Jim Allen was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1922. He was among the early exhibitors at the Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide, South Australia and Founding Head of the Art School at the Sydney College of the Arts (which later became part of the University of Sydney). Since 2000 Allen has re-staged a number of early works, such as the two-part installation O-AR (1974) and the early performances Contact (1974), Poetry for Chainsaws (1976), News (1976) and On Planting a Native (1976) in Adelaide, Sydney, Auckland, New Plymouth and Wellington. His video works have been shown widely in America, Germany and the Netherlands.
Jim Allen currently lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand.