Coming soon: the 2013 Juried Student Exhibitions. Registration is March 19, 10-4 pm. For more information and to view the call for entries, visit our website.
Coming soon: the 2013 Juried Student Exhibitions. Registration is March 19, 10-4 pm. For more information and to view the call for entries, visit our website.
VCU Professor creates installation from his personal archive
From January 18 to March 10, 2013, VCUarts Anderson Gallery will present Close Out: Retail Relics and Ephemera, an exhibition of objects and images culled from photographer Brian Ulrich’s vast personal archive of retail artifacts. It appears on the gallery’s first floor in conjunction with Copia—Retail,Thrift, and Dark Stores, 2001-11, an exhibition of Ulrich’s decade-long examination of the American consumer psyche organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art. Both exhibitions will open with a public reception on Friday evening, January 18, from 5 to 7 pm.
Although Ulrich included several items from his collection with his own photographs in his solo show at Julie Saul Gallery last spring, this presentation offers the first in-depth look at his collecting activities relative to his overall artistic practice. “It also extends the narrative arc of his Copia project by making clear that what he began to document in 2001 has a much longer history,” notes Gallery Director Ashley Kistler. A limited-edition artist book will accompany the exhibition.
The compulsion to collect physical things, Urich observes, grew out of the act of making photographs. “After spending countless hours trying to photograph a sign on a long- abandoned mall, I concluded that while the 8×10 camera really does bring about dramatic transformations, some subjects test its limits. It simply seemed to make more sense to move the sign itself,” he continues,“which set in motion a succinct attention to the artifact.” Pictured at left, an electric sign rescued from the now-demolished Belz Factory Outlet Mall outside of Dallas will illuminate the gallery’s facade.
Among other items salvaged by Ulrich and featured in Close Out are images from an extensive newspaper cache of negatives documenting the Great Prosperity, the post- World War II period of unprecedented prosperity for America’s middle class. “I consider these images a prequel to my own work,” he says. Ulrich reedits, reprints, and assembles this found material to underscore a historical narrative that reflects the era’s burgeoning investment and faith in a consumer-driven culture. Elsewhere in the exhibition, a large group of Polaroids of shoplifters and related material scavenged from the demolition of Richmond’s Cloverleaf Mall evokes one consequence as income disparities climbed to new levels during the 1980s and 90s.
Close Out also includes an installation of aluminum door pulls from long forgotten retailer Montgomery Ward; 1970s price label sheets from the former Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Illinois; architect’s renderings and plans; and a myriad of other paper ephemera. A tape machine manufactured by Customusic, one of Muzak’s competitors, will provide the exhibition’s musical backdrop.
About the Artist
Ulrich’s photographs reside in such major museum collections as the Art Institute of Chicago, Cleveland Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography. In 2007, he was named one of the year’s 30 Emerging Photographers by Photo District News, and was a critic’s pick by Richard Woodward in ARTnews. In 2009, he received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. Ulrich currently lives in Richmond, where he is Assistant Professor in the Department of Photography and Film at the VCU School of the Arts.
RICHMOND – From January 18 to March 10, 2013, the Anderson Gallery of the VCU School of the Arts will present Copia—Retail,Thrift, and Dark Stores, 2001-11, the first major museum exhibition of photographer Brian Ulrich’s decade-long examination of the American consumer psyche. From the Latin word for “plenty,” the artist’s Copia series includes nearly 60 photographs that explore the economic, cultural, and political implications of commercialism and American consumer culture.“We are so pleased to feature this powerful body of work by Brian,who joined theVCUarts faculty last year and is quickly building an impressive international reputation,” says Gallery Director Ashley Kistler.
The exhibition was organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art and made possible by the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Foundation. It will also travel to the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh (September 29, 2013–January 5, 2014) and to Marquette University’s Haggerty Museum of Art in Milwaukee next spring.
