Reliquary for the River Marsyas

Reliquary for the River Marsyas was part of Celebration of the Arts, a juried show, and installed in the former Del Monte canning factory in Emeryville, CA in 1992. Margaret Fisher performs the satyr.   Photo courtesy MAFISHCO.
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About the work

A river in ancient Phrygia was named after Marsyas, a Greek satyr. Marsyas challenged Apollo to a musical contest. Marsyas played the flute and Apollo the cithara, a form of lyre. The muses were called upon to act as the judges. The victor’s reward was to do as they pleased to the vanquished. Marsyas and Apollo were tied with no winner apparent until Apollo began to sing as well as play his instrument. The combination of voice and lyre were so beautiful that he won the contest. He flayed Marsyas alive for the presumption that a mortal could achieve superiority over a god. The lyre came to be associated with the worship of Apollo among the Dorians, and the flute with the orgiastic rites of Dionysus in Phrygia.

This installation continues the Dionysian theme of the 1988 MAFISHCO staged work, Vice Versa.


  • Installation: Margaret Fisher
  • Costume Design: Jacqueline Humbert
  • Performers: Beverlee Blair and Margaret Fisher

Performance History

  • Installed: Former Del Monte canning factory, Emeryville Celebration of the Arts, Emeryville CA,
    October, 1992.