Dispatches from Beefhaus Gallery at 8:30 p.m. Saturday night are sure to be strange. Randall Garrett converts this artist-run space in Expo Park into a discotheque that houses his solo exhibition, Reach Inside to See the Stars. Part visual art, part performance art, he describes the experience of the space as similar to a seedy night off Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City. Not familiar? Think the Slip Inn, but sexier.
"It will be very atmospheric,very dark," Garrett explains. "With evocative low lights that add color. I've also been composing a soundtrack that will lend to the overall ambiance of the space."
For Garrett, the milieu of the exhibition is the art, as much as any sculptural or collage work in the show. And of course, the performance art.
"There's always a performance aspect to my shows because it's very direct and unmediated," Garrett says. "You're there in the space with the viewers and you don't have any barriers. When you make a painting or sculpture, it's a mediated experience from what happens in the studio to the viewer seeing it. But I like the risk and the vulnerability performance entails."
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At 8:30 p.m. Garrett will crawl out of Beefhaus' safe room, creating a fully immersive experience, in which the audience is face to face with the artist as he ventures on a journey in front of them. The exhibition title emphasizes the idea of perception and the ways in which our subjectivity affects art that seems otherwise straightforward. Similarly, each visitor is sure to interact with both Garret's performance and the exhibit's reflective surfaces individually. One suggestion from Garrett? Selfies in the mirrored surfaces.
The show's title refers back to his first solo exhibition in Dallas at 500x Gallery in 1992, Seeing Stars. At the time, 500x was one of the only artist-run spaces in the city. So doing a show at one of the several experimental spaces more than 20 years later, Garrett brings with him a positive perspective on the city's artistic growth.
"This is a completely different scene then it was 10 years ago in Dallas. In 2000 there really was maybe one or two artist run spaces in the city," he says. "Over the last two to three years I've seen quite a few pop up, like BeefHaus, which brings vitality the scene here. It gives artists the freedom to experiment, which is exactly what I'm doing in my show."
The opening reception starts at 7 p.m., with the performance to start at 8:30 p.m. Entry is free. Beefhaus Gallery is located at 833 Exposition Ave.