"You know, art can be something which can really disempower people, or it can be a vehicle which can empower people."
From the series, "Exclusive"
Filmed in Presidio, Texas in late 2010, painter Rackstraw Downes describes why he views the work of some long-deceased painters to be relevant to his own contemporary practice. Paintings by such artists are shown including Claude Lorrain's Sunrise (1646–47), Jacob van Ruisdael's Wheat Fields (1670), and J.M.W. Turner's The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons (1834–35). Despite not using the same techniques as these painters, Downes seeks out their work because he considers it "useful," "provocative," and "like challenges."
CREDITS: Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Bob Elfstrom. Sound: Ray Day. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Rackstraw Downes, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Theme Music: Peter Foley.