In Your Face: Barbara DeGenevieve, Artist & Educator


Wednesday, August 28 - Saturday, December 07

11:00 a.m. CDT - 6:00 p.m. CST

SAIC Galleries Street Level, SAIC Galleries Lower Level 2, 33 E. Washington St

Display photo: Barbara DeGenevieve, Untitled  (My Mind lives in a hot wet hole in my body), 1994, Photographs, faux fur, alphabet macaroni text


In Fall 2024, the Department of Exhibitions at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) will present a major exhibition honoring Chicago artist and educator Barbara DeGenevieve (1947-2014). In Your Face: Barbara DeGenevieve, Artist & Educator, curated by SAIC faculty member Alan Labb in collaboration with Lisa Wainwright, explores and celebrates DeGenevieve’s artistic legacy as a provocateur, her unwavering dedication to teaching, and her profound influence on both peers and students. 

Renowned as a devoted educator unafraid to tackle contentious and provocative topics, DeGenevieve earned the label of a "transgressive artist" for her fearless exploration of sexuality, pornography, gender, censorship, race, labor, and feminism. Her body of work often challenged conventional gallery practices, leading to her being overlooked within mainstream art venues. Nevertheless, her artistic vision and intellectual rigor have left an indelible mark on the field—challenging norms, provoking critical inquiry, and expanding the parameters of photographic discourse.

Ten years after her death, In Your Face will be the first large-scale retrospective of Barbara DeGenevieve’s work and will showcase a diverse array of her surviving video, photography, and installation pieces. In addition, the exhibition will include works by other significant artists of her generation who similarly faced censorship, especially those, like DeGenevieve, whose NEA fellowships were questioned or revoked in the mid-1990s. The exhibition will also emphasize the importance she placed on her role as mentor and include ephemera that provides insight into her artistic process and methodology.

In Your Face will be on view at SAIC Galleries, 33 E. Washington St. from August 28 to December 7, 2024. A public reception will take place on Friday, September 13, followed by a one-day event, "In Your Face: A Symposium on Transgressive Pleasure," on Saturday, September 14 at SAIC’s Ballroom, 112 S. Michigan Ave.

Curators' Tour with Alan Labb & Lisa Wainwright

Tuesday, September 5, 5:00 p.m.