Jacolby Satterwhite ’08 Transforms The Met’s Historic Great Hall With New Installation

MICA alum Jacolby Satterwhite ’08 (Painting BFA) puts a new spin on “recycle and reuse” with his transformation of the The Metropolitan Museum’s historic Great Hall with A Metta Prayer which is on view through January 7, 2024.

His multimedia installation merges renderings of more than one hundred objects from the museum’s permanent collection, from terra-cotta figures to a Noh mask, with 3D animations and live action sequences. Based on a computer-generated landscape of an imagined New York City, A Metta Prayer features music, lighting, and a series of live performances by Satterwhite and frequent collaborators—creating an immersive environment within the historic space that represents an expression of love, joy, and resilience.

Go behind the scenes with Satterwhite, who discusses his artistic process and inspiration for his 2023 multi-channel video installation in The Met’s Great Hall. 

A Metta Prayer is projected across six walls of The Met's Great Hall, four at the entrance level and two above the second-floor balconies, with the content of each video reflecting its location, with “ground” scenes of characters clambering through apocalyptic cities and “sky” scenes of cloud-filled heavens teeming with life.

The shows live performances, which include collaborators Hairbone (Raul de Nieves with Jessie Stead), Ioanna Gika, KelseyLu, Kindness, Lafawndah with Nightfeelings, Patrick Belaga, serpentwithfeet, and Ahya Simone, are scheduled at 7 p.m. on October 14, 27, and 28; November 4, 11, and 18; and December 2, 2023.

The second in a series of commissions for The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Great Hall, A Metta Prayer is made possible by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky, and the Director’s Fund.

Based in Brooklyn, Satterwhite fuses a wide range of disciplines, such as performance, animation, music, painting, sculpture, and photography, to create kaleidoscopic media installations that reference art history, popular culture, queer theory, and Afrofuturist aesthetics. The result of his highly technical creative practice, involving a myriad of software platforms and new technologies, is a body of work that reflects the dynamism and technological richness of contemporary media culture.