Works in the exhibition, curated by Tom Hinson, the Cleveland Museum of Art’s curator emeritus, are divided into three parts: Retail,Thrift, and Dark Stores. For the images included in the Retail phase (2001-06), Ulrich traveled extensively throughout the United States. He initially used a hand-held camera with the viewfinder at waist level, which allowed him to remain anonymous while docu- menting shoppers engrossed in navigating the abundance of goods found in vast enclosed malls and big-box stores. The second phase, Thrift (2005-08), focuses on thrift stores, the collecting places for discarded and unwanted consumer products, and its workers, as they attempt to bring order to the enormous amounts of donated, discarded, and unwanted consumer products.The concluding group, Dark Stores (2008-11), features images in which Ulrich explores the impact of the 2008 financial crisis with haunting architectural landscapes of abandoned buildings and empty parking lots that have become commonplace in towns across America.
“I had to see if people were indeed patriotic shopping in response to the events on September 11,” says Ulrich, referring to the beginning of his decade-long investigation. “Not only was it clear that this was the case, but standing in a big-box store or shopping mall, I could see the entire trajectory of the 20th-century economy and ideology playing out in the excess of goods and overwhelmed stares of the shoppers.Ten years later, I hope that these photographs serve as a marker with which we can learn about our behaviors, habits, comforts, and purpose.” [continued]
The exhibition is accompanied by the catalogue Is This Place Great or What, which includes the entire Copia series, as well as a statement from Ulrich and an essay by Juliet B. Schor, professor of sociology at Boston College, entitled Shopapalooza:The Boom and Bust of the Retail Economy. Co-published by the Aperture Foundation, the book is available from the Anderson Gallery for $40.00.
In conjunction with Copia, the Anderson Gallery has organized Close Out: Retail Relics and Ephemera, the first exhibition to present objects and images from Ulrich’s vast personal archive of retail artifacts. This presentation provides a wider historical context for the artist’s own photographs and is accompanied by a limited-edition artist book. Both exhibitions will open with a public reception on Friday evening, January 18, from 5 to 7 pm.
About the Artist
Born in 1971 in Northport, New York, Brian Ulrich received his BFA in photography from the University of Akron and his MFA in photography from Columbia College, Chicago. Since finishing his graduate studies in 2004, he has had solo exhibitions at the Cleveland Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, Kansas; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago; Julie Saul Gallery, New York; and Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco. His work has also been included in group exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Galerie f5.6, Munich; Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, Illinois;Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, among many other venues.
Ulrich’s photographs portraying contemporary consumer culture reside in such major museum collections as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography. In 2007, he was named one of the year’s 30 Emerging Photographers by Photo District News and a critic’s pick by Richard Woodward in ARTnews. In 2009, he received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. His work has been recently featured in the New York Times Magazine; Orion Magazine; Vice Magazine; Mother Jones; Chicago Tribune; Artforum; Harper’s Magazine; Leica World; Yvi Magazine, and as a frequent contributor to the magazine Adbusters. Ulrich currently lives in Richmond, where he is Assistant Professor in the Department of Photography and Film at the VCU School of the Arts.
Brian Ulrich, Pep Boys 3, 2009; ultrachrome inkjet print, 20 x 24 inches. Collection of Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell. Photograph courtesy Cleveland Museum of Art.
Portrait as Community
Anderson Gallery | 907 1/2 West Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23284
On view Nov 30-Dec 9
Opening Friday Nov 30, 5-8 pm
Gallery Hours: Tues-Fri 10 am-5 pm, Sat-Sun 12-5 pm, closed Mon | www.arts.vcu.edu/andersongallery
Portrait as Community is a student exhibition of multimedia projects documenting communities in and around Richmond. It is also the culmination of a special course inspired by Growing Up in Civil Rights Richmond: A Community Remembers, a project organized by the Anderson Gallery with South African photographer Zwelethu Mthethwa and American Studies scholar Laura Browder. Students from the VCU Departments of Photography & Film and Art Education examined historical examples, research methodologies, ethical concerns, and artistic strategies related to the representation of communities, selecting and working with specific Richmond communities over the semester to create their projects.
Projects by: Jaclyn Brown, Casey Collier, Kate Fowler, Beth Harris, Lauren Lyon, Jessica Overcash, Mark Strandquist, Breonca Trofort, and Michael Weinheimer.
