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Last Lecture point of reflection for art history professor

April 15, 2008

TEMPE, Ariz. – Claudia Mesch, art history professor in the ASU Herberger College School of Art, was nominated by her students and selected by Co-Curricular Programs & Activities (CCPA) to participate in the 2008 Last Lecture Series. On April 22, she presents her lecture, "The Painting of Others: Art, Television and Identity in Cold War Germany,” based on her upcoming book, Around the Berlin Wall: Art and Demarcation in the Cold War.

The book and lecture examine the art that was produced in a divided Germany and the connections across the Iron Curtain, finding the Cold War border was culturally productive.

“As the decades go on into the 70s, I find there are more similarities, the New Man of Socialism in both East and West in the art created by painters and performance artists and for public spaces and disseminated on television,” Mesch says.

In her teaching, Mesch asks her students to think critically about how culture helps to establish identities, urging them to analyze and understand the power of visual culture over a sense of identity within a globalizing world. It was important to Mesch that her lecture make a case for the importance of visual art in daily life: to the sense of identity as citizens of a globalizing world.

Mesch views her selection to participate in the Last Lecture series as a culmination to the first phase of her career and point at which to reflect on her past and future.

“I am honored to have been chosen by my students to deliver a Last Lecture as I’ve just finished two books and have reached a new phase in my career,” Mesch says. “It is a perfect opportunity for me to reflect on the larger themes that I have presented in my book, which I’ve developed over 10 years of research, as the basis for a ‘last lecture’.”

The School of Art is a division of Herberger College of the Arts at Arizona State University. Its printmaking, photography and art education programs are nationally ranked in the top 10, and its Master of Fine Arts program is ranked eighth among public institutions by U.S.News & World Report. The school includes four student galleries for solo and group shows by graduate and undergraduate art and photography students: Gallery 100, Harry Wood, Northlight, and Step. To learn more about the School of Art, visit 

Media Contact:
Laura Toussaint