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Live Nude Girl: My Life as an Object Hardcover – January 26, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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"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
Top Customer Reviews
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...
For example, there is a lot of talk on how Rooney wants to be perceived as "pretty" by the artists she poses for. And then she wonders why she wants them to see her as pretty. And why people, in general, want to be perceived as pretty. And then shares quotes from famed and esteemed philosophers and writers. It sometimes made the book difficult to read, as I would go into and out of quotes and deep thoughts and all the rest. But it was interesting, nonetheless.
I don't think this is a book one can read all at once- it may be slim, but it is dense. Each chapter can stand as an essay on its own, and in retrospect, I recommend reading the book in that manner so that you can better mull over the ideas Rooney presents. It's a thinking person's book- and it was fun to read it and be challenged by reading again, in ways I haven't been for so long.
As an actor who has performed naked on the theatre stage professionally and as a teacher of actors who has trained actors to work without clothing, this book immediately caught my attention because it is a subject that those who have worked in the nude rarely discuss publically. It is not that we are ashamed of what we do or have done but simply that to the non-artist to work without clothing or to be nude publically seems not an act of or a part of art but an act of, at best exhibitionism and, at worst pornography. Rooney lifts this veil and invites the public into experiencing what it feels to be naked publically and to be "the object of the gaze of a spectator" as well as to attempt to explain why she chose to do so.
While Rooney does go on at some length and possibly in too much depth for this type of book in balancing the life of "Phryne" -- a modeling sensation of ancient Greece -- with Madonna's nude photos for Lee Friedlander, and explains at length Greek versus Judeo-Christian approaches to nudity and highlights the difficulty people have distinguishing art modeling from prostitution ("There it is again," she notes, "this conflation of selling images of your body with actually selling your body itself."), thankfully, Rooney doesn't shy away from the personal.Read more ›
"I walked in and said, 'Well, Tony, here we are,' and I dropped my robe and I got into position. I felt shy and thought, 'It's Tony Bennett. Why am I naked?"
Lady Gaga had come face to face with what Kathleen Rooney describes as the "spine-tingling combination of power and vulnerability, submission and dominance" of nude modeling in her marvelous book "Live Nude Girl : My Life As An Object."
Rooney's book provides an introspective look at the history and challenges of art modeling from the model's point of view. Rooney's meditative prose leads us to a point of connection between muse and artist.
Why after centuries of images in charcoal, paint, stone and silver print do artists still feel the need to depict the human figure? For me it is our shared connection as sentient, sexual, and spiritual beings.
By taking the time to deeply look at and into another person we move closer to finding the ghost in the human machine. At our core we are all naked.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very interesting and unusual account of art making from the nude model's eyes. Some very insightful and frank surprises.Published 13 months ago by Roger Schutter
Fun book to read. It's good to see the other side of the coin.Published 20 months ago by California Reader
This is an interesting, erudite memoir of a woman who poses nude for artists. Their is nothing salacious in this book. It is tasteful, well written, interesting, and informative.Published on February 21, 2014 by William R. Toddmancillas
"Live Nude Girl" is a beautifully written, witty exploration of a thoughtful mind. Kathleen Rooney is a master at making sublime observations about a career few people think about... Read morePublished on June 17, 2011 by Jeremy Brett
I am a photograpaher who works extensively with nude models. I find that this book has given me insights into my work from the model's point of view and has made me a better... Read morePublished on March 17, 2011 by LightMaster
A fascinating memoir, this. I have to admit being intrigued about the life of a nude model. I've often thought that I'd make a good model myself--not that I'm particular... Read morePublished on January 16, 2011 by Timothy Haugh
What this book isn't- an erotic novel where an art model seduces you.
What this book is- this book is a retelling of one art model's experiences in the art modeling... Read more
An uneven book, interesting at times but also tedious and dull. Rooney seems too much the young college student, living in her head and forever quoting this expert or that study. Read morePublished on October 30, 2009 by S. Murray
Kathleen Rooney's Live Nude Girl uses the loose structure of a memoir of her days as an artists' model to explore large issues that wouldn't be immediately apparent to the... Read morePublished on September 7, 2009 by Mitchell Brown