The Board of Directors of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM) today announced the appointment of Lisa Melandri as incoming Director. This decision follows a five-month international search. Melandri, currently the Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Programs at the Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMoA), will assume her new position in August 2012.
“We are thrilled that Lisa will join CAM as we near the tenth anniversary of our building,” said David Obedin, Chairman of the Board. “Given her experience and success, I am confident that she will lead the Museum into an exciting new chapter of growth and development.”
Melandri has served in a managerial and curatorial capacity at the Santa Monica Museum of Art since 2001, when she was named Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Programs. During her tenure, SMMoA has grown significantly in scope and size, nearly doubling its staff and operating budget (to $2.2 million), and has increasingly received national and international recognition, respect, and critical acclaim.
“I am tremendously excited for this new opportunity and challenge to make CAM ever more relevant and important to the global world of contemporary art,” stated Melandri. “I look forward to working with the extraordinary board and staff to transform the Museum into an essential space for discovery, providing exhibitions and programs that inspire, delight, teach, surprise, and embrace each visitor. I am thrilled to become a part of the St. Louis community, and eager to learn about and participate in the cultural richness of the city.”
“I could not be happier for Lisa. It gives me great pleasure to have provided the context for a brilliant young person to launch her career,” said SMMoA Executive Director Elsa Longhauser.
Melandri is the curator of Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe, the artist’s first solo museum project currently on view at SMMoA, which will travel to the Brooklyn Museum in September 2012. She also was the curator for 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-curated with Michael Taylor). Melandri and Longhauser were co-curators of Al Taylor: Wire Instruments and Pet Stains (2010) and Beatrice Wood: Career Woman (2011), one of the most positively reviewed exhibitions of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980 initiative.
“I am so pleased that Lisa Melandri is joining the Museum and enthusiastically anticipate developing CAM’s future with her,” said Dominic Molon, Chief Curator at CAM. “We share a commitment to building a culturally diverse exhibition program and creating a balance of presentations that are intellectually rigorous and critically significant yet broadly accessible, timely, and relevant. Lisa organized challenging and prescient exhibitions at the Santa Monica Museum of Art that provide a strong indication of the dynamic vision she will bring to CAM.”
Prior to joining SMMoA, 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 Master’s degree in the History of Art from the Williams College Graduate Program. She will relocate to St. Louis with her husband, Jordan Gaunce, a highly regarded prepress technician who provides specialized work for movie studios, advertising agencies, and car manufacturers.
Board member Dwyer Brown has served as Interim Director since December 2011, when former Director Paul Ha departed to become the Director of MIT’s List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge, MA. CAM engaged Linda Sweet of Management Consultants for the Arts, Inc. to facilitate the search.
“I am grateful for Dwyer’s outstanding dedication to the Museum and his leadership throughout this transition process,” noted Obedin.
Brown will continue to serve as Interim Director until Melandri’s arrival at the Museum in August.
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