The Julie Saul Gallery is pleased to announce our second show of Brian Ulrich’s photographs. Thrift and Dark Stores is a continuation of his larger project, Copia, a long-term photographic examination of the complexities of the consumer-dominated culture in which we live. His prescient insight into post 9-11 consumerism boom has awarded him a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship.
Ulrich began his Copia series after 9/11 when President Bush encouraged Americans to shop as a patriotic gesture to boost the economy. He pictured the abundant merchandise in stores and shoppers’ fascination with the goods. As the decade progressed Ulrich has enlarged his theme to embrace thrift stores and finally the new landscape of closed and derelict malls and big box stores. Ulrich’s image Madison, Wisconsin 2005 of a retail space filled with empty hangers signals the end of a cycle, and is pictured on the cover of the May 2009 issue of Photograph with an essay by Lyle Rexer who writes, “Ulrich reveals the chaotic ass-end of capitalism.” Thrift looks at the “last -stop repositories” where goods are sent to die at even more discounted prices. These chaotic dumping grounds of discarded computers and gym shoes raise the question, “where do we go from here?” At the same time the Dark Stores have an almost apocalyptic quality signaling an end and a new beginning.
The exhibition will feature a series of nine 30×40” color prints from the Thrift series, a combination of portraits and interiors. The Dark Stores will be represented with a sequence of small prints hung tightly as a nod to Ruscha’s storefronts and other similar projects and one large scale storefront- a defunct Circuit City.
Raised on the East Coast, Ulrich has become a Midwesterner having attended the University of Akron and received his MFA from Columbia College in Chicago where he lives. His work has been exhibited widely in group and solo exhibitions, most recently in New Suburban Landscapes organized by the Walker Art Center and traveled to the Carnegie Museum and the Yale School of Architecture. Both mainstream and art publications have featured his images internationally including Time Magazine, the New York Times Magazine, Le Monde and Harper’s Bazaar. His work has been reviewed by The New Yorker, Art News, the New York Times and Artforum. Public collections include the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cleveland Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Akron Art Museum, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. A monograph was published jointly by the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago and Aperture as part of the MP3 series in 2006.