Live Nude Girl: My Life As an Object


Live Nude Girl: My Life as an Object is a lively meditation on the profession of art modeling as it has been practiced in history and as it is practiced today. Kathleen Rooney draws on her own experiences working as an artists’ model, as well as the famous, notorious, and mysterious artists and models through the ages. Through a combination of personal perspective, historical anecdote, and witty prose, Life Nude Girl reveals that both the appeal of posing nude for artists and the appeal of drawing the naked ...

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Live Nude Girl: My Life as an Object is a lively meditation on the profession of art modeling as it has been practiced in history and as it is practiced today. Kathleen Rooney draws on her own experiences working as an artists’ model, as well as the famous, notorious, and mysterious artists and models through the ages. Through a combination of personal perspective, historical anecdote, and witty prose, Life Nude Girl reveals that both the appeal of posing nude for artists and the appeal of drawing the naked figure lie in our deeply human responses to beauty, sex, love, and death.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Ms. Rooney seems as compelling a talent in her future off the pedestal as on." Huffington Post "A compelling memoir that blends observation, personal revelation and scholarly inquiry." Los Angeles Times "A spirited and thought-provoking exploration of the human figure, Live nude Girl Beckons the oft-clothed to share the thrill of taking it all off." Utne Reader
Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Author, award-winning poet and professional artists' model Rooney (Reading with Oprah, Something Really Wonderful) uses everything from Roland Barthes quotations to sitcom episode synopses off the internet (specifically, on Growing Pains) to explore the myths and realities of nude modeling. Despite the fact that it largely consists of sitting still for hours on end, Rooney keeps work stories compelling: "with the sculptors continually approaching... to rotate you slightly... it's like you're on the world's slowest and most boring Teacup Ride." Posing for an advanced sculpting class working on life-sized renderings, Rooney merges her experience with a look at China's ancient Terra Cotta Army; elsewhere she tackles semantics, quoting art historian Kenneth Clark on the difference between "naked" and "nude." Happily, Rooney is perfectly willing to satisfy readers' curiosity upfront in order to move in more philosophical directions, going from awkward first impressions ("the first thing they ask is, 'Like, naked?'") to questions of safety and empowerment ("I feel safer from sexual predation naked in the art studio than I do... clothed on the street"). This esoteric, organic meditation on life as an art object is itself a model of personal writing, perfect for those on either side of the easel.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557288912
  • Publisher: University of Arkansas Press
  • Publication date: 1/26/2009
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 1,554,701
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen Rooney is the author of Reading with Oprah: The Book Club that Changed America, as well as the poetry collections Oneiromance (An Epithalamion), Something Really Wonderful, and That Tiny Insane Voluptuousness, the latter two written collaboratively with Elisa Gabbert. Her essay "Live Nude Girl" was selected for Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 3, 2009

    Live Nude Girl

    Live Nude Girl: my life as an object by Kathleen Rooney for me was a surprising well written and an excellent piece to read. Usually I don't enjoy reading non-fiction or based on a true story book because sometimes they seem just about the facts, no imagination or creativity. But, Kathleen does an exceptional good job for putting life into her story but adding in some interesting well known stories from other generations.
    Through the book, you see the life of what a nude model is thinking when everyone is looking at her while they draw, sculpt, or maybe paint her. She plays out dreams she has with artists but its business not way to me someone you want to be with. It shows you her life along with her wants and desires. Overall, by reading the book you get to step into the life of a nude model and live it for her. That's what this book allows you to do.
    Another thing that draws you in and keeps you reading, the way she writes, you understand what she saying even if she doesn't come out and exactly say it. As I was reading it, I kept thinking to myself well is this going to happen? Or this? She keeps you guessing on what she is thinking. It was strange when I first heard the name of the book, I thought to myself that sounds like an interesting title so even the title draws you in where you want to read it. Not every day, you read about a nude model posing for artist or at least not too many of them write about it.
    Sometimes when reading, I would have to reread parts because she would throw in those famous stories and I didn't know all them. With not knowing some of them, I kind of lost sense of the story but overall it's a book you can read again and still pick up on different things.
    I came across this book, when my English professor announced about Kathleen Rooney and Kyle Minor book tour was coming to our College. I went in not knowing who these writers were and Kathleen gets up and reads an excerpt from chapter 2 Would you like to seduce me? Chapter two out of the six is my favorite because what women wouldn't want to be a guy like Jerry or have the dream about being with him or posing for him. As I was listening I loved the way she wrote and listening to her tell the story made it even better. If you ever get the chance to meet Kathleen or listen to her read part of her books do it! The book is already excellent but listening to her read it, I felt like I could picture everything she was reading.
    You should try to read this novel because it's very enjoyable and even if you don't like to read, you'll find some parts thrilling and irresistible that you will continue to keep reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2009

    Live Nude Girl by Kathleen Rooney

    Live Nude Girl: My Life as an object by Kathleen Rooney describes her part time job as a nude model. Although she only modeled nude for about 5 years, she gives excellent insight into her life as a model. In this book she goes into great detail about the people she meets, and the artwork they do on her. She becomes close friends with many of the artists, and describes her unique relationship with them. Even though nothing really intimate happens between the artists and her, she explains that people seeing her naked adds another level to their friendship. While making friends through her experiences, she also gives us her personal perception of the artists involved. In addition to her experiences with the artists, Kathleen is able to include plenty of detail about the history of art. She does this by adding many quotes from artists, authors, and poets. She then uses these quotes to analyze her own life as a model. For instance, the quotes incorporated in her stories explain why modeling appeals to her. Although she never comes up with a clear reason why she chooses to model, it seems that money and her love for art play a major role. As she progresses through her years at Boston University and all of the private locations she modeled, she also enlightens the audience with stories reflecting love and death. In her story of love Kathleen talks about her awkward and special relationships with the artists and students. She talks about the fantasies and attractions that come along with her job. Although nothing ever comes true out of these fantasies it does give the audience a good perspective on what she goes through on a daily business. After all not everyone will undress in front of a group of strangers. Kathleen also describes the power she feels when she is on the podium nude. The control she feels over the people drawing her is incredible. Everyone is staring at her and their attention is flattering. It is a power that she can only achieve while she is in that position. Ordinary jobs simply do not give her this same feeling. In the end, Kathleen Rooney does an excellent job in depicting the beauty of artwork. She uses the artwork as a platform to bring up other ideas such as sex, love, and death. If you want to know how it feels to pose nude in front of others, then this book is an excellent choice.

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