Portrait as Community was a collaborative course offered by the Department of Photography and Film, VCU Libraries and the Anderson Gallery. Yuki Hibben, Assistant Head of Special Collections, James Branch Cabell Library, and Michael Lease, Head of Exhibitions and Design, Anderson Gallery, professors.
Image credit: Jaclyn Brown, Delores, 2012. Digital C-print, 16 x 24 inches.
Open Late 11.30.12 – Relics and tales from Prototype for Preserving the Phylum Porifera are on offer in the Sponge HQ alongside a potluck organized by the artists of Portrait as Community, which opens concurrently in the gallery next door.
Prototype for Preserving the Phylum Porifera, a hands-on project in honor of the sea-sponge, was a Swarming for Mildred’s Lane and the Mildred Complex(ity) at the MoMA Studio: Common Senses exhibition. Now we’re bringing it all back home.
On view is a video specially produced for the project in New York, sea-sponges: felted and cast in beeswax and bronze, and a portfolio of archival material. The evening plays out amid hand-felted bee-box seats with honey to taste from the HQ hive.
With Colleen Billing, Colleen Brennan, Patrick Carter, Lindsay Clements, Riley Duncan, Gavin Foster, Hope Ginsburg, JoJo Houff, Julie Hundley, Joshua Quarles and Clare van Loenan.
We are in the midst of installation for the Fall 2012 Exhibitions:
Judith Godwin: Early Abstractions & Arlene Shechet: That Time
Both exhibitions open with a reception on Friday, Sept 7 from 5-7 pm.
For more information, you can always check out our website:
Hope to see you there!
Free programs + a cash bar
Wednesdays in June and July, 5-7 pm
We had so much fun last year, that we’re bringing it back. Join us in the Cool Spot Lounge!
6/6 Sounds Sweet: WRIR Ice Cream Social
WRIR kicks off the return of Happy Hour with Old Time music performed by the River City Band and Sweet Fern in the Gallery’s Cool Spot Lounge. Top off the evening with a scoop or two of Richmond’s favorite summertime treat, Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream.
6/13 Belle Voix: The Bird & Her Consort
A highlight of last year’s lineup, musicians Antonia and Jonathan Vassar return to perform another seductive mix of art songs, parlor music, and folk ballads. Incorporating accordion, guitar, and classical voice, their unique musical arrangements offer a cool and refreshing respite from the summer heat.
6/20 Bali Bound: Gamelan Raga Kusuma + WRIR DJ Graybeard
This Richmond ensemble, joined by dancers from the Indonesian Embassy, will expand your musical horizons with its performance of traditional and contemporary Balinese orchestral music. DJ Graybeard, aka Charles Williams, WRIR host of The Other Black Music and The Motherland Influence (with David Noyes), continues the evening’s journey with his fantastic blend of international sounds.
6/27 Freshen Up: A Taste of Summer with Slow Food RVA & Gourmand John Haddad
Celebrate the season, connect with area growers, and learn about Richmond’s diverse food community—all while sampling local produce and cheeses and enjoying the sounds of Richmond’s Indigenous Gourd Orchestra.
7/11 Family Fun: Tours & ‘Toons
Bring along the kids and join artist-educator Tara Strickstein for a guided tour and scavenger hunt exploring the gallery’s summer exhibitions. More fun can be found in the lounge, where screenings of vintage cartoons will delight viewers of all ages.
Tours begin at 5:30 and 6 pm.
7/18 Foot Work: A Collective Rug-Making Project with Artist Hope Ginsburg
Slip and slide over a room-sized batt of wool, and watch a felt rug form beneath your feet. Learn the basics of wool felt-making with Hope Ginsburg, whose project Sponge is headquartered at the Gallery, and leave ready to make your own rug, curtains, and a felt house to put them in.
7/25 Last Call: Jonathan Vassar & The Speckled Bird with Artist Matt Flowers
Musical innovator Jonathan Vassar leads his ensemble in another experimental performance interweaving music and image. For this Happy Hour finale, the sublime acoustic sounds of The Speckled Bird complement the immersive landscape imagery of Matt Flowers’s videos.
