by H. Reed Armstrong
April 24, 2008 -- On April 17th an article appeared in the Yale Daily News stating that art student, Aliza Shvarts “08”, was presenting a video and artifact project as her final senior art thesis which records her past nine months activities of artificial inseminations and subsequent self induced abortions. Other than the videos of her self “at work,” there is to be an arrangement of cloth soaked in the blood, fruit of these abortions. The “art experience” is to be included in the annual show sponsored by the Yale undergraduate art department at the Holcombe T. Green jr. Hall on Chapel Street.
Asked to comment as to why she is exhibiting this work, Ms. Shvarts replied, “It was to provide inquiry” … “I believe strongly that art should be a medium for politics and ideology, not just a commodity” … “I think that I am creating a project that lives up to the standard of what art ought to be.”
The traditional view of “Art,” defined by Webster’s dictionary as “the conscious use of skill and creative imagination esp. in the production of aesthetic objects,” has been hijacked by revolutionary forces for political use as counter cultural propaganda.
The so called “art” of Ms. Shvarts is not an isolated example. It is, in fact today’s norm. Sacred images of Jesus and Mary immersed in body fluids, distorted human corpses in formaldehyde, “performance art” involving Vaseline and chocolate spread on the bodies of live actors engaged in obscene acts, are commonplace in the annals of contemporary art. Perversity, revolution, and the Culture of Death, are what the avant-garde is all about. In rational terms it is a debased view of the nature of human freedom given over to psycho-pathology.
In 1989, Franklin W. Robinson, former director of the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, stated the case clearly by saying that the whole purpose of modern art is to foment a radical shift in our moral values: "It demands that we rethink our assumptions about every issue in life, from religion to politics, from love to sex, to death, and the afterlife." Ms. Shvarts is but a dutiful disciple of this modern moral dogma.
The purveyors of present day painting and sculpture and even architecture have purposefully eschewed beauty as the legitimate end of art. They have an agenda. Art has become, simply said, an ideologically tool. Ecologists, feminists, homosexuals, along with other special interest groups allied with self-empowered miscreants and malcontents, assault our imagination, not only in art galleries and in the public square, but also on television, and even via the illustrations of our children’s textbooks supplied to virtually all our public schools.
We are in the midst of a very real culture war, in which the imagination plays a crucial, if not decisive, role.
The Church, and all men and women of good will, must become not only outraged, but engaged in this battle and not be hood-winked by our bright but perverse adversaries in the so called “art establishment.” While we must strongly denounce the machinations of those who wish to tear down our Christian civilization by word and image, we must, on the other hand, support genuine Catholic art and artists that promote the Culture of Life, salvation, and the beauty of God’s creation.
Signed: Hamilton Reed Armstrong, U I S
Professor of Fine Arts, International Catholic University, Notre Dame, IN, USA
Adjunct Professor of Modern Languages, Christendom College, Front Royal, VA. USA
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