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Yale Senior's 'Abortion Art' Whips Up Debate, Protests

Within hours, photos of her in leopard-print shorts and fringed boots were on the Internet, with such blog headlines as "Aliza Shvarts is One Sick Puppy" and comments furious, disgusted and bitter. ("Has she applied for an NEA grant? I am sure she is a shoe-in.") ("In five years, she'll be having an auction at Sotheby's.")

Shvarts's adviser, Pia Lindman, and other art department professors did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.

But Juan Castillo, a senior art major who saw Shvarts present the work in progress, said by phone that her artwork had been oversimplified and sensationalized. "It's a much more complex project," he said, with a powerful message as well as technically polished and impressive sculpture.

"It's supposed to challenge the mythology of the body," he said. "Are we only supposed to do what our bodies were 'naturally' meant to do, which is to procreate?

"I think she was definitely trying to spark conversation. In that respect, she's accomplished her goal," Castillo said. "But I don't know if she meant it to get this crazy, this out of control."

Staff writer Philip Rucker and researcher Meg Smith contributed to this report. Amila Golic reported from New Haven, Conn.

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