Riva Lehrer uses her art as a tool to explore of how the shape of one’s body dictates the contours of a person’s life. Lehrer addresses this question primarily through creating portraits of people with disabilities, using portraiture to provoke attitudes about ideas of “acceptable” and “unacceptable” bodies. Lehrer, who has spina bifida, has been involved in disability culture for the past 15 years, and her work has been shown in museums and galleries throughout the United States. A 2005 documentary about her work, Self Preservation: The Art of Riva Lehrer by David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder, has been shown at numerous film festivals and won several awards. Lehrer is currently curator for cultural programs at Access Living of Chicago and adjunct professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.