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Live Nude Girl: My Life as an Object Hardcover – January 26, 2009
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From 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, fortunecity.com 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.
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"Ms. Rooney seems as compelling a talent in her future off the pedestal as on"
"a compelling memoir that blends observation, personal revelation and scholarly inquiry"
Los Angeles Times
Kathleen Rooney boldly and bravely dissects what it means to disrobe in the name of artand money. For anyone who wants to know why a woman would prefer to be nude rather than naked (and what the difference is), read Live Nude Girl and find out.
Rachel Kramer Bussel, editor of Best Sex Writing 2009
Though the title of Kathleen Rooneys Live Nude Girl: My Life as an Object seems to promise an external approach to the subject, modeling nude for art classes, the book itself is surprisingly introspective, learned, and thoughtful. While revealing what a nude model does, how she does it and why, what she feels and thinks while doing it, Rooney explores what her profession means to her personally and what it means and has meant to others. The writing is enticing, engaging, inviting, and the anecdotes it tells are irresistible.
Peter Stitt, editor of The Gettysburg Review
If Live Nude Girl caught your eye, promised, beckonedgood. Follow the enticement and youll encounter the thrill of a rigorous and questioning mind in motion.
Lia Purpura, author of On Looking
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Top customer reviews
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One of the other reviewers complained that the book is too erudite, or has too many facts, or something like that. To that, I'd offer three observations. One, all that trivia sugarcoats some pretty thoughtful observations and makes them go down more easily. Two, you can take the girl out of graduate school but you can't take graduate school out of the woman--the manuscript was published by a university press, for God's sake. And, three, it's fun catching her where she is wrong.
In short, LNG--My Life as an Object is a real gas, and good enough that I think I'll read something else she's written to see if she makes as much sense with her clothes on as she does with her clothes off.
The book is full of anecdotes about the history of art modeling, specific classroom incidents, feelings regarding posing for a new group or artist, and what it's like to drop the robe for the first time. Once I finished, I immediately contacted a fellow art model with whom I have worked before and told her that she really ought to read this book. I'll be loaning it to her the next time I see her.
And on a personal note, another interesting parallel: the book was published by the University of Arkansas Press. I began my modeling career at that very university back in November of 1984...
Ms. Rooney is a very intelligent woman with an excellent ability to express her thoughts, feelings and experiences in print. She writes very well. I am now a fan and will buy more of her works.
Most recent customer reviews
What this book is- this book is a retelling of one art model's experiences in the art modeling...Read more