The screen print Satyric Festival Song is one of three prints that make up Andy Warhol’s Martha Graham series (1986). It shows a double image of the eponymous dancer in luminous blue hues and outlined in multicolours, set against a black backdrop that alludes to the dancer being lit up on stage. This print is characteristic of Warhol’s screen printing style in the latter part of his career.
Known as one of the founders of modern movement, Graham profoundly influenced the world of performing arts in the 20th century. She was the first dancer to ever perform at the White House and shot to stardom, proving to be an apt subject for Warhol to transform into a Pop Art icon. Using a photograph by the American photographer Barbara Morgan to produce the screen print, Warhol created the series to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the Martha Graham Dance Centre of Contemporary Dance in New York.
Capturing Graham mid-movement with her hair in the air and arm flung upwards, the print is dynamic in character, emphasised by the repetition of the figure. Warhol perfectly encapsulates Graham’s unrivalled ability to portray profound emotion through physical movement, in his use of line, colour and form.