Saturday, November 17, 2018

Making Dazzle Ships at the Tishman Auditorium

Public talk on ship camouflage (2018)
Above A guest presentation I gave on Thursday evening (November 15) at the Tishman Auditorium at The New School in New York City. The event, titled Making Dazzle Ships: Art, History and Design from WWI to Today, was focused on WWI dazzle ship camouflage in relation to that war's centenary (1914-1919). Of particular note has been the recent dazzle-painting of an historic fireboat, the John J. Harvey, which can be seen in New York harbor through May 1919.

Following my historical overview was a panel discussion, with insightful observations about that project (called Flow Separation) by Tauba Auerbach (the artist), Emma Enderby (project curator), and Jesse Hamerman (exhibitions director for The Public Art Fund), shown below in front of a detail of the vessel's dazzle design. It was a fascinating discussion, with new behind-the-scenes information about the challenges of designing the pattern, and the process of actually painting the ship. It was a great pleasure to be included.

It was also so gratifying to look out into the audience, and to see in attendance one of my favorite former graphic design students (at the University of Northern Iowa), NYC designer Amanda Chan. Less encouraging was the weather outside, a sloppy mix of snow and rain.

For more information about the historic context of WWI ship camouflage, here are links to two recently published online booklets here and here, as well as a wonderfully edited radio interview on 99% Invisible.

Panel discussion on ship painting project