Eleven tapestry-like painted objects hang from the gallery ceiling in symmetrical arrangements, delineating pathways, establishing something of a community.
“All nature here is new to art, no Tivolis, Ternis, Mont Blancs, Plinlimmons, hackneyed and worn by the daily pencils of hundreds; but primeval forests, virgin lakes and waterfalls.” So rhapsodized British-born painter Thomas Cole (1801–1848) on the appeal of the American landscape.
In August, Brooklyn’s Spectacle Theater hosted CON-MYTHOLOGY: The Moving Images of Conrad Schnitzler, four programs that showcased films by or featuring the titular German artist (1937 2011), selected by Schnitzler collaborator Gen Ken Montgomery.
“What is art?” asked Baudelaire. “Prostitution?” His question underlines the tenuous power dynamics between artist and viewer in the modern age.
The Illinois Parables, a documentary by the Chicago-based filmmaker Deborah Stratman, begins with a brief series of shots from above the titular state’s landscape. Illinois is “flyover country” after all: most coastal Americans see it as a undifferentiated stretch of farmland, flanked by the Mississippi on one side and cut through by the country’s two longest interstate highways, I-90 and I-80.