deans, Shvarts acknowledged that she was never pregnant and did not induce abortions.
Shvarts told the student paper that she planned to display a work that consisted of a cube lined with plastic sheets with a blood-and-petroleum-jelly mixture in between, onto which she would project video footage of herself "experiencing miscarriages in her bathroom tub."
The newspaper's account detailed "a nine-month process during which (Shvarts) artificially inseminated herself 'as often as possible' while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages."
Shvarts told the paper her goal was to spark conversation and debate on the relationship between art and the human body.
Cullen MacBeth, the student newspaper's managing editor, declined to comment Thursday.
Shvarts could not be reached for comment. Her telephone number was disconnected and she did not respond to e-mails or a knock on the door at the address listed for her in the campus directory in New Haven.
Groups both for and against abortion rights expressed outrage over the affair.
Ted Miller, a spokesman for NARAL Pro-Choice America, called the concept offensive and "not a constructive addition to the debate over reproductive rights."
Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, an anti-abortion group, said his anger was not mitigated by the fact that Shvarts was never pregnant.
"I'm astounded by this woman's callousness," he said. "There are thousands of women in this country who are dealing with the pain of having had an abortion, with the trauma of having suffered a miscarriage. For her to make light of that for her own purposes is just beyond words."


Selma said...

Lisa, I can't tell you how sickened I am by this. It is definitely not the way I define art. The story of the dog being tied up and left to die is horrifying to an animal lover like me. I actually am in tears. It is reprehensible. What are these people thinking?

Lisa Allender said...

I know, I know... I did not even want to say who the artists are, because it gives publicity to these sick blankety-blanks...the dog being left to die from starvation was just abominable. I don't understand why in the world anyone would want to do that. I suppose these folks are sadistic, and they wrap themselves in the term "artist", to try to get away with these cruel acts, by claiming they are "expressing" something...
I think the gallery that allowed the dog to be tied up and left to starve, should be just as liable as the guy who they are calling the artist--both that guy and the gallery, in my opinion, should be prosecuted for cruelty to/blatant disregard for/causing the death of/ a domestic animal.

Anonymous said...

I can't even deal with the abortion art project. Unless truth AND beauty is involved in the creation of art, I'm not sure of its role. I can't see beauty in the way that thing was presented so it's not art to me. Just shock.

As for the RC church: you know I go, and the reason I go is because, IF IT IS EVEN POSSIBLE to look beyond the wrongs it has done since its inception (the wars IT has fought in the name of God...) then you can see that today, it is asking all of us to take care of each other, regardless of where we come from. It is asking us to become a community of people again. It is asking us to return to sanity.

And this is not the papal decree, this is individual churches scattered around the country who understand and are mired in the daily trials of its parishioners and give them actual guidance on how to live right.

I don't think I can ever forgive/get on board with the Catholic church, especially not now that Mr. Prada Homophobe is at the helm - but there are ministers/ministries out there, and people out there who ARE doing it right. And if you can find them, you are one of the lucky ones.

Lisa Allender said...

Hi PWADDJ, yeah--that "abortion art project" left me with feelings of disgust and contempt(not things I want to hold onto!).
I agree about RC Church. I wrote about the churches I've been attending(one in particular) awhile back. Actually, we have great, healing event taking place on Saturday, at St. Jude the Apostle R.C. Church, in Dunwoody/Sandy Springs area of Atlanta. Two families are meeting, who've lost members of their families to the war in the Middle East--one is Palestinian, the other, Israeli...
I think Spirituality is a very individual thing, but I love the "communion/Communion" (both capital "C", and small "c") at R.C. Church..