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Live Nude Girl: My Life as an Object

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  155 ratings  ·  29 reviews
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, histori ...more
Hardcover, 183 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by University of Arkansas Press
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  155 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Paul Bryant
Apr 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Kathleen Rooney wrote one of my very favourite recent nonfiction books which shows she is a witty, careful thinker about modern culture; and a slightly annoying collection of essays with the great title For You, For You I am Trilling These Songs in which it becomes clear that Kathleen Rooney is also a babe, and then also, she wrote this memoir which is all about how she formerly earned some of her money being nude. Not naked! No. Being naked is completely different. ("there's a power that comes ...more
D.H. Jonathan
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
(Copying my Amazon review from five years ago here to Goodreads)...

I have been a model for drawing and painting classes since 1984, so I was really interested in reading a fellow model's point of view regarding the profession. It is amazing how many parallels there are between the author's experiences and my own, especially in areas that brought us to modeling in the first place. Of course, I'm male, and the author is female, so our experiences differed quite a bit in certain areas. I usually on
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This wasn’t the book I wanted to read by Kathleen Rooney. I wanted to read her other one, a new novel with a beautiful cover featuring a walking protagonist, which is one of my things (I have a whole shelf here on walking). But this was the one the library had, so I picked it up. I figured I’m slightly intrigued by the topic—I went through a phase of drawing from live models for about a year and had always been curious about the other end of that experience. And why not see if I liked the author ...more
Layne A.
Apr 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book combines just the right amount of memoir/self-reflection and art history. Both the writing and scholarship are very impressive. Nude modeling is so far afield from anything most of us would ever do. What great self confidence it takes to do nude modeling and then to write about it. “…my life as an object,” makes one think of all the ways most people are, at times, the object: during love making (an object of lust as Rooney would say), bosses who treat workers as objects, beautiful peop ...more
María Paz Greene F
Dec 16, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobio, non-fic
Encontré súper choro el tema, pero casi ME MUERO de aburrimiento.

No es que le falten sustancia a estos ensayos, sino que justo lo contrario: la autora los recarga demasiado. Todas las anécdotas las mezcla con citas y estudios elevados de temas relativos, lo que podría ser divertido, pero de alguna manera le sale muy tedioso. Considerando que el tema es tan jugoso, creo que ella simplemente carecía de gracia para escribir. O de carisma.

También pienso que quizá la autora tenía tanta necesidad de d
Alyssa True
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book disappointed me. The author had three voices: the poet, the academic, and the prurient giggler. I enjoyed the first and I might have stuck with the second or third, but not all three. I also did not appreciate the Carrie-Bradshaw-inspired pondering. I'm much more interested in the story than the myriad of points so I ended up making fun of it.

I tried to read this on vacation, when I had all the time in the world, and I wanted to read anything but this. The first 50 or so pages went by
Mar 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
Sometimes I excitedly start a book only to realize I cannot finish it. I try to force myself to, but I am so uninterested by the story or the voice telling it that I can't concentrate. I end up reading the same paragraph three times, because my mind keeps wandering. This is one of those instances.

I was so excited to find this book, because I earned a living as an art model for 4 years, doing it full time & traveling the US. I had never come across an art model memoir before. But so many of my m
Mar 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 non-modeling population. The six chapters of the book are actually six essays on various aspects of the nude (and sometimes non-nude) modeling experience. The topics of the first two essays are not unexpected. They are a meditation of 'Nude' vs. 'Naked' and an analysis of the types of relationships possible between the model a ...more
Neil McCrea
Mar 20, 2009 rated it liked it
I saw Kathleen read just prior to JE at a UW bookstore a little while back.

The memoir details her experiences as an art model. I was sold on checking it out by her use of classical references (Pliny, for one)to the life of artists' models.

So far the prose is light, breezy and engaging.

We'll see how it goes.


Just finished this up after having to put it aside in favor of studying market saturation reports (ugh).

