Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site




Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

Historic NYC Fire Boat's Paint Job Dazzles

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

More items for Coating Application
More items from North America

Comment | More

A retired fireboat in New York Harbor will be giving tourists the ol’ razzle-dazzle for the remainder of the summer and fall as part of a public-art project highlighting a unique form of “camouflage” developed a century ago.

Flow Separation
Images by Nicholas Knight, courtesy Public Art Fund, NY

The piece sees the retired New York fireboat John J. Harvey covered in what's known as "dazzle camouflage."

Artist Tauba Auerbach, in a piece called “Flow Separation,” decorated the former FDNY fireboat John J. Harvey in what’s known as dazzle camouflage, a technique that became popular during WWI for its ability to throw off enemy submarines attempting to keep tabs on a vessel.

In contrast with what we generally think of as camouflage, dazzle camo is bright, garish and patterned, making it difficult to tell from afar which way a ship is moving and how fast. The approach combines patterns found in some animals’ coloration with the techniques associate with Cubism, the visual-art movement that became popular just before the war.

Centennial Art Project

Auerbach’s piece was co-commissioned by New York City’s Public Art Fund and 14-18 NOW, an arts series created to commemorate the centennial of WWI. Many of 14-18 NOW’s early exhibitions and installations took place in the U.K.; this year, the organization is bringing projects to the U.S.

Flow Separation

Dazzle camo is bright, garish and patterned, making it difficult to tell from afar which way a ship is moving and how fast.

It’s not the first dazzle camo creation for 14-18 NOW: As PaintSquare Daily News reported in 2016, the organization commissioned artist Ciara Phillips and others to decorate ships in dazzle camouflage patterns in Edinburgh, London and Liverpool from 2014 through 2016.

Auerbach is participating in the exhibit courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery.

About the Boat

The John J. Harvey, which has given public trips as part of its mission since its retirement, will offer free rides between Brooklyn Bridge Park and Hudson River Park for the remainder of the summer, and will make stops at events throughout the city, as well as upriver in Albany, where it will dock alongside another historic dazzle ship, according to the Public Art Fund.

The Harvey was built in 1931 and operated with FDNY until 1994. It was brought out of retirement on Sept. 11, 2001, to help fight the fires at the World Trade Center site while water main damage in Manhattan rendered hydrants inoperable.

As part of the exhibit, sponsored by the Bloomberg Philanthropies, “Flow Separation” will remain on display in Hudson River Park in Chelsea throughout the winter. According to the Public Art Fund, the John J. Harvey will be returned to its original, historic paint scheme after the exhibit ends May 12, 2019.


Tagged categories: Design; Marine Coatings; Ships and vessels

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Industrial Vacuum Equipment Corp.
Hurricane Vacuums
& Dust Collectors
Vacuum and dust collector hose, filters and related accessories.

Tarps manufacturing, Inc.
QUALITY MADE IN AMERICA —Available near you!
CLICK to get a behind-the-scenes look at how Tarps Manufacturing makes the highest-quality tarps right here in the USA — available nationwide.

Novatek Corporation
Dustless Coatings Removal
Novatek Corporation, Dustless Coatings Removal Strip, clean and profile all dust free! Comply with new lead standards. Contact today: (866) 563-7800

SABRE Autonomous Solutions
The system provides a finish even experienced blasters cannot match
You will be amazed at the accuracy, speed and control of the system.

US Minerals
Blast with the bestHit Harder. Clean Faster.
Learn more at

DeFelsko Corporation
PosiTector SST Soluble Salt Tester
Measures the concentration of soluble salts on metal surfaces. Use with all Bresle patch types including the reusable, adhesive-free PosiPatch.

Sauereisen, Inc.
Substrate Repair Materials

Substrate Repair Materials and Filler Compounds

Sauereisen's full line of underlayments are the ideal substrate repair materials to restore structural integrity prior to the application of SewerGard©

Carboline Company
New product: Carbozinc® 608 HB
Introducing a new high build zinc-rich primer that can save you time and money by eliminating the epoxy intermediate coat!

Jotun Paints Inc.
Jotun Jotachar 1709
Mesh-free passive fire protection epoxy designed to protect against hydrocarbon pool fire scenarios for up to four hours as defined in the ANSI/UL1709 standard.

CHLOR*RID International Inc.
Companies that invest in corrosion control use CHLOR RID products
  • Soluble salt removal liquid
  • Test kits to verify contamination levels
  • Surface passivation to hold the blast
INFO@CHLOR-RID.COM 800.422.3217


Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL

The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy Policy   |   Terms & Conditions   |   Support   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us