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Barbara DeGenevieve is an interdisciplinary artist living in Chicago, who works in photography, video, and performance. She lectures widely on her work and on subjects including human sexuality, gender, transsexuality, censorship, ethics, and pornography. Her writing on these subjects has been published in art, photographic, and scholarly journals, and her work has been exhibited internationally.
DeGenevieve received her MFA in photography from the University of New Mexico in 1980, and the same year began teaching at the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign. Before joining the faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1994, she taught at San Jose State University, the San Francisco Art Institute, and the California College of Art. DeGenevieve is a professor and chair of the Department of Photography at the School of the Art Institute.
Much of her art explores the connections among dominance, power, and sex, including their inverse relationships. This has led DeGenevieve into controversy, particularly during the NEA funding scandals of the early 1990s. She has spoken on many occasions on issues of censorship as a direct result. On some occasions she uses performative texts or poems, gothic costume, and theatrical tactics to amplify her point. She'll speak in character as parody or as the subject of her discourse, but always with a sense of humor and charity for her subject. She continues to court controversy, having established an interdisciplinary and new media arts program at SAIC that instructs students on constructing sexually graphic artworks.
DeGenevieve has won awards from the National Endowment for the Arts (Visual Artist Fellowship); Art Matters Foundation Fellowship; and the Illinois Arts Council. Her critical and artistic works have been published in Exposure, SF Camerawork Magazine, and P-Form. Ezell Gallery, Chicago, represents her photographic work.
- The Boys in Albuquerque (1978-1979)
- True Life Novelettes (1979-1982)
- Large Scale (1981-1985)
- Cliche Verres (1985-1992)
- Large Scale Stretched Fabric & Macaroni (1991-1995)
- Porn Poetry (1996-1997)
- Steven X and Barbara C (1999-2000)
- The Panhandler Project (2004-2006)
- Desperado (2004-2006)