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Tauba Auerbach: Flow Separation

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New York

New York, NY

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Tauba Auerbach’s Flow Separation is the artist’s contemporary re-imagining of the historic technique of ‘dazzling’ on the Fireboat John J. Harvey, co-commissioned by Public Art Fund and 14-18 NOW.

Throughout the summer and fall, the dazzled fireboat will be anchored at docks around New York Harbor and on weekends will offer free, timed trips for the public, continuing John J. Harvey’s 18-year tradition since her retirement as a working fireboat.

From July 14 to August 12, Flow Separation will be docked at Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park. All trips during this time will depart and return to Pier 6.

From August 13 to September 23, Flow Separation will be docked at Hudson River Park's Pier 25. All trips during this time will depart and return to Pier 25.

This artwork is FREE and viewable from land 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The public is also invited to board the boat on weekends to experience the immersive dazzled design and explore this historic vessel.

We encourage you to visit publicartfund.org and fireboat.org regularly, as additional tickets will be released when possible, and additional trips may be offered.


About Boat Trips

Boat trips take place July 14 – September 23 on Saturdays and Sundays and last 45-60 minutes. They start and end at the same location (Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park or Hudson River Park's Pier 25). The capacity of each trip is 75 people. Reservations are first come, first served.

Confirmation emails will include the time and date for each visit. Reservations are non-transferable and have no cash value; guests’ names will be checked upon entry.

Please plan to arrive for your trip at least 10 minutes early, or we cannot guarantee your spot. For all trips, we will form a line for walkups, and any spots that remain unfilled 5 minutes before departure will be released.

To board the boat, visitors are required to walk across a gangway and down several stairs. Children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult and are required to wear a life vest. The boat is open to the elements, so visitors should expect various weather conditions and hazards, and should dress accordingly. Please keep in mind that this is a vintage and historic fireboat, so you must exercise caution at all times and be aware of your surroundings. This is a functional fireboat, and we plan to spray water during the trip; as a result, rubber soled shoes are recommended. We reserve the right to restrict access to the boat or cancel trips at our sole discretion, including in the case of bad weather. Replacement passes will not be issued in the event of inclement weather or other unforeseen conditions.

Please check publicartfund.org or fireboat.org the night before your trip to be certain the boat will be going out.

Please limit the items you bring with you. Prohibited items and activities include animals (except for service animals), littering, smoking or vaping, controlled substances, third-party commercial activities, and weapons.

Visitors are invited to take photographs of the exhibition. The commercial use of photos or video taken during your visit is prohibited. By boarding the vessel, you grant us the irrevocable, transferable, perpetual right and license to publish, print, display, record, and use your image and likeness, and also the image and likeness of any people or articles that you bring with you, while at the exhibition, for any purpose, in any and all media now known or later devised.

Please obey all posted rules and safety instructions from staff and crew. We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to refuse admission, control occupancy, or eject any person whose conduct is deemed by staff to be disorderly or who fails to comply with these terms and conditions.

Public Art Fund, 14-18 NOW, and John J. Harvey are not responsible for lost or stolen personal items, and are not responsible for the actions of members of the public who board the boat. By boarding the boat, you indicate the following: you have read and will comply with all terms and conditions, and all directions and instructions given by crew members or other staff; you understand that there are inherent risks involved in being on the boat and you assume such risks; you are physically and medically able to ride on the boat; and you forever discharge Public Art Fund, 14-18 NOW, and John J, Harvey from all liability associated with the exhibition.

John J. Harvey is an uninspected vessel, not licensed by U.S. Coast Guard for the carriage of passengers for hire. All members of the public are welcome aboard as guests of her owners, free of charge.


About Flow Separation

Flow Separation is a commission by New York-based artist Tauba Auerbach (b. 1981, San Francisco, California), which transforms the historic Fireboat John J. Harvey into a contemporary ‘dazzle ship.’ Invented by British painter Norman Wilkinson during World War I, the original dazzle 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. Thousands of vessels were dazzled in the U.K. and U.S., including in New York City at the Brooklyn Navy Yards.

Auerbach is known for her painterly experimentation, often playing with various techniques to explore perception and dimensionality. Her dazzle design draws inspiration from fluid dynamics and the forms found in wake patterns left behind objects as they move through water. Auerbach created her design for the surface of the boat through the process of marbling paper, floating inks on a fluid bath and combing the surface to create various wake patterns before transferring them on to paper. The fireboat also flies a flag diagramming “flow separation” — the phenomenon when areas of fluid in a wake move backwards, creating eddies. By incorporating the movement and behavior of water into the design, Auerbach references how the fireboat travels through water as well as how water moves through the belly of the vessel itself.

2018 marks one hundred years since the end of World War I. Flow Separation artfully threads together notions of innovation, technology, and abstraction, while it also invites us to remember this devastating world war.

Flow Separation is co-commissioned by Public Art Fund, New York City’s leading presenter of dynamic outdoor art free of charge to the public, and 14-18 NOW, the United Kingdom’s award-winning public arts program commemorating the centenary of World War I. 14-18 NOW with Liverpool Biennial have commissioned four Dazzle Ships throughout the U.K., and Auerbach’s dazzled vessel is the first U.S.-based ship and the final vessel in the series before the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I on November 11, 2018. For more information on 14-18 NOW’s previous dazzled vessels please visit www.1418now.org.uk. Bloomberg Philanthropies is the presenting sponsor for Tauba Auerbach: Flow Separation.



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New York, NY

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