Artist to speak on portraiture and disability

March 10, 2017 | Events, UToday, Arts and Letters
By Staff

The Disability Studies Program and the School of Visual and Performing Arts will present acclaimed artist and writer Riva Lehrer Monday, March 13, at 6 p.m. in University Hall Room 4410.

Lehrer, whose work has been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., will speak on “Presence and Absence: The Paradox of Disability and Portraiture.”

Her interest in this subject comes from living with a visible disability. “Being stared at, and looking back, has colored my work for 20 years,” she said in a 2016 interview. “Most of my collaborators have been people with impairments, visible or not. Some have no impairments but qualify for other reasons. We start with long interviews, in order to get a strong narrative sense of the relationship between their body and their life.”

“Riva Lehrer’s award-winning work focuses on issues of physical identity and the socially challenged body,” Dr. Jim Ferris, professor and Ability Center of Greater Toledo Endowed Chair in Disability Studies, said. “She is best known for representations of people with impairments, and those whose sexuality and/or gender identity have long been a subject of stigma.”

Lehrer’s work has been exhibited at the United Nations, the Arnot Museum, the DeCordova Museum, the Frye Museum, the Chicago Cultural Center, and the State of Illinois Museum. She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council.

Lehrer’s free, public talk is cosponsored by the Department of Art.

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