Brian Ulrich’s second solo show in New York is now on view at Julie Saul Gallery in Chelsea. The show presents works from his series Thrift (2005 – 2008) and the currently in progress Dark Stores, Ghostboxes and Dead Malls.
Follow Brian as he guest blogs for Aperture in a series of posts below from his road trip: Chicago to Chelsea, New York.
Click here to view Part 1.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The drive today is filling with fog and low clouds over the rolling hills. I cannot help but think of and combination of Eliot Porter, Frank Breuer and Justine Kurland.
Stopping in Buckhorn, PA for some food and the investigate a mall. This is also one I’ve been to hundreds of times as Buckhorn is about an hour and a half into PA from NY. Strangely I never noticed the old empty Ames store at the Mall. Ames was a chain of department stores that went defunct back in 2002. Oddly Ames has a ton of fans online who get super nostalgic about the brand. Some of which are kids who weren’t old enough to shop there to begin with. Brand loyalty beyond the grave! Take a look at Anne Elizabeth Moore’s book, Unmarketable: Brandalism, Copyfighting, Mocketing, and the Erosion of Integrity.
The Buckhorn Mall isn’t doing so well on the inside either. A competing Walmart opened across the highway and literally sucked any life from this ailing mall. There’s a few hangers on amidst the empty storefronts. A great part of working on this particular project is the fact that the many people who work in these troubled spaces have a real grasp on economy and any conversation seems to ‘go there’. One of them, a pizza store worker with a heavy eastern european accent couldn’t hold back and was eager to inform on the history of economy and current events. It dawned on me that the effect of North Korea recent nuclear and missile tests are having a profound effect across the country. For many (including Pizza Guy) it cements the idea of the US as a losing more of it’s control over world policy and economy. Not only is there a large amount of uncertainty with how our new President will perform in the face of world threats, but paranoia seems to be feeding itself with the many changes that this new century is bringing, most of which are reeling from the latent issues of the 20th century. Pizza Guy pointed out that the loss of intellectualism in the US may be due to the fact that the US is not attractive to immigrants from educated countries any longer and that the this country’s education system may be so flawed that we’re having problems creating educated citizens. Scary ideas as the seeds of discontent seem growing in the American heartland all to the soundtrack of Muzak.
It’s with these thoughts that I leave Pizza Guy (promising to return with $2., he wouldn’t allow me to use the ATM in the mall with it’s $3 fee) and move on. I’ve lost a considerable amount of time dissecting politics and need to get moving.
From PA entering NJ and finally over the GWB into New York through the Bronx where I used to live near Pelham. As long as I have been driving, the Cross Bronx Expressway is a mess of congestion and traffic. Curse you Robert Moses!
Finally arrive in Centerport, NY at my father’s house at 6:00pm to a warm welcome or food, my wife, friends (cheers Amy Stein, Christian Patterson, Bill Sullivan, Johnathan Swafford and George Gallo) and low tide on the north shore of Long Island.
Next up: The opening, the aftermath and dead malls and Stephen Dirado in Worcester, MA.