AUCD is pleased to honor Riva Lehrer, an artist, writer and curator whose work focuses on issues of physical identity and the socially challenged body. She is best known for representations of people with impairments, and those whose sexuality or gender identity have long been stigmatized.
Riva Lehrer is an artist, writer and curator whose work focuses on issues of physical identity and the socially challenged body. She is best known for representations of people with impairments, and those whose sexuality or gender identity have long been stigmatized.
Ms. Lehrer’s work has been seen in venues including the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian, the United Nations, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, the Arnot Museum, the DeCordova Museum, the Frye Museum, the Chicago Cultural Center, and the State of Illinois Museum. She has been a visiting artist and lecturer across the US and Europe.
Awards include the 2015 Three Arts Residency Fellowship at the University of Illinois; the 2014 Mellon Residency Fellowship at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges; the 2009 Prairie Fellowship at the Ragdale Foundation. Grants include the 2009 Critical Fierceness Grant, the 2008 Three Arts Foundation Grant, and the 2006 Wynn Newhouse Award for Excellence, (NYC). Other awards include those from the Illinois Arts Council, the University of Illinois, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Ms. Lehrer is considered one of the foremost artists and curators in the field of Disability Culture. Her writing and visual art are included in publications including Criptiques, edited by Caitlin Wood; Sex and Disability, edited by Robert McRuer and Anna Mollow; TriQuarterly, the literary journal of Northwestern University; Lesbian Art in America, Harmony Hammond; and the Feminist Studies Journal.
Lehrer’s work has been featured in documentaries including The Paper Mirror (2012) by Charissa King-O’Brien, which traces her collaboration with graphic novelist Alison Bechdel; Self Preservation: The Art of Riva Lehrer (2005) by David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder; Variations (2014), by Laurie Little and Anuradha Rana, a portrait of dancer Kris Lenzo, musician Chris Foreman, and Lehrer; and Code of the Freaks, by Salome Chasnoff, Carrie Sandahl, and Susan Nussbaum, on the representation of disability in Hollywood films (in progress).
A longtime faculty member of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and other institutions, Riva Lehrer is currently instructor in Medical Humanities at Northwestern University.