Riva Lehrer (SAIC 1993–95) 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.
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, the Arnot Art Museum, the DeCordova Museum, the Frye Art Museum, the Chicago Cultural Center, and the Illinois State Museum.
Awards include the 2017 MacDowell Residency Award for writing, 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. Other awards include those from the Illinois Arts Council, the University of Illinois, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
A longtime faculty member of SAIC, Riva Lehrer is currently instructor in Medical Humanities at Northwestern University.
Image credit: Ronit Bezalel