Mecugni holds a Ph.D. and M.Phil. in Art History from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and a Laurea (equivalent to B.A. plus M.A.) in D.A.M.S.—Drama, Art, and Music Studies—from the Università degli Studi di Bologna, Italy.
Hailing from Modena, Italy, Dr. Anna Mecugni is a specialist of postwar Italian art and global contemporary art, with interest in social engagement, the intersection of art and politics, and interdisciplinary practices that promote justice and equity. Mecugni’s research for the past several years has concerned the aesthetics and politics of tableau vivant and reenactment in 1960s and 1970s Italian art. Her current research and curatorial projects are dedicated to subjects ranging from participatory art in Italy in the long 1968 to contemporary activist art that builds on community engagement and listening practices to promote justice and equity.
Dr. Mecugni joined the University of New Orleans to lead the art history program in the fall of 2018. Earlier she taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and Vassar College. She has extensive experience in museum education and the curatorial field, having worked at organizations ranging from grassroots arts centers to small academic galleries and large, renown institutions, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Venice Biennale Foundation in Venice, Italy. Mecugni has been invited to present her work at scholarly conferences in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Her writings have appeared in Art in America, Pelican Bomb, Museum Magazine, Artforum.com; and scholarly publications including Palinsesti: Contemporary Italian Art Online Journal and The International Journal of the Humanities. She is co-editor with Carlos Basualdo of Embracing the Contemporary: The Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Collection (Yale University Press and Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2016); the author of Sergio Lombardo: Monocromi / Monochromes, 1958–61 (Silvana Editoriale, 2018); and the editor of a forthcoming bilingual volume (in English and Italian) dedicated to Italian artist Sergio Lombardo’s pioneering 1960s participatory installations funded by an award from the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism.
Mecugni’s curatorial work since joining UNO includes organizing at the UNO St. Claude Gallery a performance of Angel Nevarez and Valerie Tevere’s acclaimed Another Protest Song: Karaoke with a Message (2008–ongoing), a participatory sound artwork that looks to the karaoke songbook as a source for political enunciation through song; and the first New Orleans solo exhibition of Dread Scott, whose multi-media practice for the past thirty years has bridged art and activism. This show ran in conjunction with the culmination of Dread Scott’s six-year-long social practice project to reimagine the 1811 German Coast uprising, Slave Rebellion Reenactment, in November of 2019.
For the past few years Mecugni has been working with artist duo Nevarez and Tevere to co-produce The Slow Drop, a multipart artistic and curatorial project centered on New Orleans Musicians’ Village, a post-Katrina affordable artist housing development in the Upper Ninth Ward that stands out as a unique example of community resilience. The project involves the realization of several new works: a sound artwork in collaboration with resident musicians that will debut in New Orleans Musicians’ Village on October 8, 2022; an art exhibition, featuring multi-channel video installation and a photographic series, that will open at the New Orleans Jazz Museum on December 2, 2022, part of the annual Sound Collage Festival; and, later, an edited book about the project and the history of Musicians’ Village and its site.
I draw on my passion for community-engaged scholarship and curatorial work to design courses that emphasize high-impact educational practices by integrating classroom learning with hands-on, collaborative activities and real-world project applications that can best prepare students for the professional world.
FA-1500 Introduction to Art and Visual Culture
FA-2202 Art History Survey II: Fourteenth Century to the Present
FA-3292 Internship in Fine Arts - Art History
FA-3293 Independent Study in Art History
FA-3333 The Body in Art: Gender, Sexuality, and Cultural Identity
FA-4267/5267 Contemporary Art: Postmodernism and Beyond (1970-Present)
FA-4270/5270 Special Topics in Modern and Contemporary Art
FA-4274/5274 Art Criticism
FA-4275/5275 Displaying Art: Museum and Exhibition History and Practice
FA-4411/5411 Contemporary Art and Social Justice
FA-6999 Professional Development
Research areas include postwar Italian art, international contemporary art, women’s and gender studies, art and politics, social practice art, activist art, sound art.
Honors and Awards
Mecugni’s scholarly and curatorial work has been supported by grants from agencies such as the Louisiana Board of Regents, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, New Orleans Mayor’s Office of Cultural Economy, Harpo Foundation, and the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Turism. For her teaching, she received a Provost's Award for Teaching Excellence by Non-Standing Faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. At the City University of New York Graduate Center, Mecugni’s work was supported by several grants, including the Leon Levy Center for Biography Fellowship, Alumni Dissertation Fellowship, Graduate Center Research Grant, Graduate Center University Fellowship, Art History Program Fellowship, and the Mall Curatorial Fellowship. At UNO, Mecugni was awarded the Leveraging External Expertise Program and Creative Endeavor Opportunity grants.