Flirting with painted ladies at the Gibbes 

Body as a Wonderland

The Gibbes got mildly scandalous Friday night with a sold-out party for Society 1858 called Flirting with Art. The Woodlands provided a few breath-killing but delicious hors d’oeuvres like roast beef crostinis, crackers with lobster and grapefruit, and a spread of scallops and addictive yellowfin tuna set up beneath an ice sculpture of a reclining nude woman. A video was projected on the wall above our heads showing people preparing for the night’s main event: a “painted model promenade.” “Are they going to be completely naked?” seemed to be the question on everyone’s lips.

Eventually, curious guests were corralled into the main gallery, where Executive Director Angela Mack introduced the show. Local artists like Nathan Durfee, Lese Corrigan, Sally King Benedict, and Tim Hussey had gotten up close and personal with some leggy models’ bodies, painting them from head to toe. In answer to our questions, the models were wearing bras and underwear, although one male model appeared to be wearing a thong (and he consequently earned the most whoops from the crowd). Despite the big names working behind the scenes, the art was less-then-impressive, but we’re guessing this is the first time most of them have ever worked with such a canvas. Regardless, most of the guests seemed enthralled.

After the show, Klipart pumped up the jams, making the Gibbes feel more like a nightclub than a historic art museum. The models weaving through the crowd helped complete the picture as well-dressed patrons kept their distance to avoid paint smears.   

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