Proposed Collaboration with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps: USS Clyfford Still

We propose to create the USS Clyfford Still, a ship of abstraction attacking or aiding foreign lands. The USS Clyfford Still would be commissioned as an amphibious transport dock, bringing Marine troops to ports worldwide and to points further inland in the promotion of American visual culture. It is an invasion of art: part military intervention and part Abstract Expressionist painting. It is also a display of the superiority of American visual culture and its?ability to conquer all other artistic traditions. As described by the US Navy, amphibious transport dock ships (LPDs) are warships that embark, transport, and land elements of a landing force for a variety of expeditionary warfare?missions. LPDs are used to transport and land Marines. USS Clyfford Still would land on foreign shores far and wide, and American troops of abstraction would pour out to conquer the visual landscape.

The USS Clyfford Still would impose an American creative vision on the world at large through the design of the LPD and the appearance of the troops serving on the vessel. The design is based on military camouflage as an abstract—but vernacular––visual language, created for a practical purpose. However, the palette of the camouflage on the USS Clyfford Still will range from traditional forest green and neutral colors to expressive hues, such as vivid greens, yellows, and reds. The experience of seeing the ship will resemble a giant abstract painting moving toward you like an inevitable wave of visual dominance.

The troops on board the USS Clyfford Still also would wear uniforms of the same pattern as the ship itself, so that the Marine troop movements across the sea and land would create a giant abstract painting. Each marine or seaman would embody American achievements invisual culture and be an emissary bringing the art form to peoples across the globe.

Artist’s Statement

We are interested in forms of art and design that are found in the public realm but are hidden as useful structures—such as military or paramilitary devices, traps, hunting blinds, gallows, pillories, huts, and lodges. Our recent work has often explored camouflage as a graphic language.