Dark Stores Opens in Munich

The largest showing of the work from Dark Stores, Ghostboxes and Dead Malls opens today at Galerie f5,6 in Munich. About 25 photographs, including very many from the last year and a rescued  neon sign will be on view until November 6th. I’m hoping to visit my pictures and Munich next month and catch up on my lederhosen und bier stube. There is still more under the covers and in the works but happy to see the work having more context of the found objects, portraits and ghost facades.

Brian Ulrich
Dark Stores, Ghostboxes and Dead Malls

Opens Friday, September 10th from 6-9
September 11th – November 6th, 2010
Galerie f5,6
Ludwigstr. 7
80539
Germany

I Heart Piece of Cake North America

Piece of Cake North America, Chicago Workshop, May 2010. Photo by Justin James Reed with shutter release by Jon Gitelson. Top Row from L: Timothy Briner, John Mann, Ofer Wolberger, Justin James Reed, Mathieu Bernard-Reymond. Bottom Row: Brian Ulrich, Kelli Connell, Amy Stein, Birthe Piontek, Cara Phillips, Matthew Gamber, Bill Sullivan. Not Pictured: Christian Patterson, Will Steacy, William Lamson, Stefan Ruiz

This October will mark the first year of the U.S. collaboration of friends and artists called Piece of Cake. Piece of Cake has been a European collective of artists since 2002. Begun by Charles Fréger, the group’s raison d’être is ‘to enable the artists to interact as they create, produce and distribute their works’.

In 2009, Cara Phillips approached me about the possibility of creating a North America faction of Piece of Cake. Charles and the Euro members has initiated the idea with her and she became the organizer of testing the waters to see if artists here in the states felt like a POC collective would be beneficial. Honestly my early reaction was based on the fact that I often operate this way regardless, without the strong community and network of artists and comrades I wouldn’t have had half the luck navigating the difficult sea of making my work a full time job. An email call for submissions was put forth and the Europeans POC’s made the votes on who would be the first US members.

The group has so far had 2 workshops, where all the US members (+ two Euro members) gather for a intense weekend of sharing work, crits, meetings with local professionals and general art debauchery (i.e. booze). I can’t write how wonderful it’s been to get to know all these talented people and feel their strong commitment to each other and their own work. We’ll define our antics as we move along.

This week marks one of our first outings. We’ll all be guest blogging on Laurel Ptak’s I Heart Photograph blog from Aug. 30th until Sept. 6th. My post is the first, check it here.

Confessions of a New Parent

Making the symbolic and triumphant journey from the hospital to our home is one evey parent will warn you of. “you’ll never look at the world the same again”, “you’ll drive slower and more careful than drivers education class”.

Ours was the usual excitement and careful driving. Looking past the city storefronts and bus stops, things do seem somewhat clearer. The messy roads, streets littered with down and outs, trash and all too familiar boarded up windows (should I be surprised?).

When we stop at the traffic light to make the turn 1 block away from our home, it’s not the new found perspective that is shocking but the woman sitting in a doorway speaking to an elderly man in a wheelchair. The woman procedes to lift her shirt up for the man to gaze upon potential merchandise of boob sandwich in a cheesy gold bra. She notices my dumbfoundedness at her reveal in full view at 6pm on a busy Chicago street and giggles. Perhaps as a way to secure a potential client or sugar daddy she begins to grab the wheelchair mans crotch. All the while smirking at the car full of newborn family.

In the backseat is my uncorrupted, fresh and angelic daughter, cooing to mom in her newly installed baby seat.

Aralie Caden Ulrich

Aralie 1 day old

Aralie

Aralie home at last and contemplating...

After 4 long days of laboring we happily gave birth to our daughter Aralie Caden Ulrich at 9:59am July 20, 2010 7lb 12oz.

