Wendy Steiner


On her book The Real Real Thing: The Model in the Mirror of Art

Cover Interview of August 02, 2011

A close-up

Since The Real Real Thing covers a lot of ground, readers casually dipping into it might form very different ideas about what sort of book it is.  If they happened on the discussion of Genesis in which God is the first model, they might see this as a work of historical scholarship.  If they began with the chapter on Warhol and Dylan as artist celebrities, or the one on the interactive politics of Hairspray, they might assume they were dealing with a pop culture study.  A quick dip into the section on bioethics and bio art might suggest a futuristic orientation, the one on women artists-models might sound like feminist art history, and the one on the art of the Disappeared might indicate politically engaged theory.

I would not be sorry if The Real Real Thing elicited any of these interpretations, since it is an attempt to show how myth, philosophy, pop culture, technology, politics, and ethics come together in the figure of the model in contemporary art.