500X Alumnus Interview: Randall Garrett
500X: Tell us a little about yourself. What is your artistic background?
RG: I studied in the graduate program at The University of North Texas, completing the MFA program in 1993. At 500X Gallery, I learned the daily operations of a gallery, and applied that knowledge to both begin a career as a gallery director in the community college system at DCCCD, and also to open Plush Gallery in 2000. I have shown my work professionally since 1992, including solo shows and performances in Dallas, Chicago, and Mexico City. In 2002, I created a work of public sculpture that is on view on the banks of the Song Huong River in Hué, Vietnam. Currently, I split my time between Dallas and Mexico City.
500X: What years were you a member of 500X?
RG: I was a member of 500X Gallery from 1992-96.
500X: Were you ever a 500X officer? If so, what position(s)?
RG: Yes, I developed and was voted into the office of Public Relations Officer during my tenure.
500X: Who were some of the other members with you?
RG: Joe Allen, Robert McAn, Anthony Wright, Dianne Greene, Tom Sime, Scott Barber, Robert Moore, Steven Price, Derek Saunders, Paolo Canulla, Michael Wynne, R.E. Cox, Marcos Rosales
500X: Tell us about your time at 500X. What was it like?
RG: At that moment, UNT was the major pipeline of artists joining 500X. Joe Allen sponsored me to membership midway through grad school there. In 1992, we created the annual “Expo” series, that continues today. I left the gallery in 1996, but returned to curate the 20th anniversary show, “20x500” in 1998, a project that I researched for almost a year, in which we invited or located work in collections to showcase over 90 artists from the history of the gallery to that moment.
500X: Do you have a favorite moment from your membership?
RG: There are many great moments. What I remember the most is the spirit of collaboration we brought to the experience. In 1993, we mounted a significant posthumous retrospective exhibition for artist Kenneth Havis. In a controversial moment in 1994, we voted out a member during a contentious board meeting. In 1996, Scott Barber created the first website for the gallery. A humorous moment was in 1998, during the installation for the 20th anniversary show, when we discovered a hidden angry message scrawled in chalk on a ceiling rafter, geared toward one of the co-founders of the gallery. It gave us all a good laugh.
500X: What do you think you gained from being a 500X member?
RG: I learned the basic, day-to-day operations of running an art gallery, an invaluable experience that altered the course of my career and helped me in opening my own gallery.
500X: How has 500X impacted your career as an artist?
RG: The gallery gave me my first opportunities to exhibit and network as a professional artist. I learned the professional practices that have stayed with me to the present day.
500X: Do you have any photos you could share from your time at 500X?
Yes, I am including a We Transfer link in the email reply, with images from the 20th anniversary show catalogue. Derek Saunders (Ft. Worth) designed the exhibition catalogue, he may have access to the hi-res photos. I also donated my portion of the gallery archives to the Dallas Museum of Art in 2012. You may find a lot more about the history of 500X Gallery there.