Jacolby Satterwhite and her bagel.
Illustration: Maanvi Kapur
On August 14, the Miller Institute for Contemporary Art at Carnegie Mellon University will debut Jacolby Satterwhite‘s “Spirits wandering the Earth”, The first solo investigation into the artist’s work. This is one of the many projects that Satterwhite – which incorporates animation, performance, drawing and other mediums – is in development: with the Miller ICA exhibition, he will return to painting with an exhibition from group to MoMA PS1 and is working on his first public art project for the cleveland clinic. He’s also working on a music video, though the details are understated. (He was co-director for Solange’s 2019 visual album, When I come back home, and collaborated with Nick Weiss on an album, Love will find its way home, as part of a project incorporating recordings and drawings by his late mother.) “In a very Warholian way, I see pop stars as these weird vessels for conceptual space,” he says. At home in Brooklyn this week, Satterwhite went to a few galleries in Manhattan, had sardines that reminded him of his grandmother, and ate an entire can of Fruity Pebbles in one day.
Monday July 26
I’m almost completely recovered from my positive diagnosis of Delta-variant COVID-19 from ten days ago, and I’m vaccinated – it was a breakthrough. So I decided to take my first long walk with a friend to my favorite vegan bagel store in Bed-Stuy. I caught the virus during my seven day vacation on Fire Island. I had a blast and did the gay thing – it was really fun being with my friends and then going to parties. The past ten days have been difficult, quarantining my home with the people I live with. I felt continued guilt as if I was a domestic biological weapon existing in the house.
I am always tired from heavy brain fog and irritability. My first major monographic exhibition in over ten years of work launches at Carnegie Mellon’s Miller ICA Gallery on August 14th. an exhibition in the fall. I really hope I can get back to normal soon so I can get back to work. I feel like I wasted July completely with my vacation and COVID, so I’m focusing on protein and eating lentil soup.
Lentil soup. My roommate makes a very nice one with all kinds of Indian spices. My practice is so busy. It’s 24/7. I barely have time to cook, so I mostly eat outside. I live with a gay couple in a nice area of Brownstone. One of them was raised by chefs, so they cook really well. I eat a lot of vegan food. They kind of almost turned me into a vegan. I am more pescatarian now.
I ate sardines and crackers. I went to Saraghina Bakery for these very nice sardines. I no longer remember the brand. I usually don’t have to watch what I need. I just know it. A sardine and cracker not only contains all the protein and nutrients that give me energy and muscle – and I can look great – but it also reminds me of my grandmother.
She made me sardines and oatmeal every morning when I was a child.
“Have sardines and oatmeal.”
“Thank you, grandmother. “
Tuesday July 27
My morning ritual is to do 180 one-arm push-ups, 180 lunges, 180 planks, a few other exercises, take lithium orotate, acetyl-L-carnitine (1,500 milligrams), Wellbutrin, l ‘ashwagandha, lypo-spherical vitamin C, B12, and magnesium and then eat a salmon salad. Then I am ready to work in the studio.
I had the salmon salad from this nearby bodega called Secret Garden Juice Bar & Tea House on Halsey and Lewis. I love them. It’s like a fancier bodega where they have good food. They just have the best salmon salad they make with olives, chickpeas, carrots, corn, sautéed mushrooms, beets, Parmesan, and sweet peppers. Oil and vinegar. I put a lot of green stuff in it and also some cashews and capers.
When I was a kid I was afraid of diseases like cancer and all that. And I am very linear. I like to eat so that I can work as much as possible. But I become a foodie because I live with two foodies, and I realized that there is something amazing about the scent in food, that makes life worth living. Do you know that there are certain foods that have the equivalent of a great sexual experience? It’s a certain kind of visceral feeling.
I hung out with my friends in Chelsea and went to see a group show I was in at Hauser & Wirth, curated by Nicole Eisenman, Sam Roeck and AL Steiner. It was a two hour looping queer movie screening. We missed my movie twice and had snack breaks and a lunch break in between, but in time to catch it.
