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Brian Ulrich: Copia—Retail, Thrift, and Dark Stores, 2001–11

Copia—Retail, Thrift, and Dark Stores, 2001–11

Cleveland Museum of Art

August 27, 2011–January 16, 2012

Nobody has captured the emptiness at the heart of American consumer culture better than Brian Ulrich.  For those fortunate enough to be in the area, his work will be on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art  from August 27, 2011 to January 16, 2012.  The exhibition features 50 color photographs from the artist’s Copia series (2001–10), a three-part project labeled Retail, Thrift, and Dark Stores.  Initially using a hand-held camera with the view finder at waist level, Ulrich remained anonymous while documenting shoppers engrossed in navigating the abundance of goods found in vast enclosed malls and big-box stores. The second phase focuses on thrift stores, the collecting places for discarded and unwanted consumer products, yet a primary destination for a growing segment of the United States’ population. The concluding group features haunting images of the impact of the 2008 financial crisis, highlighted by the exteriors and interiors of dark stores, ghost boxes, and dead malls.

And be sure to get the book: Is This Place Great or What.

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Brian Ulrich: Copia—Retail, Thrift, and Dark Stores, 2001–11

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