Karen Stevenson, of Tahitian heritage, was born and raised in Los Angeles. She received her PhD in Oceanic Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1988. The following year was spent as a Rockefeller Fellow at the Center for Pacific Studies at the University of Hawai’i.
Karen’s writings and research have focused on the politics and institutionalisation of culture, art and identity, the Pacific Arts Festival, and most recently on Contemporary Pacific Art, particularly that produced by ‘urban Polynesians’ in New Zealand. Other titles Karen has published include Re-Presenting Pacific Art, Pacific Arts: Persistence, Change and Meaning in Pacific Art and Filipe Tohi, Journey to the Present.
Karen is currently a Senior Adjunct Fellow at the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, University of Canterbury.
The book The Frangipani is Dead: Contemporary Pacific Art in New Zealand 1985-2000 is currently out of print.