The Architecture of Consumption: Airspace, Abandoned Retail, and McMansion Hell
|Date||Oct 11, 2017|
Critic Kyle Chayka proposes that we're FourSquaring, Yelping, and AirBnBing towards indistinguishable interior design across the urban, globalized world. Brian Ulrich photographs the architecture of consumption and its remains: shuttered malls, big box retail, and the excess of "fast fashion" goods in second-hand shops. Kate Wagner runs the popular blog McMansion Hell, the ultimate guide to the "bad architecture" of postmodern sprawl. Join us to hear their distinctive perspectives on architecture and the visual culture of consumption.
Kyle Chayka is a freelance journalist and critic living in Brooklyn. He has contributed to publications including the New York Times Magazine, the New Republic, and n+1. He wrote the viral essay “Welcome to AirSpace” for The Verge in August 2016. His first book, The Longing for Less, on minimalism and the beauty of absences, will be published by Bloomsbury in 2019.
Brian Ulrich’s photographs portraying contemporary consumer culture are held by major museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the George Eastman Museum; the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Ulrich has had solo exhibitions at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in addition to numerous group exhibitions at institutions such as the Walker Art Center; the San Diego Museum of Art; the New York Public Library, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
In 2009, Ulrich was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. His first major monograph, Is This Place Great or What (2011), was included in The Photobook: A History Volume 3 (2014). The Anderson Gallery published the catalog Closeout: Retail, Relics, and Ephemera (2013). His work has been featured in the New York Times Magazine; Time Magazine; on National Public Radio programs; Orion Magazine; Vice Magazine; Artforum; Yvi Magazine, and Adbusters. He is currently an associate professor and the graduate director of Photography at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Kate Wagner is the creator of the viral blog McMansion Hell, which roasts the world’s ugliest houses from top to bottom, all while teaching about architecture and design. Since its launch in July 2016, the blog has been featured in a wide range of publications, including the Huffington Post, Slate, Business Insider, and Paper Magazine.
Outside of McMansion Hell, Kate is a guest contributor to Curbed, 99 Percent Invisible, Atlas Obscura, and DIY haven Curbly. In addition to writing about architecture, Kate has worked extensively as a sound engineer, with expertise in recording engineering, product development, and research. She is currently a graduate student in Acoustics as part of a joint program between Johns Hopkins University and Peabody Conservatory, where her focus is in architectural acoustics.