Lilly McElroy (2008)


Lilly McElroy

The Sydney Morning Herald by Richard Jinman

If this is art, then where’s the catch?
May 27, 2008
YOU have to admire Lilly McElroy’s pluck.

A series of photographs on her website called I Throw Myself At Men shows the American artist frozen in mid-air as she launches herself into the arms of startled strangers in bars and hotels.

McElroy gets the mens’ permission first, but her work – which she describes as “loving and cruel … an attempt to discuss the desire and difficulty involved in making a connection” – is undeniably in-your-face.

Elsewhere on her site (lillymcelroy.com) you can watch video clips of her hugging strangers, this time without asking permission. And a series of photographs shows her lying, apparently asleep, in locations including the crowded platform of a New York subway station, a launderette, an upmarket hotel and a library.

“Her work acknowledges the possibility of failure – that someone might not catch her, that a connection might not be made,” says the resume on her website.

“It is that possibility that keeps things interesting. In the end, Lilly wants to make the viewer laugh, but she wants them to understand that there is more at stake, that everyone is implicated, including her.”

Richard Jinman

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