The Metropolitan Museum’s great hall to be transformed by kaleidoscopic Jacolby Satterwhite video installation

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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.

In addition to early details of Satterwhite’s commission, the museum announced on 10 April that Iran-born, Berlin-based sculptor Nairy Baghramian is the next artist commissioned to create pieces for the four empty pedestals on the museum’s façade (7 September 2023-19 May 2024). Her sculptures for the commission will consist of abstract, polychromatic elements installed in nooks as if they were detritus that had been washed up against the building.

Artists Nairy Baghramian (left) and Jacolby Satterwhite (right) Baghramian photo: Abigail Enzaldo. Courtesy of the artist, Marian Goodman Gallery, and Kurimanzutto. Satterwhite photo: Xavier Scott Marshall. Courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York.

Baghramian’s commission is the fourth in the Met’s façade series, following past interventions by Wangechi Mutu and Carol Bove, and the current installation of gilt vessels by Hew Locke (until 30 May).

News of the major autumnal interventions at the Met comes as the museum prepares to unveil its marquee contemporary art project of the spring, a rooftop installation by Los Angeles-based artist Lauren Halsey. Originally scheduled for 2022, her installation the eastside of south central los angeles hieroglyph prototype architecture (I) (2023) will now be unveiled on 18 April (until 22 October).

Site-specific commissions are among the most important contemporary art projects at the Met, which is still years away from having a long-planned and repeatedly delayed wing for contemporary art. That $500m project, being designed by architect Frida Escobedo, is currently scheduled for completion in 2029.

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