At lunch, I had a coconut stew. I don’t remember the restaurant we went to. I never remember the names of the restaurants I go to. I’m just a freight train. I always have so much to do. And I have great experiences, and I eat great things, and I have the opportunity to access so many things. But I had moved on to the next one. Giving up control is my favorite. It’s my aphrodisiac. I’m an Aquarius and I’m definitely in the know.
Finally, we got to see my film. It was exciting. Then we went to Lyles & King in Chinatown to see a pigment print on metal that I created. After that, we ate at Dimes, and I had the steamed mussels. They were in the soup bowl with lettuce and kale and all that stuff, and it was really delicious.
I like Dimes. They have the absolute best food. I think whoever cooks there is crazy, but they are really good. I don’t go there often, but it’s a really cool place.
Wednesday July 28
The day was anticlimactic and lazy. I met someone on Scruff after eating a vegan burrito, an Impossible burger, blueberries and blackberries all day. I love blueberries because they say they are good for the brain.
I felt like all of my diets and rituals couldn’t beat this sort of brain fog and lack of motivation and pessimism. I felt like it had altered my brainstem. So I was looking for comfort and I was watching WandaVision. And I was also a little stressed about my deadlines. So when I’m stressed, I’m a little paralyzed.
I don’t eat burritos normally – that’s when depression sets in. I ordered from Tepache. Their burritos are really good and they deliver very quickly.
Thursday July 29
I needed to heal from the previous day by intermittent fasting.
After eating, I decided to contradict everything and grab some takeaway from Chun Vegetarian – the food tastes the same as the real thing, and it’s just delicious – before meeting up with my friends for go to Frankie Sharp’s club, Q.
Frankie is a good friend of mine. I am so proud of him. Every time I go I go to the VIP section and it’s fun. Frankie and I are going back, so it’s so exciting to see him start Club Q, because it’s a great New York moment. And I think it’s like all the people who came to the nightlife now have good positions there. I have been there several times and it is getting better and better.
Frankie is really great because he’s very New Yorker. He understands what New Yorkers want. It’s very varied: there is a cabaret evening; there’s a bitchy go-go party. It’s all that, almost like Neapolitan ice cream, which is also my favorite ice cream.
Friday July 30
I just feel like I love Fruity Pebbles cereal. Actually, I haven’t put it here yet, but I eat a lot of fruity pebbles. I ate an entire box of Fruity Pebbles in one day.
Brooklyn Waffle House Chicken and Waffles on Hancock. I ate a bunch of comfort food and did a ton of CGI and paint in the evenings.
I also had shrimp and oatmeal. Pancakes and waffles and sardines and oatmeal – there are some things. And soul food reminds me of my upbringing in the South: chicken livers and candied yams, cornbread and collard greens and anything black food in the South really gives it the aroma of a just cooked soup that gives a feeling of home.
Saturday July 31
I was eating healthy and working hard because I had planned to go dancing at two parties in Brooklyn called Susanne’s Kunst and Function tonight.
Canned octopus. I like canned fish because you don’t have to prepare it. I was in the painting and animation studio.
I ate a vegetable stew that my roommate made. It was very complicated. I think it’s really interesting. It was like cutting up all the vegetables in the world, adding all kinds of boxes for the stew – broth, kale, lettuce and celery. It was just really complicated soup. It was really good.
Also, gelatin bears. I like candy, but I try not to have it around. My roommates love candy, and that was a problem at first because if there is, I’ll eat it. If not, I don’t think about it. But I like sweets.
Susanne Bartsch’s Kunst is a party that I adore. It’s just great because it’s like raw techno and house, the collective mix of music and DJ friends, and they’re all visual artists, writers and poets and sex workers too. . I’ve seen so many people that I love and people that I want to love, you know?
I always organized parties back then. I thought of nightlife as this artistic medium – like, I would pick people for my nightlife movies. I would use it as a resource, as an archive. You get so much from a bunch of eccentric, eclectic traumatized queers in the fucking room.