Artists in Conversation: Nina Chanel Abney and Jacolby Satterwhite, with Nicholas Baume and Thelma Golden


As a part of Lincoln Center’s Open House Weekend, co-presented by Lincoln Center and New York Philharmonic, on October 29, artists Nina Chanel Abney and Jacolby Satterwhite will be in conversation with Nicholas Baume, Artistic & Executive Director of Public Art Fund, and Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem. They will discuss Abney’s San Juan Heal (2022) and Satterwhite’s An Eclectic Dance to the Music of Time (2022) two site-specific commissions for the new David Geffen Hall. In these wide-ranging monumental artworks, Abney and Satterwhite excavate erased or forgotten narratives relating to the history of Lincoln Center’s site. 

Abney’s kaleidoscopic installation, San Juan Heal, spans more than 150 feet of the Hall’s 65th street façade, and pays homage to the neighborhood of San Juan Hill. Home to some of the largest Black and Puerto Rican populations in early twentieth century New York City, its residents were forcibly displaced in the 1940s and 50s to make way for redevelopment projects that included what would become Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Abney’s constellation of figures, words, shapes and symbols reflects the thriving community that lived here, including pioneering healthcare workers Edith Carter and Elizabeth Tyler; James P. Johnson, whose music gave rise to the Charleston dance craze; and Thelonious Monk, a trailblazer of Bebop and longtime resident of the neighborhood’s Phipps Houses.

An Eclectic Dance to the Music of Time, Satterwhite’s film for the 50-foot Hauser Media Wall in the Hall’s public lobby, reconsiders the past, present, and future of Lincoln Center and the New York Philharmonic. His work weaves together archival images, live action footage, and digital animation into a colorful and densely layered festival of performance, traversing historical periods through virtual space. Satterwhite’s inclusive piece represents artists from the Philharmonic’s founding in 1842, and also features more than 100 young musicians and dancers from across New York City. Grounded in his vision of a more democratic history, Satterwhite’s work offers us his playful and richly inventive vision of a creatively empowered future.

With these ambitious new installations, Abney and Satterwhite emerge as gifted visual storytellers who are committed to a more inclusive understanding of the past while offering a sense of future potential at a moment of reopening and reinvention. The artworks are commissioned by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in collaboration with The Studio Museum in Harlem and Public Art Fund. 

Artists in Conversation: Nina Chanel Abney and Jacolby Satterwhite with Nicholas Baume (Public Art Fund) and Thelma Golden (The Studio Museum in Harlem)

Saturday, October 29, 2022 at 5pm

Kenneth C. Griffin Sidewalk Studio at David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center

Like all Lincoln Center Open House Weekend events, this program is FREE and first-come, first-served (limited capacity). No registration required. More information on all programs and events here.

About the Artists

Nina Chanel Abney is known for combining representation and abstraction. Her paintings capture the frenetic pace of contemporary culture. Broaching subjects as diverse as race, celebrity, religion, politics, sex, and art history, her works eschew linear storytelling in lieu of disjointed narratives. The effect is information overload, balanced with a kind of spontaneous order, where time and space are compressed and identity is interchangeable. Her distinctively bold style harnesses the flux and simultaneity that have come to define life in the 21st century. Through a bracing use of color and unapologetic scale, Abney’s canvases propose a new type of history painting, one grounded in the barrage of everyday events and funneled through the velocity of the internet.

Abney’s work is included in collections around the world, including the Brooklyn Museum, The Rubell Family Collection, Bronx Museum, and the Burger Collection, Hong Kong. Her first solo museum exhibition, Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush, curated by Marshall Price, was presented in 2017 at the Nasher Museum of Art, North Carolina. It traveled to the Chicago Cultural Center and then to Los Angeles, where it was jointly presented by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the California African American Museum. The final venue for the exhibition was the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York.

Jacolby Satterwhite is celebrated for a conceptual practice addressing crucial themes of labor, consumption, carnality, and fantasy through immersive installation, virtual reality, and digital media. He uses a range of software to produce intricately detailed animations and live action film of real and imagined worlds populated by the avatars of artists and friends. These animations serve as the stage on which the artist synthesizes the multiple disciplines that encompass his practice, namely painting, performance, illustration, sculpture, photography, and writing. Satterwhite draws from an extensive set of references, guided by queer theory, modernism, and video game language to challenge conventions of Western art through a personal and political lens. An equally significant influence is that of his late mother, Patricia Satterwhite, whose ethereal vocals and diagrams for visionary household products serve as the source material within a decidedly complex structure of memory and mythology. Satterwhite received his BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Arts, Baltimore and his MFA from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. His work has been presented in numerous exhibitions and festivals internationally, including most recently at Haus der Kunst, Munich, 2021; Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, 2021; and Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH, 2021.