Curatorial and Art Advisory Service


Melissa Messina is a nationally recognized arts professional who has developed thought provoking exhibitions, dynamic site-responsive projects, and engaging educational public programming both independently and in leadership positions at museums and non-profit arts organizations. For over 15 years, her work with regional, national and international artists has been presented in the U.S., in Atlanta, Kansas City, Miami, New York, New Orleans, Richmond, Savannah, and Washington, D.C., and abroad in France and Hong Kong. She has lectured extensively, published widely, and her research and curatorial work has been funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation, among other granting organizations.

Her recent exhibition Magnetic Fields, Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today, co-curated with Erin Dziedzic, opened at Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, and traveled to The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. In 2016-17 she was the guest curator for several group and solo exhibitions at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, and also served as the first Artistic Director of Flux Projects in Atlanta. Messina was recently selected as the co-curator of the 2018 Bermuda Biennial. In addition to serving select public and private clients, she is the curator of the Mildred Thompson Legacy Project.

Solo Exhibitions and Projects

Uta Barth, Lynda Benglis, Nick Cave, Teresita Fernández, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Whitfield Lovell, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Tim Rollins and K.O.S., Mildred Thompson, Ursula Von Rydingsvard, as well as Ingrid Calame, Nicola López, Jason Middlebrook, Ebony G. Patterson, Alex Prager, Jessica Rankin, Shinique Smith, Wendy White, and Nate Young, among many others

Group Exhibitions

The Embedded Message: Quilting in Contemporary Art (Gina Adams, Sanford Biggers, Maria Guzmán Capron, Kathryn Clark, Elizabeth Duffy, Aaron McIntosh, Tameka Norris, Amanda Ross-Ho, Sterling Ruby, Hank Willis Thomas, Vadis Turner, Ben Venom, Saya Woolfalk)

Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today (Candida Alvarez, Betty Blayton, Chakaia Booker, Lilian Thomas Burwell, Nanette Carter, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Deborah Dancy, Abigail DeVille, Maren Hassinger, Jennie C. Jones, EJ Montgomery, Mary Lovelace O’Neal, Howardena Pindell, Mavis Pusey, Shinique Smith, Gilda Snowden, Sylvia Snowden, Kianja Strobert, Alma Thomas, Mildred Thompson, Brenna Youngblood)

Stretching the Limits: Fibers in Contemporary Painting (Ghada Amer, Tom Burr, Kendell Carter, Nick Cave, Angelo Filomeno, Vibha Galhotra, Sam Gilliam, Sheila Hicks, Emil Lukas, Elaine Reichek, Amanda Ross-Ho and Shinique Smith)

Room In My Head: Staging Psychological Spaces (Janine Antoni, James Casebere, Gregory Crewdson, Sarah Hobbs, Isaac Julien, Laura Letinsky, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Lori Nix, Laurie Simmons, Mickalene Thomas and Carrie Mae Weems)

The Spirituality of Place (Mark Bradford, Andy Goldsworthy, Mona Hatoum, Kimsooja, Yoko Ono and Do-Ho Suh)

Exhibition Essays

Alexandre Arrechea, Chakaia Booker, Natasha Bowdoin, Whitfield Lovell, Youssef Nabil, Clare Rojas, Alison Elizabeth Taylor, Mildred Thompson, Trish Tillman, and Nate Young

Additional Achievements and Recognition

  • Interim Executive Director and former Senior Curator at the SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah

  • Public programming for the Prospect.1 New Orleans biennial (as National Program Director for ArtTable)

  • Recipient of Creative Time | Warhol Foundation Art Writers Grant to conduct research on the life and work of mentor Mildred Thompson

  • Part of the inaugurating team that opened the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum; returned as guest curator and speaker