photo-eye Book Reviews: Is This Place Great or What

Is This Place Great or What . Photographs by Brian Ulrich. Published by Aperture, 2011. Is This Place Great or What Reviewed by Ge...

Brian Ulrich's book is great, and a real downer. If you resisted President Bush's exhortations to shop America back to health after the events of 9-11-01, you may already be in line with the photographer. His Copia series, dating from 2001–2011, makes up the meat of this book. With mordant glee, the photographs insinuate that a decade of shopping has made us no better off; in fact, the rock we've been trying to shoulder up hill is flattening us.

A Closer Look -- Is This Place Great Or What

from  Is This Place Great or What From Aperture and The Cleveland Museum of Art, Is This Place Great Or What by Brian Ulrich is the pub...

From Aperture and The Cleveland Museum of Art, Is This Place Great Or What by Brian Ulrich is the publication of his ten-year Copia project, documenting the consumer-centric atmosphere of contemporary America. The project grew from Ulrich’s curiosity at whether the 9-11 request of George W. Bush for Americans go out and shop to support the country was truly taken to heart. As economic turmoil overtook the country, it was clear that what Ulrich was documenting was a massive story. Separated into three sections, Is This Place Great Or What is a triptych of the collapsing American consumer system.

Is This Place Great or What?

Brian Ulrich began his Copia project in response to George W. Bush’s appeal to Americans in the weeks after 9/11 to shop and spend as a patriotic activity, but it developed into something much more far-reaching. The result of a decade’s work, Copia is a project that has grown organically out of its earliest premises. The work examines retail consumerism’s material and cultural legacies and has been shrewdly executed and edited as Is This Place Great or What?, published by Aperture with the Cleveland Museum of Art, where a selection of images from the project is exhibited until 26 February 2012.

LightBox | Time

Read the latest stories about LightBox on Time

Taken from the Latin word for plenty, Copia, is the 10-year-old brain child of photographer Brian Ulrich: his in-depth exploration of American consumer culture. The project consists of three-parts: Retail, Thrift, and Dark Stores. TIME spoke with Brian about his inspiration for this project.

Brian Ulrich: Copia—Retail, Thrift and Dark Stores (8 Photos)

Later this month the Cleveland Museum of Art will present the first major museum exhibition of work by contemporary photographer Brian Ulrich. “Copia—Retail, Thrift, and Dark Stores, 2001-11,” is a decade-long examination of the American consumer psyche. From the Latin word for “plenty,” the artist’s “Copia” series explores economic, cultural and political implications of commercialism and American consumer culture. The exhibition, featuring 60 photographs, will be on view from August 27, 2011 to January 16, 2012, in the museum’s east wing photography galleries.

BOMB Magazine: Brian Ulrich by Lynn Saville

Photographer Brian Ulrich has worked for a number of years on a project titled Copia, which explores not only the everyday activities of shopping, but the wider economic, cultural, social, and political implications of commercialism. Ulrich’s first monograph, Copia, was published in 2006 by Aperture.

Brian Ulrich can’t believe he’s alive…

From dvafoto:

Brian Ulrich can’t believe he’s alive because he’s just been named a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow. Other photographers awarded the fellowship this year, most previously unknown to me: Thomas Joshua Cooper (examples), Osamu James Nakagawa, Suzanne Opton (you may have seen her Soldier Billboard Project), Anna Shteynshleyger, Cheryle St. Onge, and Byron Glen Wolfe (can’t find anything online for Wolfe…).

Check it out here.

PDN's 30 2007


Our choice of new and emerging photographers to watch.

Gmb Akash, Aneta Bartos, Maxine Beuret, Julie Blackmon, Marco Bohr, Lane Coder, Kathryn Cook, Pierre Crocquet, Victoria J. Dean, Brad Dececco, Autumn De Wilde, Rena Effendi, Serkan Emiroglu, Ditte Isager, Jamie Isaia, Shuli Hallak, Kathryn Hillier, Dorothy Hong, Aaron Huey, Brian Lesteberg, David Leventi, Debora Mittelstaedt, Marcus Nilsson, Brigitte Sire, Alys Tomlinson, Brian Ulrich, Anna Wolf, Sarah Wilmer, Andrea Wyner, Alvaro Ybarra Zavala.