The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced two new artist commissions for fall 2023 following the spring opening of The Roof Garden Commission: Lauren Halsey (April 18–October 22, 2023), which will present a compelling and monumental architectural project by Lauren Halsey. For The Met Fifth Avenue’s facade niches, Nairy Baghramian will create four new sculptures—on view September 7, 2023 through May 19, 2024—marking the artist’s first public installation in New York City. From October 2, 2023 through January 7, 2024, the Museum’s Great Hall will be transformed by Jacolby Satterwhite with a site-specific video installation, a soundscape, and performances.
These projects are the latest in The Met’s series of contemporary commissions in which the Museum invites artists to create new works of art, establishing a dialogue between the artist's practice, The Met collection, the physical Museum, and The Met's audiences.
Max Hollein, Marina Kellen French Director of The Met, said, “We are thrilled to present three very exciting and different artist commissions this year. On April 18, Lauren Halsey’s highly anticipated project on The Met’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden will be unveiled and enjoyed by visitors throughout the summer. And in the fall, we are excited to present major new works by Nairy Baghramian as well as Jacolby Satterwhite, two outstanding, innovative artists whose installations at The Met will challenge and expand our dialogue with the museum as a site of artistic discourse and community experience. We are proud to support these visionary artists and provide a platform for their work in such prominent and accessible spaces at The Met.”
For the facade, Baghramian will create four abstract polychrome sculptures with components that seem to have washed up like flotsam and jetsam in the voids of their respective niches. The Facade Commission: Nairy Baghramian, Scratching the Back is the fourth in a series of contemporary commissions for The Met’s facade that previously featured work by Wangechi Mutu (2019) and Carol Bove (2021); the current installation by Hew Locke, is on view through May 30, 2023.
Satterwhite’s project is the second in the series of commissions for The Met’s Great Hall, that began in 2019 with works by Kent Monkman. Satterwhite will create a large-scale work, comprised of video, sound, music, and performative interventions. Using more than one hundred objects from The Met collection, combined with images of New York City and its diverse communities, Satterwhite’s commission will celebrate the vital role of the Museum within the city and beyond. The installation will include a series of performances and a new soundtrack, which, along with the visual installation, will generate a densely layered environment within the Great Hall.
Go behind the scenes with artist Jacolby Satterwhite, who discusses his artistic process and inspiration for his 2023 multi-channel video installation in The Met’s Great Hall. Based within a computer-generated landscape of an imagined New York City, Satterwhite's video incorporates renderings of more than one hundred objects from the Museum's permanent collection, three-dimensional animations, and live action sequences.
There is perhaps no grander New York entryway than the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Great Hall. One of the most iconic locales in the art world, the sprawling, cavernous antechamber has played host to galas, fashion shows, and untold numbers of reverent visitors. This week, the space was transformed once again for the second of the museum's Great Hall commissions: a multi-channel video installation from artist Jacolby Satterwhite. A Metta Prayer, 2023, is a medium-mingling work that combines sound design, performance, animation, and sculpture to reflect the state of media culture today. The work—which was inaugurated with a resplendent celebration featuring performances by Moses Sumney and others earlier this week—takes as its primary subject matter the museum's hallowed permanent collection, injecting its works into a broader dialogue around urban life and popular culture. The mammoth undertaking was one worthy of Satterwhite, whose complex installations engage with Afrofuturist aesthetics, queer theory, and isolation in the digital age. Nevertheless, the post-opening comedown is hard to avoid. Here, Satterwhite tells CULTURED what's in his morning smoothie, how he treats himself after a trying week, and explains the craziest wellness ritual you've never heard of.
"A Metta Prayer" by Jacolby Satterwhite - Why It's Worth a Look: Jacolby Satterwhite is known for creating immersive, kaleidoscopic installations that blend mediums to tackle contemporary issues and theory. In his new commission for the Met’s Great Hall, the Brooklyn-based artist renders over a hundred objects from the museum's permanent collection—including ancient terra cotta figures and a Noh mask—in a multichannel video designed as a surrealist landscape of New York. Accompanied by an acid house beat and projected lights, the installation includes a series of performances put on by Satterwhite and several of his frequent collaborators. Satterwhite’s work often references art history and pop culture, particularly music videos and video games. His artistic style and aesthetic is heavily influenced by videos he used to watch as a kid, including those by Janet Jackson, Björk, Michael Jackson, and Madonna.
How do you succeed as a young creative person today? How do you make it? What does it even mean to make it now? The old models, pathways, and rules—some not even that old—have been scrambled and upended in the past few years, as the traditional gatekeepers and arbiters are replaced by the herky-jerky algorithmic democracy of social media. It’s why Whitney Mallett created the Whitney Review of New Writing: to give space to the daring, the smutty, the inimical, and the frankly weird. Taking things too far requires courage, though. Like when Jacolby Satterwhite was asked to be the second artist ever to do a takeover of the Beaux-Arts Great Hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. When I get him on the phone, he’s been busy, having spent the day scanning Solange Knowles, who had to zip herself into a motion-capture suit so she could co-star in the multichannel video installation that will be on view at the museum this fall.She’ll join a digitized posse of his scanned pals, including the artist Raúl de Nieves and the musicians Serpentwithfeet and Moses Sumney, who will scamper around the hall’s walls (“each wall a different film genre”) and spiral up into the three domes. It wasn’t easy.