Aralie shares her birthday with some choice peeps:

1932 Nam June Paik, born in Seoul, Korea, video artist, Medium is the Medium
1938 Natalie Wood, Gypsy, Rebel Without a Cause
1939 Judy Chicago, Cohen, Chicago, artist, Dinner Party
1943 John Lodge, Birmingham, bassist, Moody Blues-Nights in White Satin
1945 John Lodge, born in Birmingham, England, musician, singer, songwriter, bass guitar player, member of The Moody Blues rock band, created songs ‘Candle of Life’, ‘Eyes of a Child’, ‘Send Me No Wine’
1946 Kim Carnes, born in Pasadena, California, rock vocalist, Bette Davis Eyes
1947 Carlos Santana, born in Mexico, rock guitarist, Santana-Black Magic Woman
1953 Thomas Friedman, American Journalist
1956 Paul Cook, London, rock drummer, Sex Pistols
1958 Billy Mays, born in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, famous television pitchman, direct response advertising salesman for ‘As Seen on TV’ products, CEO, Founder, Mays Promotions, Inc.
1965 Stone Gossard, musician with Pearl Jam
1968 Chris Kennedy, actor, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
1980 Gisele Bundchen, Brazilian Model

We couldn’t be more tickled…

Liz Kuball was close on the day but off by 7ish hours. Zane Davis was even closer with his guess of Tues at 2pm (4hrs off) so Zane can expect a nice print from the archives. I’m off for a diaper change…

Delivery Time Contest

My wife Rachelle and I are expecting our first child and we’ve spent the last 3 days laboring, tv watching, back rubbing and generally not sleeping.
We were due July 9th and are now expecting to deliver this evening (Sunday) or tomorrow.
In the comments, predict the time/day, sex (surprise for us too) and weight. Closest guess without going over wins a print!
Compliments of Baby Ulrich

Shoes

Untitled, 2006 (Thrift 0617)

Wonder if these, are any relation to this picture?

Photography, Propaganda and Use

Rolling Acres Mall, 2009

Quite wonderful to have one of my photographs from Dark Stores, Ghostboxes and Dead Malls paired with Roger Lowensteins’ article ‘Paralyzed by Debt’ in this Sunday’s NY Times Magazine. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea that a big interest of mine is the ability of contemporary photography to act as propaganda for a like-minded cause. Like practitioners a century ago such as Lewis Hine and Jacob Riis, photography often can contain content and a narrative that speaks of social issues. It seems though that many don’t always pay enough attention to the fact that as intrinsic to the pictures was the use of them by the Child Labor Committee or Riis’ lectures. This use and context is what seems to truly drive the meaning, agenda and critical discourse of the image in it’s present and through to the future. When we think of Hine we think of photographs that operate as a catalyst for social change, again it’s as important to note that Hine’s project was a result a collaborative effort and the effect and change was a result of a larger construct.

In the 21st century as photography has become sublimated into digital media, this actually allows the photographer to act as the catalyst to insert that degree of context and use into various venues. I was having this conversation with friend and photographer Scott Fortino recently that his photographs of prisons, public schools and state institutions, aside from being considered, wonderful and inventive aesthetic objects can serve as the caption to so much contemporary discussion. Simply put the articles are being written, the discussions happening, why not attempt to place the work within those contexts?

Having my work alongside Lowensteins’ essay is a victory in it’s pairing (aside the tickling fact that it will be seen by many). Rather than focus on the fact that photography loses so much in it’s new secondary role to the internet, why not see it’s opportunities and strengths. It worked for Hine 😉

“Indeed, the underlying cause of deleveraging is that Americans got too leveraged. This excess was decades in the making.” –

Dear Every City in America,…

Please read this WSJ article (and the more in depth essay), ‘Big Box Stores Don’t Produce Big Tax Gains’.

Milwaukee Art Museum Photo Council Auction

Amanda, Denver, NC 2009

The newly created Photography Council at the Milwaukee Art Museum is hosting its first auction event which judging by the wonderful people involved up there should be quite the shebang.

Silent auction works by Anna Shteynshleyger, Sonja Thomsen, Shimon & Lindeman, Jason Reblando, Fred Marsh, Aron Gent, Colleen Plumb, Ciurej & Lochman, Jon Gitelson and more.
Attendees will also be able to bid on a personal portrait session by yours truly. The portrait will be the result of discussions between the subject and myself, whereas we’ll decide how, where and when, etc.

Exposure
Wednesday August 4/ 2010
6/ 10pm
234 W. Florida St
Milwaukee, WI
Call to sign up: 414.224.3284

The Real

Ceiling, Dixie Square Mall, 2010

The absurdity of trying to capture a ‘real’ only leads to fiction. Any representation is therefore ‘romantic’. Reality is solid – hard form which humankind has always attempted to render/replicate. In that process we seen the arts flourish into a post modern society, one which our very language is one where a virtual may become more significant than the real (though the real has a wonderful way of slapping us back).

Slavoj Žižek says ‘The real is impossible to imagine’.

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