Brian Ulrich's large-scale photographs examine the excesses and peculiarities of American consumer culture. Begun in 2001 in response to the U.S government's call to citizens to bolster the economy through shopping, the ongoing Copia series offers a penetrating look at life in commercial settings. The images locate private moments in
busy public environments that are essentially enclosed virtual worlds, such as shopping
malls, "big-box" retailers, and thrift stores. Finding a mix of banality and humanity in the
interactions within these spaces, the images invite the viewer to scrutinize and assess
familiar rituals of consumption, while maintaining empathy for the individuals who act as
our photographic stand-ins.
Ulrich’s work has been exhibited at numerous venues throughout the United States, including solo exhibitions at the Cleveland Museum of Art in 2011, the Museum of
Contemporary Art, San Diego in 2006, and The Museum of Contemporary Art in
Chicago, as part of their 2005 exhibition series 12 x 12: New Artists/New Work. His
work is held by major collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum
of Fine Arts, Houston, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the
Cleveland Museum of Art, among others. His first monograph, Is This Place Great or
What was published by Aperture and the Cleveland Museum of Art in 2011. Ulrich
received an MFA from Columbia College, Chicago, in 2004, and currently teaches at
Virginia Commonwealth University.
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