"Over 100 Years: Photographing Consumer Culture—Past, Present, and Future"
With a keen eye for the aesthetically compelling, eerily uncanny, and surprisingly poignant, photographer Brian Ulrich documents the landscape of American consumer culture. Following President George W. Bush’s 2001 assertion that, “the vitality of our economy depends upon the willingness of Americans to spend,” the artist set out to investigate and record the supermarkets, malls, and big-box stores where so many middle-class purchases are made. Ulrich followed this series of work, Retail (2001-2006) with Thrift (2005-2008), an investigation of the second-hand shops where purchases take on subsequent lives. He concluded the project with Dark Stores (2008-2011), an exploration of the impact of the 2008 financial crisis. Ulrich’s talk will address the larger project these three series comprise–Copia, an endeavor that he describes as an “attempt to describe an economic and cultural trajectory, set in motion in the 20th century and how it evolved at the dawn of the 21st.”
A John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, Ulrich has exhibited his photographs in solo shows at such prestigious venues as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Ulrich’s talk is in conjunction with the Ulrich exhibition Stocked: Contemporary Art from the Grocery Aisles, on view January 19-April 14, 2013.