2009 was a rough year.
December 10, 2010 through January 29, 2011
Opening reception Friday December 10 5-8PM

Thomas Robertello Gallery is pleased to present Internet meme Lilly McElroy in her second solo exhibition with the gallery; 2009 was a rough year, December 10, 2010 through January 29, 2011. In response to last year’s collective frustration, the artist has been soliciting images, stories, and jokes from friends, strangers, and anyone who wishes to take part in a group cathartic experience, by emailing them to her through a website created for the project; They may do so anonymously if they wish.

The installation will transform the gallery into a sketchy comedy club, bar, church hybrid. The exhibition will consist of a stained glass window memorializing the hardships endured in 2009, projected images provided by sufferers depicting a range of painful experiences, a video of the artist performing stand-up at comedy clubs in New York, and a hopper used to harvest the worst experiences and favorite jokes of gallery visitors. Many of the worst natural disasters, personal tragedies, financial hardships, and medical issues are represented. Images of husbands and their lovers caught on spy-cam, tumors, dilapidated housing, letters of rejection and the like form a composite experience meant to bond and relieve the pain of the many people who survived their own personal hell in 2009, and beyond.

As with many of McElroy’s projects, seeks to establish connections with strangers by reaching through the awkwardness of social ceremony and provide a meaningful gesture that is sincere in its empathic and healing simplicity. Prior projects include “I throw myself at men.” – a series of photographs depicting the artist literally throwing herself at men in bars. Her 2004 video The Square – After Roberto Lopardo is currently being exhibited at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. McElroy lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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NewCity Art by Kristine Sherred

Artslant by Mia DiMeo

TimeOut Chicago by Candice Weber

Stephanie Burke and Jeriah Hildwine for Chicago Now

Flavorpill by Monica Westin

Bust Magazine

Lilly McElroy

2009 Was a Rough Year
December 10, 2010 - January 29, 2011
Opens December 10, 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Installation Views


2009 was a rough year.

Lilly McElroy, 2009 was a rough year., 2010

2009 Was a Rough Year

Lilly McElroy, 2009 Was a Rough Year, 2010

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