Riva Lehrer (b. Cincinnati 1958) has exhibited in museums and galleries across the country. Her work focuses on issues of physical identity and the socially challenged body.
Ms. Lehrer’s work has been seen in venues including the United Nations, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, the Arnot Museum, the DeCordova Museum, the Frye Museum, the Smithsonian Museum, the Chicago Cultural Center, the State of Illinois Museum, and the Elmhurst Museum. She has been a visiting artist and lecturer across the US and Europe.
Her work with graphic novelist Alison Bechdel is the subject of a 2012 documentary, “The Paper Mirror”, by Charissa King-O’Brien, and is currently being shown in film festivals around the world. A 2005 documentary “Self Preservation: The Art of Riva Lehrer” by David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder has been seen at numerous film fests, winning awards and becoming included in many university curricula. She is also in two upcoming documentaries; “Variations” by Laurie Little and Anuradha Rana; and “Code of the Freaks” by Salome Chasnoff, Carrie Sandahl, and Susan Nussbaum.
Awards include the 2009 Prairie Fellowship at the Ragdale Foundation and 2009 the Critical Fierceness Grant, the 2008 Three Arts Foundation of Chicago grant for artistic achievement, and the 2006 Wynn Newhouse Award for Excellence, based in New York City, an unrestricted grant for $50,000. Other awards include those from the Illinois Arts Council, the University of Illinois and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Ms. Lehrer’s writing and visual art are included in “Sex and Disability”, Duke University Press, edited by Robert McRuer and Anna Mollow, 2011.
Riva Lehrer is currently Professor of Anatomy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, visiting artist in Medical Humanities at Northwestern University, and co-chair for programming for the Chicago Bodies of Work Festival 2013.