Memoirs generally ain't my bag. I tend to find them either too self congratulator
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, memoir, non-fiction
Wow. This young woman is really an amazing writer. She seamlessly blends her personal experiences as a nude model with both historical references and contemporary analyses of that unusual profession. She does it in a style that is both scholarly and readable. This is the second book I have read by Rooney - her novel, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, was totally different, of course, but just as wonderful. I will be on the lookout for more. ...more
Fernando Soto silva
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lo escribe una joven escritora (varios libros publicados) que es además profesora y modelo nudista para artistas. El título puede llevar a errar al elegir este libro por sobre otro. Lo compré con algo de morbo y me topo con una novela/ensayística repleta de cultura y de historia del arte contada en simple y sobretodo en entretenido. Una belleza total, que deja claro todo el poder que otorga el no tener nada que ocultar (lo de objeto, nada tiene que ver con lo que se piensa)
Amanda Smith
Apr 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Beautiful writing about a topic that I couldn't really relate to. She did provide some interesting perspectives into something I hadn't thought much about. I don't know that I'd recommend it, but I did enjoy reading it.

Jan 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is very interesting, very insightful, very well written, and I know the author but I wouldn't say those things unless I meant them.
Mar 02, 2019 rated it liked it
This started off really well but started to drag after the first few chapters. It also felt at times that these were written as separately published essays (the way she writes “Martin, my fiancé” in back to back chapters as though we didn’t already know this, for example). She also seemed a bit condescending about sex work and fat people which took away from my enjoyment of the book.
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A book to show you the life in a way you never see it.
Gregg Chadwick
Dec 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
During Lady Gaga's entertaining Thanksgiving special she joked about her brief gig as a life model for singer and visual artist Tony Bennett. Gaga recounted:

"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 marve
Feb 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
"Art is a lie that helps us feel in control. It helps us create an order and a harmony we can only rarely create in our own existence. Art helps us establish a sense that we, and the events of our lives, matter, that they have meaning and weight and beauty."

I think the best thing about Kathleen's biographical meditation on art modeling, is her humanizing investigation of identity and discovery. It's interesting to know Kathleen, to make art and to read this book ( I found that I appear quickly i
Bill Lancaster
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-books
Kathleen Rooney's "Live Nude Girl" is a great companion to Peter Steinhart's "The Undressed Art". And though I liked Steinhart's book better, Rooney brings a fine sensibility and a valued historical perspective to how the artist's model is perceived and the challenges involved in nude and costumed modeling.

She is very frank about her feelings, about the dynamics between artist and model and about the inherent contradictions about the differences between being "nude" and being "naked". She is al
Feb 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
I found this to be a very provocative book but not for the reasons that you probably think. Provocative because it forces one to re-evaluate their feelings about self-image, nudity, and sexuality in general.

In any case if you have an opportunity to hear Ms Rooney read don't miss it she is one of the best readers I've ever come across. Perhaps if she ever gives up her writing career she should think about becoming an actress.
Libbet Bradstreet
Aug 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The synopsis captures it best as a "lively meditation". Rooney does an extraordinary job of balancing memoir with critical art history. The book acts at once as a critical essay and a girly-indulgence.
Mar 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Interesting exploration of the art world from the perspective of the model. Especially like the sprinkling of philosophy and the offering of historical facts. And Rooney's construction of her own Memory Palace.

Mar 06, 2009 added it
I heard her read a passage from the book and was inspired to read it. It is an interesting first-person account of being art, as well as dealing with societal opinions on nudity.
Sep 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book confirmed that I, like Tobias before me, shall remain a never-nude.
Aug 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Started reading out of curiosity but was quickly attracted to Rooney's fluent and reflective narrative. She is more a writer than an art model. Nice read.
Apr 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essays
Way to go, Kathy!
Naomi E
Mar 26, 2015 rated it liked it
A great read on the joys and perils of modeling for art as well as some backstory on famous art models throughout history
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
From the perspective of one who works with models, both in photography and in life drawing I enjoyed the opportunity to see my fields from a different approach.
Jun 10, 2009 is currently reading it
Loved hearing Rooney read aloud from this and looking forward to the rest!
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Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press, a publisher of literary work in hybrid genres, and a founding member of Poems While You Wait, a team of poets and their typewriters who compose commissioned poetry on demand. She teaches English and Creative Writing at DePaul University and is the author of eight books of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction, including the novel O, Democracy! (F ...more

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