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Claudia Mesch

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Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 1505
Biography

Claudia Mesch writes on developments in 20th-century and contemporary art. Her publications examine modern art's cultural exchanges across national, disciplinary, and other borders, as well as modern art's engagement with politics. She is the author of many books including "Joseph Beuys: The Reader," "Modern Art at the Berlin Wall: Demarcating Culture in the Cold War Germanys"  [See Judith Smith, "East German art not to be dismissed, professor asserts,"ASU News, May 20, 2009], "Art and Politics: a Small History of Art for Social Change since 1945," and the artist biography "Joseph Beuys." A Chinese translation of Joseph Beuys: The Reader is underway, to be published in 2019; a paperback reprint edition of Modern Art at the Berlin Wall was released in 2018.

She has contributed to the essay collections "From Diversion to Subversion: Games, Play and Twentieth-Century Art," "Sculpture and the Vitrine," and the anthology Toxic Transformations, ed. Silvia Bottinelli and Sharon Hecker (forthcoming). Her essays and reviews have also appeared in the journals Art History, The Space Between, Journal für Kunstgeschichte, and Theory, Culture and Society.

Mesch's 2002 contribution to caa.reviews, "Rethinking Conceptual Art," was highlighted in the publication's Centennial Review as the "readers' pick" of 2002, and as one of the most influential reviews in the journal's history. She is a founding editor of the open access e-journal Journal of Surrealism and the Americas, currently in its 10th year of publication. Students intern with the JSA and collaborate with the editors to gain experience in working on all aspects of an e-journal (see "Graphic design meets Surrealism in student faculty collaboration," ASU News, Nov. 13, 2013).

A recipient of multiple research awards from the Fulbright and the D.A.A.D., conference awards from the Terra Foundation for American Art, and fellowships from the Getty Library and the Henry Moore Institute, Mesch was chosen to participate in ASU's 2008 "Last Lecture" series, a prestigious student-nominated award. She has lectured at many museums including the the Crystal Bridges Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Heard Museum, the Art Institute in Chicago, the Phoenix Art Museum, and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. She is at work on several projects: an essay on Charles Wilbert White's artistic activities in the Soviet Block and East Berlin in the early '60s; another examines Herbert Marcuse's postwar engagement with Surrealism; and, a book-length study of the Surrealists' preoccupation with Native American culture.

Education
  • Ph.D. University of Chicago
  • M.A. University of California-Los Angeles
  • B.A. Yale University
Research Interests
  • Twentieth-Century and Contemporary Art History and Art Theory; Museum Studies
  • Cold War Studies
  • Trauma Studies
  • Surrealism in the Americas
  • German and French Intellectual History
Publications

 

  • Modern Art at the Berlin Wall: Demarcating Culture in the Cold War Germanys (I.B. Tauris, paperback edition/reprint, 2018)
  • Joseph Beuys (Reaktion Books, London, 2017)
  • Beyond the Horizon: Armand Morin & Ernesto Sartori, ed. Claudia de Forêt (Yuma AZ: Yuma Art Center, June, 2016)
  • “L’Institutionalisation de la sculpture sociale: le Bureau pou la démocratie directe par referendum de Beuys,” in Mathieu Copeland, ed., l’exposition d’un film, trans. Chloé Pelletrin (Dijon: Les Presses du reel, 2015), 176-179
  • “Shadows of the Colonial: David Hare, Empathetic Perception, and Ethnographic Surrealism in the 1940s,” South Central Review Vol. 32 No. 1 (Spring 2015): 76-95
  • Art and Politics: a Small History of Art for Social Change Since 1945 (I.B. Tauris, 2013)
  • Sculpture in Fog: Beuys’ Vitrines,” in John Welchman, ed., Sculpture and Vitrine (Ashgate and The Henry Moore Institute, 2013), 121-142
  • “‘What Makes Indians Laugh’: Surrealism, Ritual and Return in Steven Yazzie and Joseph Beuys,” Journal of Surrealism and the Americas (2012) Vol. 6 No. 1 (December, 2012): 39-60.
  • “Serious Play: Games and Early Twentieth-Century Modernism,” reprinted in David Getsy, Ed., From Diversion to Subversion: Games, Play, and Twentieth-Century Art (Pennsylvania State Press, 2011), 60-72

  • Review of Boris Groys, The Communist Postscript (Verso, 2010), Theory, Culture and Society Vol. 28, No. 3 (June, 2011): 162-164

  • “Post-Meinhof Feminism: Yvonne Rainer’s Journeys from Berlin/1971 (1979),” in Berlin Divided City, Sabine Hake and Philip Broadbent, Eds. (New York: Berghahn Books, 2010), 135-144

  • Review of Heike Fuhlbrügge, Joseph Beuys und die anthropologische Landschaft (Reimer Verlag, 2008), Journal für Kunstgeschichte 12: 4 (2008): 307-311

