Lisa Melandri

July 29, 2016

Lisa Melandri is the Executive Director of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. At CAM Melandri is charged with the administration and management of the non-collecting institution, now in its tenth year of operations. Since Joining CAM in 2012, Melandri has reshaped the exhibition program and launched such initiatives as: Street Views, a monumental exterior façade exhibition series, which premiered with Jennifer Steinkamp’s Orbit; and Audible Interruptions, a guest-curated sound art series which activates the interstitial spaces of the Museum. In addition to the Steinkamp projection, Melandri’s curatorial projects at CAM include Ron Gorchov: Serapis and Brenna Youngblood: Loss Prevention.

Prior to joining CAM, Ms. Melandri served as the Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Programs at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, where, during her eleven-year tenure, the museum grew significantly in scope and size. While at SMMoA, she curated a number of notable exhibitions, including Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe, the artist’s first solo museum project, as well as Marco Brambilla: The Dark Lining (2011), Combustione: Alberto Burri and America (2010), William Pope.L—Art After White People: Time, Trees and Celluloid… (2007), and Enigma Variations: Philip Guston and Giorgio de Chirico (2006, co-curator Michael Taylor). Together with SMMoA executive director Elsa Longhauser, Ms. Melandri also curated Al Taylor: Wire Instruments and Pet Stains (2010) and Beatrice Wood: Career Woman (2011), one of the most critically acclaimed exhibitions of the Getty's Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980 initiative. She additionally oversaw programming of the Project Room, a dynamic exhibition series at the museum featuring national and international emerging artists such as Isa Melsheimer, Adam Berg, Simmons & Burke, Nira Pereg, Nicole Cherubini, Virgil Marti, Jeni Spota, Loren Holland, Mariella Bettineschi, and Arnold Mesches, among many others.

Before joining SMMoA, Ms. Melandri was Acting Artistic Director at the Galleries at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia. She received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a Master's degree in Art History from the Williams College Graduate Program. Since 2008, she has served as a board member and president of the Southern California Chapter of ArtTable; since 2010 she has served as a board member and treasurer of Fondazione Azzurra. Since moving to St. Louis in 2012, she has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Grand Center, Inc., and the Arts and Education Council.

Lisa writes:

“I am still in the business! Harvard lighted that fire; it engaged me deeply in the analysis and interpretation of visual culture. I am always questioning why something looks the way it does, and what was the context in which it was made. Those formative seeds were planted at a time when the department was a glorious and messy—and sometimes contentious—soup of Marxist, feminist, and object-based art history with a dash of connoisseurship and a sprinkling of larger-than-life art stars (T.J. Clark and his disciples, Seymour Slive, Norman Bryson, John Shearman, Yves Alain Bois!). What an introduction to the academic art world. The long and short of it is that not only did Harvard expand my thinking—and teach me how to think—but it made me fall so deeply in love with art and art history that I made it a core element of my existence and found a way to devote my career to it.”