About the Talk
Flow Separation is a commission by New York-based artist Tauba Auerbach, which has transformed the historic Fireboat John J. Harvey into a contemporary "dazzle ship" currently on view in New York Harbor through May 2019. A technique invented by British painter Norman Wilkinson during World War I, the original dazzle “camouflage” patterns were painted onto ships to optically distort their forms, confusing enemy submarines tracking their distance, direction, and speed. With their geometric shapes, the dazzle designs were heavily indebted to both animal camouflage and avant-garde movements like Cubism, Futurism, and Vorticism. Auerbach’s contemporary dazzle design draws inspiration from fluid dynamics and the forms found in wake patterns left behind objects as they move through water.
On November 15, to mark the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, Public Art Fund will present a talk at The New School that explores the intersection of history, art, and design through the lens of both historic and contemporary dazzle ships. Distinguished dazzle camouflage historian Roy R. Behrens will frame the project within the historical and political context of dazzle camouflage painting; Flow Separation curator Emma Enderby will discuss Auerbach’s modern reinterpretation of dazzle design as well as its four contemporary precursors in the UK; and Public Art Fund Director of Exhibitions Jesse Hamerman will offer an insightful behind-the scenes look at the process of realizing Auerbach’s vision for Flow Separation.
About the speakers:
Roy R. Behrens, Professor of Art and Distinguished Scholar at the University of Northern Iowa, is an author and graphic designer who teaches design history, and has published books and articles on art and camouflage.
Emma Enderby is an Adjunct Curator at Public Art Fund and the curator of Tauba Auerbach: Flow Separation.
Jesse Hamerman is the Director of Exhibitions at Public Art Fund who, together with the artist, oversaw the painting of Fireboat John J. Harvey.