Jane M Blocker

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Art History
346 Heller Hall

271 19 Ave S


Office Hours - Spring 2020
By appointment only

Dr. Jane Blocker is a specialist in contemporary art and critical theory. She offers courses such as Art and the Environment, Art Since 1945, Contemporary Art, Alternative Media: Video, Performance, and Digital Art, as well as courses on gender and sexuality, and 20th century theory and criticism.

Broadly speaking, her research seeks to understand the nature of history, particularly as it is practiced relative to the contemporary. Her work has examined performance art as a curious object of art historical study, one that troubles traditional understandings of memory, the archive, witness, and the body. It has also taken up questions of history's biases and exclusions, its assumptions and blind spots, as well as the ethics of historiographic practice, and the historian or witness as a privileged subject position. Her most recent work examines the problem of the contemporary for history.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Art History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1994.


  • 20th century theory and criticism
  • contemporary art
  • critical theory
  • performance art
  • transgenic art
  • theories of representation
  • theories of witness
  • the body in art
  • historiography
  • feminism
  • alternative media
Courses Taught
  • ArtH 3401 - Art on Trial
  • ArtH 3434 - Art and Environment
  • ArtH 3464 - Art Since 1945
  • ArtH 5417 - 20th Century Theory
  • ArtH 5413 - Alternative Media
  • Arth 5411 - Gender and Sexuality in Art Since 1863
  • ArtH 5466 - Contemporary Art
  • ArtH 8001 - Art Historiography Theory and Methods
  • ArtH 8440 - Seminar: Contemporary Art
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities: August 2017
  • Department Chair: June 2015 - August 2017
  • Director of Graduate Studies: 2005 - 2011
  • Public Art on Campus Committee: Weisman Art Museum , 2001 - 2007
  • Nash Gallery Exhibitions Committee: Art department , 2003 - 2011
  • Institute for Advanced Studies Planning Committee: College of Liberal Arts , 2004
  • Graduate Studies Committee: Women's Studies Program , 2004
  • Curriculum in Interdisciplinary Arts Planning Committee: College of Liberal Arts , 2003
  • Becoming Past: History in Contemporary Art. Blocker, Jane, University of Minnesota Press, Author, 2015.
  • "Repetition: A Skin Which Unravels": Blocker, Jane, Edited by Amelia Jones and Adrian Heathfiled, Intellect Books, Perform, Repeat, Record: Live Art in History, 2011.
  • "The Empty Stage: Matthew Buckingham's Pursuit of Amos Fortune": Blocker, Jane, Performance Research, 16 no. 2 , 2011.
  • "Ambivalent Entertainments: James Luna, Performance and the Archive": Blocker, Jane, Grey Room, 37 , Fall 2009.
  • Seeing Witness: Visuality and the Ethics of Testimony. Blocker, Jane, University of Minnesota Press, Author, 2009. Image
  • "Aestheticizing Risk in Wartime": Blocker, Jane, JRP Ringier, The Aesthetics of Risk, 2008.
  • "Blink: The Viewer as Blind Man in Installation Art": Blocker, Jane, Art Journal, vol. 66, no. 4 6-21, Winter 2007.
  • "“A Cemetery of Images: Meditations on the Burial of Photographs“: Blocker, Jane, Visual Resources , XX, no. 2 , June 2005.
  • “Binding to Another’s Wound: Of Weddings and Witness“: Blocker, Jane, Blackwell, After Criticism?: New Responses to Contemporary Art, 2005.
  • What the Body Cost: Desire, History and Performance. Blocker, Jane, University of Minnesota Press, Author, 2004. Image
  • “This Being You Must Create: Transgenic Art and Seeing the Invisible“: Blocker, Jane, Cultural Studies , 17, no. 2 , 2003.
  • “Failures of Self-Seeing: James Luna Remembers Dino“: Blocker, Jane, Performing Arts Journal , XXIII, no. 1 , January 2001.
  • Where is Ana Mendieta? Identity, Performativity and Exile. Blocker, Jane, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, second printing, Author, 1999. Image
  • "Woman-House: Architecture, Gender and Hybridity in What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" : Blocker, Jane, Camera Obscura , 39 , November 1998.
  • “The Bed Took Up Most of the Room“: Blocker, Jane, NYU Press, The End(s) of Performance, 1997.
  • “The Judge as Historian: Knowledge at the Limits of Doubt.”: Blocker, Jane, Cultural Critique , 94 26-31, Fall 2016.
  • “History in the Present Progressive.”: Blocker, Jane, TDR: The Drama Review, 59, no. 4 , Winter 2015.
  • The Black Angel: Ana Mendieta in Iowa City.”: Blocker, Jane, Claire Fox, Omar Valerio-Jiménez, and Santiago Vaquera-Vásquez, University of Illinois Press, The Latino Midwest Reader, 2017.
  • American Council of Learned Societies/Luce Foundation Fellowship in American Art, 1993 - 1994
  • Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry and Scholarship, 2012 - 2013