‘Used and Amused’

On Having Been a Real-Life Model, Muse, Performer, Poseur, and Sitter


  • Sue Spaid University of Cincinnati




model, muse, sitter, performer, poseur, textual account of the sitter, presentation painting, portrait


On the occasion of this special issue focused on Models and Sitters, I am presenting what Dawn Kanter (in this issue) terms a 'textual account of the sitter'. With this in mind, I revisit a particular era in my life (primarily 1993-1999) when I regularly served as a model, muse, performer, poseur, and sitter. In fact, there was sufficient material to organise 'Used and Amused' (2000), an exhibition focused on ten collaborations, for which I typically self-improvised. Rather than simply detail these events, I've woven various ideas developed by each of this special issue's contributors into this article, so that my narrative here augments their papers.

Author Biography

  • Sue Spaid, University of Cincinnati

    Since 1984, Belgium-based philosopher Sue Spaid, Ph. D., has been active in the artworld as a curator, art writer, university lecturer, and museum director. Spaid, who writes regularly for HArt, was on the Contributors Board for artUS, where she published 65 articles between 1997 and 2010. She has organized over 100 exhibitions for artist-run spaces, galleries and museums, most notably “Green Acres: Artists Farming Fields, Greenhouses, and Abandoned Lots” (2012) and “Ecovention: Current Art to Transform Ecologies” (2002). While Executive Director at the Contemporary Museum, Spaid published A Field Guide to Patricia Johanson’s Works: Proposed, Built, Published and Collected


Berger, John. ‘No More Portraits’. In Landscapes: John Berger on Art, edited by Tom Overton. London: Verso, 2018.

Debaene, Aurélie. ‘Posing Skill: The Art Model as Creative Agent’. Edited by Connell Vaughan and Iris Vidmar Jovanović. Proceedings of the European Society for Aesthetics 11 (2019): 214–31.

———. ‘The Art Model as Performer’. Aesthetic Investigations 5, no. 1 (2021): 7–27.

———. ‘Why It Matters Who Poses’. Aesthetic Investigations 6, no. 2 (2023): 128–40.

Eaton, A.W. ‘Naked, Fat, and Fabulous’. Aesthetic Investigations 6, no. 2 (2023): 174–92.

Kanter, Dawn. ‘Constructing and Using the Portrait Sitting as an Art-Historical Research Object’. Aesthetic Investigations 6, no. 2 (2023): 110–27.

Maes, Hans. ‘What Is a Portrait?’ British Journal of Aesthetics 55, no. 3 (2015): 315.

———, 2023.

Mitchell-Dayton, Caitlin, 2023.

RV. ‘Modelling, an Art Form in Itself’. RISD Bulletin, 1992, 3 and 15.

Weiser, Peg Brand. ‘Empowered Amateur Posers’. Aesthetic Investigations 6, no. 2 (2023): 193–207.

Zamir, Tzachi. ‘Gestures of/at Art’. Aesthetic Investigations 6, no. 2 (2023): 141–57.




How to Cite

“‘Used and Amused’: On Having Been a Real-Life Model, Muse, Performer, Poseur, and Sitter”. 2023. Aesthetic Investigations 6 (2): 208-20. https://doi.org/10.58519/aesthinv.v6i2.17414.