Brian Ulrich‘s second solo show in New York at Julie Saul Gallery will open this Thursday, May 28th in Chelsea. The show presents works from his series Thrift (2005 – 2008) and the currently in progress Dark Stores, Ghostboxes and Dead Malls. Much of this work is part of the larger project Copia for which Ulrich is currently working on a Guggenheim Fellowship and planning to continue across the country making pictures for a compilation of photographs to culminate in a book that examines 100 years of consumer culture in the US. The show is currently featured on the cover of Photograph Magazine.
Follow Brian as he guest blogs for Aperture in a series of posts below from his road trip: Chicago to Chelsea, New York, sent this morning at 2:42 am.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Got a late start on the long drive from Chicago to the hometown (NY) due to Car Dealership traps. Follow this up with a torrential rainstorm or two and I’ve only made outside Toledo by 9pm. Missed the exit for the currently-being-demolished Southwyck Mall in Toledo. Hopefully will have time to revisit/scout a Dead Mall in Akron, OH and make it into PA this eve. Averaging 38mpg Diesel.
Lunch – always surprises me how few options for food are on the road. Michael Pollan and Paul Roberts are right, we’re in trouble if we continue down Vitamin Beef.
Shout Out to John Lehr.
Drive to NY on one and a half tanks of diesel.
Shout Out to Paul Graham outside of Toledo. (I wrote my thesis paper on PG). Smoke Break, 2009
11:30 Akron, OH Rolling Acres Mall. I should’ve been here hours ago. (Disclaimer: these are all iPhone pics, mostly lit by car headlights).
Luckily I photographed inside this Mall for 2 days last summer. It was still open at the time with about 2 stores and no security whatsoever. Still there a few pictures I’d like to make outside. There’s a certain affinity for this place as I used to shop here as a while an undergrad. While so many of these places are such a bad idea, Rolling Acres seems to have failed not only for bad planning, but also is representative of economic class and racism. When the mall was still flourishing I recall being warned to avoid this place due to the droves of gangs. Being from NY I couldn’t understand this, a gang to me was not a bunch of kids in a mall being rowdy. I was never bothered there but clearly much of the community was. This huge mall closed not long after I was here last summer. The landlord simply stopped paying the utilities. It recently was offered up for auction and didn’t receive one bid.
I was hoping to make some 8×10 pictures here but the late timing and the fact that this one is so dim it’s downright scary. Any exposure would require at least a half an hour and some serious flashlight painting. While I’ve gotten pretty accustomed to working alone late at night once in a while it doesn’t seem the best idea to go it alone. I’ll have to try again on the way back when I have some company. Off to Pennsylvania and drive until my eyes quit.
(Ready Set Go)
When I lived in Ohio it seemed like I drove the route to NY and back millions of times. I still know what’s off pretty much every exit. So many fun and treacherous journeys in any and every type of season and weather condition. When I moved to NY briefly after Undergrad, I would drive from Manhattan to Ohio every other weekend to photograph (once made it in 5 hours!). NY had a way of feeling so claustrophobic, it was difficult to make work there. After some time (and many miles) I decided the Midwest was more inspiring and freely creative for the moment.
1:48 am and the coupon book (and my failing eyes) has led me to Clarion, PA. Not surprisingly to a hotel right next to a Dead Mall. This one is functioning but a bit of a small ghost town. I’ll investigate further in the morning.