|I posted this as a comment to the Dimensions blog, but I figure it's worth discussing. A quick sum up: Artist creates performance that includes press releases, news articles, etc and people (understandably) take it at face value. And then respond with even more hate and shortsighted attacks when it's revealed that it was creative fiction. People don't understand how much they are manipulated by the media they consume on a daily basis, and then when art POINTS OUT the manipulation phrases such as "masturbation" and "pretentious" are soon to follow (along with various other insults, and attacks on the artist's appearance, age, race, school, any other easy to notice feature). Like usual, most of the things being discussed have to do with how her details were wrong or how stupid art is, instead of the fact that almost universally the story about "Abortion Art" was spread around and posted almost verbatim, instead of being investigated so they could see that it was all an absurdist piece of fiction. Scam and Hoax are said often, with "art" usually being in quotations. What gives these media outlets the balls to judge art? Are they "news?"
I don't know Aliza personally, and have not even seen the work being discussed (it hasn't even gone up yet physically, though I feel press releases are just as much a creative and controlled act as actual paintings, videos, etc).
I am not going to address the direct visual content in the work as that will require another large amount of text, and my views on abortion are not very simple. I do not know whether this artist has had to go through a miscarriage or an abortion (it is quite possible) and will make no statement on whether it is a mockery, but in opening up discussion (even if it turns out 99% of it is negative towards her acts) she has succeeded in one of the primary goals of art.
It's almost unfortunate that the truth (or what I assume is the truth) wasn't delayed a little longer while the performance was digested. But I understand why she caved, it's a tremendous amount of pressure for an artist to be under. I've been involved with performance and installation art that required putting all my faults public and then acting like an asshole (well a stereotype of corporate greed/fear) for 6 hours during the opening.. and I'm not someone who thrives on controversy, just feel that it's important to challenge both the art world and the consuming public. It's quite possible that she isn't either...
Art is about opening a dialog and creating discussion. It's about not taking things at face value.
Even if everyone thinks she is pretentious, a bitch, etc, she's got people talking.
This is where the logical conclusion of performance art goes, onto the internet, onto documentation, onto press releases.
Abortion Art is something that I can see actually happening, and someone using that possibility as a sort of way of satirizing the art world AND the media at the same time is genius.
And about the people saying she's self centered... well, people are always bitching at artists saying they are self centered. It's true that to be an artist it requires a lot of self promotion. It's not enough to have something to say with your work, you have to convince people to listen. No one else will do it for you, you will not be discovered. But that doesn't make the message less meaningful. It's a complete ad hominem argument.
All art has an element of self. When dealing with bodily issues, what could be more poignant than using yourself? Chris Burden, Joseph Beuys, any performance artist. Any comedian, any actor. They are successful because they are using themselves and they HAVE to be ok with being in the public spotlight. It doesn’t mean that they are egotistical (though some can be, obviously.)
Would it be right to use OTHER people’s menstrual blood? Or should one explore their own relationship to the substance, to the idea of creation. I'm not a woman, so I feel like I'm not qualified to speak on a lot of aspects of the content of the work, but the idea of creating an elaborate illusion, an elaborate layered performance is something that I feel is absolutely needed in the contemporary art world. It's something that people from Terry Richardson to Duchamp have worked with, life as art, the artist as a layered, painted, recorded figure themselves.
It’s a lot more pretentious to pretend your work can change the world, to pretend that a picture you took is "about the environment" or similar themes than to make work that relates to your own personal struggle of self, your struggle as an artist, your struggle with art and with the world you're putting such personal expression into.