Listen, Friday, January 28, 2:30 pm PST on KPFA
Riva Lehrer is an artist, writer and curator who focuses on the socially challenged body. She is best known for representations of people whose physical embodiment, sexuality, or gender identity have long been stigmatized. Part of a vibrant Chicago disability activist community, her portraits include Carrie Sandahl, Alice Wong, Lennard Davis, Nadina LaSpina, and many other bright lights of the disability community.
Her memoir and audio book, Golem Girl, is a complex story of growing up with a visible disability, undergoing surgeries, finding a path to her artistic self despite a traditional art school, boyfriends, girlfriends, physical struggle, and the connection with a disability culture group that changed this Golem Girl forever.
Golem Girl is filled with the awareness of the political nature of disability. It’s intensely personal observations and memories are illustrated with the bright colors of Riva Lehrer’s paintings.
Ms. Lehrer’s work has been seen in venues including the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian, Yale University, 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.
Awards include the 2017 3Arts MacDowell Fellowship for writing, 2015 3Arts Residency Fellowship at the University of Illinois; the 2014 Carnegie Mellon Fellowship at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges; the 2009 Prairie Fellowship at the Ragdale Foundation. Grants include the 2009 Critical Fierceness Grant, the 2008 3Arts Foundation Grant, and the 2006 Wynn Newhouse Award for Excellence, (NYC), as well as grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the University of Illinois, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Her memoir, Golem Girl, is published by the One World imprint of Penguin/Random House in October 2020. Ms. Lehrer is represented by Regal Hoffman & Associates literary agency, NYC.
Ms. Lehrer is on faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and instructor in the Medical Humanities Departments of Northwestern University.
Adrienne Lauby produced and hosts the program.