  • Modern Art at the Berlin Wall: Demarcating Culture in the Cold War Germanys (I.B. Tauris, 2008)
  • “Socialist Primitivism and the ‘New’ Leipzig School,” The Art Book 14, No.1 (U.K.; February, 2007): 54-55
  • Joseph Beuys: the Reader, co-edited with Viola Michely (MIT Press/I.B. Tauris, 2007)
  • “‘Ezra Pound is back’: Klaus Ottmann’s SITE Santa Fe Biennial,” exhibition review, The Art Book 14, No.3 (U.K.; August, 2007): 65-66
  • “Cold War Games and Postwar Art,” Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, Vol. 6.1 (Winter, 2006), http://reconstruction.eserver.org/061/contents.shtml
  • “Serious Play: Games and Early Twentieth-Century Modernism”,The Space Between: Literature and Culture 1914-1945 (Fall 2005): 9-30
  • Rethinking Conceptual Art,”* caa.reviews (Summer, 2002)
  • " Racing Berlin: The Games of Run Lola Run," M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture (2000).
  • "Vostell's Ruins: Dé-collage and the Mnemotechnic Space of the Postwar City," Art History (2000).
Research Activity
Summer 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
ARS 102Art Renaissance to Modernism
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
ARS 439Art of the 20th Century II
ARS 499Individualized Instruction
ARS 539Art of the 20th Cent. II
ASB 591Seminar
ARS 591Seminar
ARS 599Thesis
ARS 792Research
ARS 799Dissertation
Summer 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
ARS 102Art from Renaissance/Present
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
ARS 439Art of the 20th Century II
ARS 493Honors Thesis
ARS 498Pro-Seminar
ARS 499Individualized Instruction
ARS 539Art of the 20th Cent. II
ARS 591Seminar
ARS 599Thesis
ARS 690Reading and Conference
ARS 692Research
ARS 792Research
ARS 799Dissertation
Summer 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
ARS 102Art from Renaissance/Present
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
ARS 102Art from Renaissance/Present
ARS 394Special Topics
ARA 394Special Topics
ARA 484Internship
ARS 493Honors Thesis
ARS 498Pro-Seminar
ARS 499Individualized Instruction
ARA 499Individualized Instruction
ARS 590Reading and Conference
ARS 592Research
ARS 599Thesis
ARS 690Reading and Conference
EPD 700Research Methods
ARS 792Research
ARS 799Dissertation
Fall 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
ARS 394Special Topics
ARS 438Art of the 20th Century I
ARS 492Honors Directed Study
ARS 493Honors Thesis
ARS 498Pro-Seminar
ARS 499Individualized Instruction
ARS 538Art of the 20th Century I
ARS 590Reading and Conference
ARS 591Seminar
ARS 592Research
ARS 599Thesis
ARS 690Reading and Conference
ARS 692Research
ARS 790Reading and Conference
EPD 792Research
ARS 792Research
ARS 799Dissertation
Summer 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
ARS 102Art from Renaissance/Present
Summer 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
ARS 102Art from Renaissance/Present
ARS 599Thesis
Presentations
  • Mesch, Claudia. "What Makes Indians Laugh: Surrealism, Ritual and Return in Steven Yazzie and Joseph Beuys". "Surrealism and the Americas" Conference, Rice University, Houston, Texas (Nov 2010).
  • Mesch, Ulrike. The Failure and Success of the Düsseldorf (Art) Student Movement. 2008 University of North Carolina German Studies Workshop (Apr 2008).
  • Mesch, Ulrike. Berlin and Post-Meinhof Feminism: Yvonne Rainer’s 'Journeys from Berlin/1971' (1979). UT Austin German Studies Symposium (Mar 2008).
  • Mesch, Ulrike. The Art and Legacies of the Büro Berlin. (Aug 2006).
  • Mesch, Ulrike. Picasso in Berlin, and the cold war battle for the 'real' in painting. (Nov 2004).
  • Mesch, Ulrike. Recovering and Reconstructing 'Modern Art' in Divided Berlin. (Nov 2004).
  • Mesch, Ulrike. Recovering and Reconstructing 'Modern Art' in Divided Berlin. CAA Conference (Feb 2004).
  • Mesch, Ulrike. Marcuse, Art History, and the Abandonment of '60s Radical Culture. Critical Theory Roundtable (Oct 2000).
  • Mesch, Ulrike. Forgetting Marcuse. College Art Association conference (Feb 2000).
  • Mesch, Ulrike. Marking the Postwar City: Art, Space and Memory in Divided Berlin. German Studies Association Conference
  • Mesch, Ulrike. The Other Divide: Art on Television in Cold War Germany. Broadcast Education Association Conference
Service
  • School of Art Area Heads, Area Representative, Art History (2010 - 2011)