Art of Living Well

Artist Jacolby Satterwhite Just Transformed The Met’s Great Hall. Here’s the Daily Regimen That Made It Possible

Portrait of Jacolby Satterwhite by Xavier Scott Marshall. All images courtesy of Satterwhite and Mitchell-Innes & Nash.

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.

Jacolby Satterwhite, A Metta Prayer (Still), 2023.

What product do you use every day that instantly improves your mood?

My psychiatric meds—no, no. I have a subscription where I get wheatgrass and sea moss that I put in my smoothies. My smoothie regimen really improves my day. It consists of turkey tail mushroom, tremella, and Quinton shots, which I love. I also love my essential oils. 

What oils do you use?

Chamomile, tea tree, and peppermint. 

Is there a splurge that you reserve for special occasions?

Really anything that enhances the studio. A diffuser, or speakers, or music equipment. 

What is your favorite luxury  to gift to others?

Malin + Goetz candles.

What do you do when you need to feel grounded?

Meditation. I do transcendental meditation a lot, mostly self-guided.

Name one thing that would you love someone to buy for you, but that you would never buy for yourself.

High-fashion clothes. Maybe Prada shoes. I would literally never buy those for myself. Actually, there are a lot of things I would never buy myself that I want someone to buy me, I don’t even know where to start. The world. Buy me everything.

Is there something generic that you think is just as good as the original?

Yes, all prescription drugs.

Jacolby Satterwhite, A Metta Prayer (Still), 2023.

Do you have any rituals that you inherited—something that you picked up from a friend or a family member?

The process of making art. My mother [Patricia Satterwhite] is an artist, so I inherited that ritual; drawing, creating. She liked drawing inventions– schematic, abstract drawings of common objects.

What is the best thing you’ve put on your face recently?

I don’t really use topical products, I just stay hydrated and eat really healthy. I might put cocoa butter on my face or in sprays.

Do you have a favorite luxury that costs less than twenty dollars?

Going to a club. That is a luxury.

Jacolby Satterwhite, A Metta Prayer (Still), 2023.

Do you have any favorite spots?

Maybe Basement.

Is there a wellness ritual you think is overrated? 

The one where people turn their asses towards the sun. The one where they open their anus to the sun… I don’t know what that's for.

What is the most luxurious thing in your life that’s free?


For other tips on how to live well, see our interviews with designer Aurora James and actor Jemima Kirke.