Real Deceptions develops a new theory of realism through close consideration of myriad contemporary art, media, and cultural practices. Rather than focusing on transgressing deceptions which distort reality, the book argues that reality lies within the deceptions themselves. That is to say, realism's political potential emerges not by revealing deception but precisely by staging deceptions--particularly deceptions that imperil the very categories of true and false. In lieu of perceiving deception as an obstacle to truth, it shows how deception functions as the truth's necessary conduit. Categories invoked in realist works, such as trompe l'oeil, illusion, hypervirtuality, and simulation help to establish how realism can be seen as moving from the creation of mere epistemological uncertainty to radical ontologically-based indeterminacy. The book cultivates this schema by considering productive connections between insights from Jacques Lacan and Jacques Rancière. Real Deceptions not only applies these theoretical frameworks to art and media examples, but also engages in the reverse move of using the "cases" to further the theories. This dual approach points to the ways in which efforts to produce realist representations often give rise to the destabilizing Real.