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Lilly McElroy, 2009 Was A Rough Year, 2010, stained-glass window, 66 x 48".

Lilly McElroy

Thomas Robertello Gallery

Lilly McElroy, 2009 Was A Rough Year, 2010, stained-glass window, 66 x 48".

“2009 Was A Rough Year”—that’s both the title of Lilly McElroy’s recent exhibition at Thomas Robertello Gallery and a statement of fact. It was indeed a rough year. The stock market crashed. The housing bubble burst. Countless retirement incomes, jobs, and homes were lost in the fallout. In response, McElroy created a participatory memorial, asking friends and strangers to contribute their worst memories from those wretched twelve months. Photos and captions were to be submitted via a dedicated website (www.aroughyear.com) established by the artist in advance of the show. With this material, McElroy then projected the images and texts in the gallery, alongside a large blue stained glass window, which enshrined the project’s title and colored the space with a melancholic, ecclesiastical light.

Perhaps surprisingly, only a handful of the more than one hundred responses McElroy

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