Growing up in the suburban land of big-box retail (which increasingly seems to infiltrate our cities too), I was no stranger to the wanton excess that lined the shelves of stores like Meijer, Target, Costco and Walmart. As the mediocrity of these spaces and the mind-numbing effects of consumerism come to define our American landscape, it seems important for artists to encourage active debate on the matter.
In the aftermath of 9/11, when our president brazenly equated shopping with patriotism, Brian Ulrich began his photographic project Copia. The ongoing series, as Ulrich notes in his statement, examines âthe economic, cultural, social and political implications of commercialism and the roles we play in self-destruction, over-consumption and as targets of marketing and advertising.â The project is defined by several evolving chapters: Retail, Thrift, Backrooms and a forthcoming examination into the world of luxury goods.
Brian passed on some recent images from the Retail series (clockwise from top left): Chicago, IL 2005 (Xmas); Chicago, IL 2006 (Bluetooth); Kenosha, WI 2006 (Jello); and New York, NY 2005 (Candy Store). His work is included in the exhibit "Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes," currently at the Walker Art Center, and later this year at the Carnegie Museum of Art.