RICHMOND, VA- Works by ten sculptors—both veterans and relative newcomers to the international art scene—will be featured in the Anderson Gallery’s winter exhibition, you, your sun and shadow. The exhibition is curated by Michael Jones McKean, a professor in the Department of Sculpture + Extended Media, and organized by the Anderson Gallery at the VCU School of the Arts. “This project offers a singular opportunity to explore a significant aspect of contemporary sculpture from the personal perspective of an artist who is himself highly regarded as an innovator in the field,” says Director Ashley Kistler. The public is invited to attend an opening reception on Friday, January 20, from 6 until 8 p.m. Also free and open to the public, McKean will give a gallery talk on Wednesday, January 25, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Participating artists include Hany Armanious (Sydney, Australia), Rashid Johnson (New York, NY), Pam Lins (Brooklyn, NY), Tony Matelli (New York, NY), Ian Pedigo (New York, NY), Dario Robleto (San Antonio, TX), Haim Steinbach (Brooklyn, NY and San Diego, CA), Sarah Sze (New York, NY), Tatiana Trouvé (Paris, France), and Daniel Turner (New York, NY). Their sculptures and installations underscore the poetic potential of objects, materials, and modes of arrangement, while conjuring the possibility of larger narrative and metaphorical structures. As McKean conceived it, “The exhibition is a sustained attempt to create a space where straightforward logic doesn’t always win, where simple moments can seem pronounced and exquisite, and where the discovery of meaning depends upon our speculative engagement.”
The investigation of materiality—often paired with a hypersensitive regard for everyday objects—is a central concern of each artist in the show, which includes highly technical approaches as well as the most basic means of delineating space and making marks. In the latter camp, Ian Pedigo handles discarded materials with a directness that preserves their humble character, while coaxing from them visual subtleties that map space in simple but evocative ways. Using steel wool as a painterly tool, Daniel Turner works on site to make wall rubbings whose discreet, seemingly accidental presence belies their intentionality.
Elsewhere in the exhibition, the alchemical transformation of materials again reminds us that appearances can be deceiving. The rarefied ingredients that Dario Robleto assembles to create his work are as important as the final outcome. Often resembling castoff objects, artifacts, or keepsakes, his painstakingly crafted sculptures are symbolically loaded by virtue of their material composition. Through the millennia-old technique of casting, Hany Armanious mines the arcane power, formal possibilities, and conceptual implications of meticulously reproducing everyday objects, elevating both their status in the world and their presence in our minds. Similarly, two works by Tony Matelli, characterized by random marks, grimy smudges, and dusty surfaces, appear to be nothing more than neglected mirrors, while his life-sized figure, floating just inches above the floor in a fugue-like state, offers a hyper-real encounter that reaffirms the sculptor’s sleight of hand.
Other artists address materiality in terms of their selection, arrangement, and display of preexisting objects. Haim Steinbach, an early and especially influential proponent of this approach, is represented by two of his shelf works. In his alter-like assemblages, Rashid Johnson arranges culturally resonant objects to create a personal vocabulary of symbols and references. Sarah Sze, well known for expansive installations engineered with the most quotidian items, goes one step further, casting in plaster all the recyclable containers from a month of lunches and snacks. These nearly 400 simple white forms infiltrate the Anderson Gallery’s work space, their ghostly presence blurring the edge between art and life.
Tatiana Trouvé’s precisely scaled architectural installation reinforces the quiet, sometimes pensive tone that runs through much of the exhibition, as well as the importance of the viewer’s participation in deciphering a narrative. Viewed from opposing sides through large panes of greenish glass, an otherwise inaccessible room contains a mysterious assortment of found and made objects, gestural marks, small doors, and private spaces. Pam Lins also plays with perspective and shifting points of view in her endlessly inventive iterations of the plywood pedestal, each of which changes in appearance, revealing paradoxical characteristics, as the viewer moves around the sculpture.
The exhibition will continue through Sunday, March 11. The Anderson Gallery is located at 907½ West Franklin Street, on VCU’s Monroe Park campus. It is open to the public Tuesday through Friday 10 am-5 pm, and Saturday and Sunday noon-5 pm, and closed on Sunday.