Blocker, Jane 1962–

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Blocker, Jane 1962–

PERSONAL:

Born September 27, 1962, in Denver, CO; daughter of Donald and Shirley Blocker; married Roger Lindsay (a librarian), 1987. Education: School of the Art Institute of Chicago, M.A., 1990; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Ph.D., 1994.

ADDRESSES:

Office— Art History Department, University of Minnesota, Rm. 338 Heller Hall, 271 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55455.

CAREER:

Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, assistant professor, 1994-97; Georgia State University, Atlanta, assistant professor, 1997-99.

WRITINGS:

Where Is Ana Mendieta? Identity, Performativity, and Exile, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 1999.

What the Body Cost: Desire, History, and Performance, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2004.

Contributor to periodicals, including Cultural Studies, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, Theatre Journal, and Camera Obscura.

SIDELIGHTS:

Jane Blocker was born in Denver, Colorado, in 1962. In 1990, Blocker earned a master's degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Blocker earned her doctoral degree in 1994 from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and that same year, began a career in teaching at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. From 1997 to 1999 Blocker taught at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

In her first book,Where Is Ana Mendieta? Identity, Performativity, and Exile, Blocker explores the life of the Cuban-born performing artist. Blocker delves deep in Ana Mendieta's life and gives analysis and insight into the artist's works. Mendieta, an exile from Cuba who came to United States when she was thirteen years old, was a well-known fixture in performing art during the 1970s. In her book, Blocker sets forth a set of theories about Mendieta's identity and how her cultural, political, and gender identities may have impacted her work.

Peggy Phelan, author of Mourning Sex: Performing Public Memories, praised Where is Ana Mendieta?, saying that the book helps to "illuminate … the beckoning caves" in Mendieta's still somewhat mysterious life and art.

Blocker published her next book,What the Body Cost: Desire, History, and Performance, in 2004. In the book Blocker examines the role of the body in performing art. Blocker's work focuses on the history of the art and the desire that the art invokes, but it also examines the costs that have been exacted on the body by performing art. Blocker uses the themes "Mouths," "Lovers," "Captivating Delights," and "Blood's Work," to deconstruct the role of and to search for the body in performing art. Blocker uses specific examples of artists including Carolee Schneemann, Vito Acconci, Hannah Wilke, Yves Klein, and Ana Mendieta, among others. Mikaela Bobiy, in a review for Parachute: Contemporary Art Magazine, stated that Blocker successfully "works through the roadblocks" that can occur when broaching the history of performance art. Bobiy read Blocker's work as a decidedly "feminist" piece of writing that provides new insight into performance art, which is, by its nature, temporary and fleeting. Although Bobiy stated that Blocker's work is "not entirely groundbreaking," she also commented that the work "distinguishes itself in the discussion of the literal versus the figurative body in performance."

In addition to her books, Blocker has also published works in several periodicals including Cultural Studies, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, TheatreJournal, and Camera Obscura. Much of Blocker's work focuses on feminism, art, and the commingling of the two subjects.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Afterimage, July, 2000, review of Where Is Ana Mendieta? Identity, Performativity, and Exile, p. 17.

Parachute: Contemporary Art Magazine, January-March, 2005, Mikaela Bobiy, review of What the Body Cost: Desire, History, and Performance, p. 139.

Signs, spring, 2006, Jane Chin Davidson, review of What the Body Cost, p. 875.

ONLINE

Duke University Press Web site,http://www.dukeupress.edu/ (October 2, 2007), description of Where Is Ana Mendieta?

University of Minnesota Press Web site,http://www.upress.umn.edu/ (October 2, 2007), description of What the Body Cost.