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Cleveland Museum of Art Opens Brian Ulrich Photographs Exhibition

The Cleveland Museum of Art presents Brian Ulrich: Copia—Retail, Thrift, and Dark Stores, 2001–11. On view at the Cleveland Museum of Art from August 27, 2011 to January 16, 2012, Brian Ulrich features 50 color photographs from the artist’s Copia series (2001–10), a three-part project that confronts viewers with an in-depth examination of consumerism in American culture.

Black River Falls, WI, 2006. Brian Ulrich (American, b. 1971). Ultrachrome Inkjet Print, printed 2011; 50.8 x 66 cm. Collection of Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell. © Brian Ulrich

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.

Organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art, this exhibition was made possible by the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Foundation. The Cleveland Museum of Art is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this exhibition with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.

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