FotoFest Exhibitions

Brian Ulrich

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Brian Ulrich has vividly illustrated the rise and fall of consumer culture in the United States since President George W. Bush encouraged citizens to boost the economy through shopping after the attacks on September 11, 2001—thereby equating consumerism with patriotism. Ulrich initially captured excessive consumption in the bustling big-box retail stores. With the recent financial decline, the consumption-based model of the late twentieth century has suffered, transforming communities, the environment, and the American urban landscape. The title of series Dark Stores, Ghost Boxes and Dead Malls (2008-2009) is taken from retail industry terms for emptied, vacant, and dying retail stores. Ulrich’s recent work seeks these out and records the remnants of a consumer world now abandoned and stripped of their brand and identity. Ulrich’s pictures serve as reminders of the futility of consumption without foresight.


Brian Ulrich was born 1971 in Northport, New York. He earned his M.F.A. in photography at Columbia College, Chicago and his B.F.A. in photography at the University of Akron. His work has been included in many group exhibitions: Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Galerie f5.6, Munich; Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, Illinois; Cleveland Museum of Art; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. Ulrich has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, Kansas; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago; Julie Saul Gallery, New York; and the Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco. His photographs portraying contemporary consumer culture are in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago. His first monograph, Copia was published in 2006 by Aperture as a part of the MP3: Midwest Photographers Project. In 2009 he was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. His work has been recently featured in several magazines including: New York Times Magazine, Orion, Vice, Mother Jones, Artforum, Harper’s, Leica World, Yvi Magazine and as a frequent contributor to Adbusters.