Exquisite model

Riva Lehrer, portraiture, and risk

Authored by: Ann M. Fox

The Routledge Handbook of Disability Arts, Culture, and Media

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9780815368410
eBook ISBN: 9781351254687
Adobe ISBN:


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It is an exciting time to be engaged with disability arts, particularly where the visual arts are concerned. Again and again, artists are taking up the critical question: how can we continue to enhance inclusivity for disabled people through the arts, and in a way that values disability as an identity, aesthetic, and epistemology? Access within the arts, for example, has been deployed as a rallying point and as a generative conceit, taken up with verve by disabled artists. Wheelchair user and artist Park McArthur (2014), in her installation Ramps, offered a pointed commentary on the limited accessibility of downtown New York City galleries by presenting in one place a collection of the actual catch-as-catch-can portable ramps that galleries used to provide her access. Carmen Papalia (2018) has privileged non-visual learning in his blind field shuttle walks and developed tenets for open access derived from disability experience that result in inclusion for all people. The concepts outlined in his “Accessibility Manifesto” reimagine “normalcy as a continuum of embodiments, identities, realities and learning styles, and [operate] under the tenet that interdependence is central to a radical restructuring of power” (Papalia 1998). Georgina Kleege (2018) argues for the transformation of audio description into its own kind of aesthetic, “elevated from its current status as a segregated accommodation outside the general public’s awareness and launched into the new media—a literary/interpretive form with infinite possibilities” (108).

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