Karen Fiss is a writer, curator, and professor of visual studies at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Her current research examines the impact of nation branding on the visual production of citizenship and collective memory in the wake of political trauma and national “unification.” Her book links these branding efforts to the exponential rise of international art exhibitions and biennials, and specifically to the ways in which cultural production in postcolonial and emerging economies are framed ideologically and aesthetically within the globalized art world and marketplace. She is also co-curating the exhibition “Necessary Force: Art under the Police State,” with Kym Pinder for Fall 2015 (University of New Mexico).
Prior curatorial projects and publications include the film exhibition Blue Flowers in a Catastrophic Landscape for the Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, 2012; Modernity on Display (with Robert Kargon et al, University of Pittsburgh Press, forthcoming), Grand Illusion: The Third Reich, the Paris Exposition and the Cultural Seduction of France (University of Chicago Press, 2009), and coeditor of Design in a Global Context (with Hazel Clark, Design Issues, MIT Press 2009) and Discourses: Conversations in Postmodern Art and Culture (with Russell Ferguson et al, MIT Press, 1990). Her research has been supported by grants from the Graham Foundation, Getty Grant Program, National Endowment for the Humanities, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, and the Center for Advanced Study at the National Gallery of Art. Fiss holds a PhD from Yale University and a BA from Brown University. Prior to academic teaching, she worked in the curatorial departments of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and the New Museum in New York City.