From the soaring Beaux-Arts architecture to the pristine flower arrangements, the Great Hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art can be a humbling, even intimidating entry point for visitors. The artist Jacolby Satterwhite is having none of that. His new Great Hall Commission, “A Metta Prayer,” turns the museum’s solemnity into a funky, queer-infused love poem to the universe, set to an acid house beat. The installation, made of digital projections and a soundtrack, will be on view through Jan. 7. The piece will feature live performances on weekends in October and November, as well as opening night, Monday, Oct. 2. The video may be the only time Met visitors will hear a benediction like, “May we always keep our wigs on our heads.” Amen. A metta prayer is a peaceful wish for compassion in the Buddhist tradition, and Satterwhite does transcendental meditation everyday. But he said he has given the practice both a personal spin — “from my Black queer irreverent self” — as well as a generational twist.
The New York artist Jacolby Satterwhite is in the midst of transforming the Great Hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His vision is a kaleidoscopic installation that blends the queer-coded, video-game-inspired art he’s known for, with soundscapes and treasures plucked from the museum’s esteemed collection. The project, he tells collaborator Kelsey Lu (she’s slated to be “in residence” at the exhibition alongside a slew of other musicians), is a radical spiritual awakening. But when has Satterwhite ever played it safe? "I’m trying to bridge a very unlikely dialogue between spirituality and gaming in the same way. In our society, games have been always propagandistic to war and fighting and violence and resistance. I was thinking, what if I created a space that represented several musicians, like you, who are protagonists in the game? Music is a sonic form of prayer—what if I incorporate that with art objects from all around the world?...I think this show is about repurposing information until it becomes its own abstract, new form for a potential utopia and new futures. I’m just trying to take away all the toxic meaning of all of the histories that I am pulling from for this show. I want to weave it all together: negative, positive, neutral. I think about that a lot: How do we look into the void and find utopia?"
On Monday, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced the latest on their agenda: Nairy Baghramian will premiere work for the building’s facade commission, and Jacolby Satterwhite will be featured in the Great Hall beginning this September. With these two contemporary art commissions, in addition to the previously announced roof garden project by Lauren Halsey, as well as their new wing for modern and contemporary art, the Met makes it clear that diverse contemporary art is a top priority for the museum. For Jacolby Satterwhite, this will be the second in the series of commissions for the Met’s Great Hall. The first was in 2019, with works by Kent Monkman. Satterwhite will create a large-scale work, comprised of video, sound, music, and performative interventions. According to the Met’s release, Satterwhite’s installation will incorporate over one hundred objects from the museum’s collection in animation, alongside imagery of New York City and its diverse communities. The goal is to celebrate the vital role of the Museum within the city, and beyond. This is not by any means a departure from his practice.
One of the Metropolitan Museum’s most iconic spaces, the vast main lobby known as the Great Hall, will get a radical makeover this autumn thanks to a new multimedia commission from new media and performance artist Jacolby Satterwhite. For his intervention in the soaring space (2 October-26 November), which will also include audio and performance elements, the artist will incorporate 3D scans of around 100 objects from the museum’s collection. It will be the second contemporary art commission in the Great Hall, following 2019’s unveiling of two large-scale narrative paintings by the Cree artist Kent Monkman.
This fall, new, cutting-edge commissions will take over two of the most visible stages contemporary art has to offer: the façade and Great Hall of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The institution has announced that Berlin-based sculptor Nairy Baghramian will make four sculptures for the façade niches facing Fifth Avenue, while Brooklyn-based multimedia artist Jacolby Satterwhite will fill the Great Hall with more than one hundred works that shift between sound, video, and performance. The commissions will follow Lauren Halsey’s highly anticipated rooftop garden project that opens April 19. Satterwhite will be only the second contemporary artist officially commissioned for the Great Hall, after the Cree artist Kent Monkman in 2019. Monkman debuted two monumental paintings that recast classic interpretations of American history with Indigenous, gender-fluid characters.
New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art has commissioned Berlin-based sculptor Nairy Baghramian and Brooklyn-based multimedia artist Jacolby Satterwhite to create new works for the institution, where they will go on display this fall. Baghramian will produce four polychrome sculptures, each occupying a niche carved into the museum’s Fifth Avenue–facing facade, while Satterwhite will create a video installation that will incorporate images of more than a hundred works from the museum’s collection. These will be exhibited together in the Met’s Great Hall. “We are excited to present major new works by Nairy Baghramian as well as Jacolby Satterwhite, two outstanding, innovative artists whose installations at The Met will challenge and expand our dialogue with the museum as a site of artistic discourse and community experience,” said Met director Max Hollein.
For a contemporary artist, the facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the walls of its Great Hall are prime real estate for showing work, given the Met’s importance and the huge number of visitors it gets (more than 3.4 million in 2022). Today the museum is announcing new commissions that will take over both spaces in the fall. The Berlin-based sculptor Nairy Baghramian will make four sculptures for the facade niches along Fifth Avenue as part of her installation “Scratching the Back,” on view from Sept. 7 to May 19. From Oct. 2 to Nov. 23, the Great Hall will be filled with works by the Brooklyn-based multimedia artist Jacolby Satterwhite. Max Hollein, the museum’s director, said that the two new commissions — along with the previously announced roof garden project by Lauren Halsey that opens April 18 — reflect the Met’s priorities.