Tonight, visitors can experience the Mississippi Museum of Art's "When Modern Was Contemporary" exhibit with the Party of the (Mid) Century benefit at 7 p.m., which leads way to Midnight Modern at 11:30 p.m.
The mid-century party, which is black and white formal attire (masks are encouraged), features a curated dinner, a live theater performance from New Stage Theatre, music and cocktails. Midnight Modern will have special exhibition tours, midnight snacks and more. But it will also feature something else … body painting from Art in Flesh.
Art in Flesh is the brainchild of artist Robeka Steam. The Boynton Beach, Fla., native says she started doing special-effects makeup after graduating from the Tom Savini's special-effects makeup program at the Douglas Education Center in Pennsylvania in 2004. Ever since a photographer commissioned her for body painting in 2007, she says she's done everything from children's parties to club events to college-campus meet and greets. She moved to Little Rock, Ark. in 2014, and then to Jackson in 2015.
She started doing her work under the name Art in Flesh around 2011. For it, she collaborates with other artists on body-paint designs. They have done many designs such as cyborgs, zombies, a fallen angel, a marble statue, Mother Earth and a frozen Ice Queen, among many other designs.
She says her favorite part of body painting is the fact that the canvas is living and breathing.
"Your canvas interacts with you; they laugh with you; they giggle," she says. "It's more personable. It's fun seeing the transformation. Each time you go into a body paint, it's a challenge, but in a wonderful way. You're constantly pushing yourself to do something different. I'm constantly thinking about different ideas, sketching, looking at reference. I never believe you're too good for reference. I always believe you've got to look at something."
In Jackson, she often works with DJ Rozz on events such as glow parties. She also did body painting for the Zombie Bash JXN Con after party at Hal & Mal's last December, among other events.
At the October 2015 Museum After Hours at the Mississippi Museum of Art, Steam and artists Jensen Jones and Carra Faith Spencer painted pop-art zombies. When she heard about the Midnight Modern, she approached Julian Rankin, the director of marketing and communications at MMA, about painting models like the works in the "When Modern Was Contemporary" exhibit. For the event tonight, she has about 12 to 15 models and is working with people such as Boston, Mass. artist Annie Medrano, Hattiesburg artist Chris Holzinger, Jackson area artist Anna Yoakum and Hattiesburg makeup artist Tori Faith to bring the pieces to life.
Steam says she's most excited about doing a body painting based on the art of Lee Krasner, who was Jackson Pollock's wife. "I really liked her work, and how she went about her process was contemporary and modern art. (It had) a lot of shapes and colors," Steam says. "I thought it would be really fun for body painting."
Krasner's "Burning Candles" is featured in the exhibit.
Midnight Modern begins tonight at 11:30 p.m. In addition to the work from Art in Flesh, the event will have live music, special exhibition tours, snacks and more. The event is free with the purchase of an exhibition ticket, which is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $6 for students and free for museum members. For more information, visit msmuseumart.org.