Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The "I Throw Myself at Men" Project

Artist Lilly McElroy has an ongoing series of photos of herself jumping into men in bars.

She decribed her project recently to James Danziger, the owner of the Danziger Projects gallery in Chelsea:
"I started the project by placing an ad on Craig's list looking for men who would meet me at bars blind date style and let me literally throw myself at them. This worked fairly well, but limited the # of photos I could take. Now , I go to bars with a friend/photographer and approach men who are physically larger than I am. I ask them if I can literally throw myself at them. If they say yes, I have myself photographed doing it and buy them a drink afterwards. If it seems like they want to hang out, I'll have a drink as well. Sometimes we talk about the project and sometimes we just chat. I don't have a specific set up for the photos. I just want them to look as much like snap shots or party pics as possible."
She also has a series of photos in which she curls up on the ground in a nightgown in public places.

I'm amused, but I'm finding it difficult to come up with anything intelligent to say about these photos. Snapshots, like the ones in the previous post, can often speak for themselves. They become a sort of folk art in which beauty and composition seem accidental and fortuitous. But these are different. They are, like much of contemporary photography, staged in the most self-conscious way.

The snapshot aesthetic seems appropriate for McElroy's series, but what does it mean? Should I be waxing critical about gender roles? Should I comment on how her face is often obscured and how her legs are usually bare?



Anonymous Christopher said...

This kinda reminds me of the video of some douchebag dudes who run up to unsuspecting women and lift up their skirts and yank down their, um, drawers.

No, I didn't watch it...with both eyes...

6:36 PM  

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