It's about Heidegger, Derrida -- all this stuff...
Jonathan Yegge, a 24-year-old scholar at the San Francisco Art Institute, is angry, anxious, resentful.
Yegge's plight, his mood, and his outlook are a small -- no, minuscule -- portion of the aftermath of a performance art piece he crafted three weeks ago for an art class in the school's New Genres department, led by sometimes-controversial professor Tony Labat.
Yegge asked for a volunteer from the class, got one, then took the young man aside into an empty room. Yegge handed the soon-to-be subject of his artwork a makeshift contract stating that the volunteer was agreeing to participate in a performance piece containing acts "including and up to a sexual or violent nature." The volunteer signed the contract.
Yegge led the volunteer out into a campus public area, in front of Labat's class and anyone else who happened by, and then ... well, maybe it's best to let Yegge explain.
"He was tied up. He had a blindfold and a gag, but he could see and talk through it. He had freedom of movement of his pelvis," Yegge says, by way of defending his piece. "I engaged in oral sex with him and he engaged in oral sex with me. I had given him an enema, and I had taken a shit and stuffed it in his ass. That goes on, he shits all over me, I shit in him. There was a security guard present. There was an instructor from the school present. It was videoed, and the piece was over."
[WHY DID HE DO IT?]
And Yegge's intellectual defense of his piece might -- might -- come across as a bit dilute.
"It's about Heidegger, Derrida -- all this stuff," he says. "It's about pushing the notion of gay sex, pushing the notion of consent, pushing the notion of what's legal. We are living in the era of AIDS. This is about his responsibility, my responsibility.
"During your tenure in this school you're required to read The Tears of Eros by Georges Bataille, where he discusses pain and the history of erotic art.
"You jump across time and you jump across eras. You might present this performance art, then the students might read Bataille and it might make sense. Or they might see this performance and then see Bataille."
Perhaps, or perhaps not.
[Full story here]
And here is another modern age Rembrand at Yale:
Art major Aliza Shvarts '08 wants to make a statement.
Beginning next Tuesday, Shvarts will be displaying her senior art project, a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself "as often as possible" while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages. Her exhibition will feature video recordings of these forced miscarriages as well as preserved collections of the blood from the process.
[UPDATE ON LAST STORY]