Brian Ulrich, Courtesy of Haggerty Museum of Art
When a shopping mall withers and dies, it sinks like a cruise ship, leaving a great hulking shell. This has been the elegiac focus of photographer Brian Ulrich for the past decade. His camera has followed the consumer road since 2001, when the government urged Americans to spend more to buoy the economy. The “Retail” chapter of Ulrich’s Copia trilogy reveals the artificial sweetness of product seduction and its toll on humanity. The “Thrift” chapter shows us the unmoored condition of product purgatory, a parallel universe of tangled disarray. Finally, “Dark Stores” presents the demise of overblown dreams, the strangely poetic ruins of big box stores and malls. The pictures glow with ominous abandonment. The abstract architecture of these empty vessels perfectly parallels the emptiness of consumer desire.
➞ Copia: Retail, Thrift and Dark Stores. (Jan. 22-May 18). Haggerty Museum of Art. 530 N. 13th St., 414-288-1669, marquette.edu/haggerty.