RESEARCH Dore Bowen writes about practices that probe the texture of ordinary life, test the boundaries of appropriation, and (sometimes) alter perception. She has written on an international group of modern and contemporary artists, such as Yael Bartana, Dan Graham, Akram Zaatari, Bruce Nauman, and Elin Hansdottir, as well as Fluxus—a postwar collective that focused the viewer's attention on everyday occurrences, such as smiling or leaving the room. Throughout, Bowen's focus is the history of photography, and her publications and curatorial projects weave photography into a story that includes social history, painting, theater and opera, feminist and queer theory, and optics.
Recently, Bowen served as lead curator for the reinstallation of Bruce Nauman's 1970 San Jose Installation, which culminated in her book Bruce Nauman: Spatial Encounters (with Constance M. Lewallen, University of California Press). She is currently completing a book manuscript on the diorama—a pre-cinematic light and paint entertainment that emerged in nineteenth-century Paris. In her book, Bowen argues that the diorama persists in other guises today, and consequently serves as a sentimental and backward-looking impulse in contemporary art. Recently she published an interview with installation artist Dan Graham on this topic, included in a special-issue of Culture et Musées devoted to the diorama.
HISTORY Before entering the academy Bowen was an artist and photographer. She worked with a range of notable practitioners, such as Richard Barnes, who first sparked her interest in archives and evidence. She earned a MA in Inter-Arts from San Francisco State University (studying with performance artist Christine Tamblyn, film theorist Kaja Silverman, at UC Berkeley, and filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha), followed by a PhD in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester. Her dissertation was advised by Professors Michael Ann Holly and Douglas Crimp. Over the past fifteen years she has received grants and fellowships from numerous institutions—such as the Camargo Foundation, the Clark Art Institute, the Centre Allemand d’histoire de l’art, and San José State University—to continue her research.
TEACHING Bowen is an associate professor and coordinator of the Art History and Visual Culture program at San José State University. Her seminar topics include the archive, contemporary craft, photography and perception, the spectacle, and art historical methods. Her undergraduate courses include the history and theory of new media, introduction to visual culture, the art of the 1960s and 70s, and issues of materiality in contemporary art (called "The Thing").