Navy SEAL Museum Hosts Underwater Art Exhibit
This unique exhibit by Austrian art photographer Andreas Franke consists of dozens of digitally composited images from the General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, a former Air Force missile tracking ship that was scuttled in May 2009 to become and artificial reef in the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary and the USCG Mohawk, an historic WWII Coast Guard Cutter which rests off the coast of Sanibel Island on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
With his project “The Sinking World,” Andreas Franke brings a strange, forgotten underwater world back to life and stages realms of an unprecedented kind. The resting giants at the bottom of the sea do not only form fascinating and unique backgrounds for Franke’s sceneries. They also constitute the best exhibition sites imaginable. This lively, animate, secretive nothingness, this menacing, wild emptiness would haunt and seduce the renowned Austrian photographer and passionate diver Franke.
This Viennese artist, famous for his amazingly detailed and meticulously construed stagings of international brands, saw the possibility for a unique platform in the sleeping giant at the bottom of the sea. He took studio photographs representing scenes from everyday life and superimposed them on the absurd, peerless, submarine background formed by the ship and its ambiance.
These spectacular underwater galleries make divers fall under their spell and display the work of the ocean itself. During the weeks and months under water the ocean bequeaths impressive, peerless traces to the pictures. It adorns them with a certain, peculiar patina, endowing them with the countenance of bizarre evanescence and transfiguring them into rare beauties.
“We are very excited to bring this work to the Treasure Coast,” says Andy Brady, president of SHIP, Inc. and the community outreach coordinator for the Navy UDT- SEAL Museum. “SHIP is dedicated to deploying a large military ship off of the Treasure Coast as an artificial reef and is hopeful that when we obtain our ship that there is an historical tie to the Navy UDT- SEAL Museum. Projects such as the Vandenberg and Mohawk have proven to be successful for marine research, fishing and diving interests. The underwater gallery component is a unique way to demonstrate the awesome things that can develop with such a project and the positive economic impacts to a community has been well documented. In the United States, the Sinking World has only been on display in Key West, Fort Myers and New York City, to we are thrilled to be able to show this unique collection here on the Treasure Coast.”
The complete exhibit consists of both “Virgin” prints (art that has not been displayed underwater) and “Unique” prints. The “Unique” prints consist of the work that was displayed on the underwater galleries. The Navy UDT- SEAL Museum will exhibit the “Unique” pieces of the Mohawk Project. The “Unique” pieces of the Vandenberg Project will be displayed at the Port St. Lucie Civic Center and Island Images Professional Photography in Vero Beach will have three of the “Virgin” pieces of the Vandenberg on display.