The contemporary ‘dazzle ships’ moored on the rivers of Liverpool, Edinburgh and London to mark the First World War centenary have become familiar to millions. These brightly coloured boats pay homage to the hundreds of ships that were ‘dazzled’ during the First World War. Now the Dazzle Ship project moves to the United States, with a new commission set to light up New York.
The project is inspired by the ships that crossed the Atlantic decked out in ‘dazzle’, an experimental camouflage painted on to the hull. The idea was pioneered by British artist Norman Wilkinson, who prepared numerous designs for US merchant ships targeted by enemy U-boats. Drawing on avant-garde artistic movements such as Cubism and Vorticism, it was thought that these bewildering shapes and angles would make it more difficult to make out the ship against shifting waves and clouds.
14-18 NOW and Public Art Fund’s transformation of a boat in New York Harbor into a Dazzle Ship by a renowned American artist will give the city its own riverside landmark, commemorating the First World War centenary and the history of dazzle.
Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW and Public Art Fund
Dazzle Ship series co-commissioned with Liverpool Biennial
Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies