Saturday, October 29, 2011

Underwater Art Exhibit Debuts on Artificial Reef Off Key West

An underwater art exhibit has debuted on a former Air Force missile tracking ship sunk in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary seven miles south of Key West to become an artificial reef.

Austrian art photographer Andreas Franke is exhibiting a dozen digitally composited images on the Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg that was scuttled in May 2009. The 4- by 5-foot photographs stretch along some 200 linear feet on the starboard side of the Vandenberg's weather deck, 93 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.

Franke photographed the wreck last year. He digitally added other elements to the images to create the artwork. One picture depicts a girl wielding a butterfly net to capture fish shown in an original underwater image of the wreck. In another, kick boxers compete adjacent to one of Vandenberg's iconic tracking dishes. The 20-square-foot images are encased in plexiglass and mounted in stainless steel frames sealed with silicone. A project organizer said Sunday he hopes the exhibition will remain in place through the end of the year.

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