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Artist Turns Giving Birth Into Work of Art, Will Deliver Baby During Live Performance

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By Ray Downs, Christian Post Reporter
October 24, 2011|11:59 am

A New York City performance artist is planning on turning her baby into a work of art.

Marni Kotak, 36, has turned a section of an art gallery into a home-birthing center where she will give birth among spectators as part of a new performance art piece, The Huffington Post reported. The "performance" will be one of several performances in which the Brooklyn-based artist has used real-life experiences for her art.

On Oct. 8, the Microscope Gallery opened "The Birth of Baby X," where people are invited seven days a week to "develop a rapport" with Kotak. The artist is expecting to give birth sometime within the next two weeks. Members who wish to be notified to witness the birth will be notified when Kotak goes into labor.

"I'm developing an authentic relationship with these people," Kotak told The Huffington Post. "For me, it's like building a community of people who are really interested in this."

By turning the birth of a child into an artistic expression, Kotak said she wants to show "this amazing life performance that ... is essentially hidden from public view."

While turning birth into art might sound interesting, some people have asked Kotak and her husband, Jason Robert Bell, how they will tell their child that he or she was born as part of a performance.

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"The overall message that we will communicate to the child is that he or she was born in an art gallery because, as artists, that is our sacred space, and in doing this we are telling the world and our child that his or her life is a precious work of art," Kotak said.

Combing art with "birth" is not an entirely new concept to the performance art world.

In 2008, Yale University art student Aliza Shvarts, drew controversy from across the political, religious and medical spectrums as she claimed to have artificially inseminated herself over the course of nine months and took legal, herbal abortifacient drugs in order to film herself cramping, bleeding, and having miscarriages in her bathtub as part of a performance art project at the Ivy League university, The Washington Post reported.

In April, 2008, Shvarts wrote a column in the Yale Daily News explaining her project: "For the past year, I performed repeated self-induced miscarriages. Using a needleless syringe, I would inject the sperm near my cervix within 30 minutes of its collection, so as to insure the possibility of fertilization."

She added: "On the 28th day of my cycle, I would ingest an abortifacient, after which I would experience cramps and heavy bleeding. ... Because the miscarriages coincide with the expected date of menstruation (the 28th day of my cycle), it remains ambiguous whether the there (sic) was ever a fertilized ovum or not. The reality of the pregnancy, both for myself and for the audience, is a matter of reading."

The school administration defended Shvarts' work.

In a statement sent to Fox News, Helaine S. Klasky, Associate Dean and Vice President for Public Affairs at Yale, said, "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."

 

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