Lilly McElroy (American, b. 1979)

Lilly McElroy’s video The Square—After Roberto Lopardo documents the artist over a period of 30 minutes as she draws a square in chalk on a city sidewalk and attempts to block all pedestrians from entering the space she has marked. McElroy’s deadpan performance as she aggressively claims this public space provokes varied responses from the pedestrians she encounters. The Square cleverly plays out the tensions and unspoken expectations that lie between private and public spaces in the modern world.

Based in Brooklyn, McElroy often creates situations in her work that encourage public interaction, employing video or photography to document the reactions of unsuspecting passers-by. For her ongoing photographic series I Throw Myself at Men, McElroy introduces herself to men at bars, then asks if they are willing to participate in her work. Each photograph in the series documents McElroy as she is airborne, literally throwing herself at her new acquaintance. Rife with humor, these images also constitute a critical commentary on behaviors and courting rituals between women and men.

Artwork in the Exhibition

Lilly McElroy, American, b. 1979, The Square – After Roberto Lopardo, single-channel video on DVD (color, sound), 30:00 loop, Courtesy of Thomas Robertello Gallery, Chicago.