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Plush Is Plush Again

Story + Photographs by J R Compton

Randal at the door

Bathed in the reflective hue of the institutional green-gold hallway,
gallery director Randall Garrett stands in the doorway of the latest Plush,
on the fourth floor of the downtown Manor House apartments.
 

We visited Plush's new space seven hundred-blocks up Commerce Street from their old address; upper-town in attitude; and with enough altitude for new views miles above what you could see from their old digs further down town toward Deep Elm.
  

the view up and the view down from Plush' new fourth floor digs

 

This Plush is clean, light and a little posh, giving lie to the name's tongue-in-chic irony and a gallery that's spent its life in the sleezed real estate of Dallas where nice people are afraid to go.

The new Plush in the westerly end of downtown is smaller by about a third; the parking is more difficult; and there's little chance homeless people will wander in. But director Randall Garrett has maintained the Plush aesthetic sensibility.

It's still got the funk.
 

Peregrine Honig - Avon Girls — Blonde, Albino, Brunette, 2005
acrylic and fabric over resin, approximately 7 inches high

According to Plush P R, "Peregrine Honig of Kansas City creates [art] of pubescent women, on the verge of and wrestling with their own femininity and its cultural definitions."
 
 

The art at Plush is different. Where else can cute bunny rabbits, cigars, naked plastic ladies, a ball-plugged machine gun and sewn-together toy snake skins share eye space as art?
 

Teresa O'Connor - Rabbit and Cigars

Teresa O'Connor - Rabbit and Cigars, 2005
varnished acrylic on wood, 7 x 7 x 4 inches

 

I don't want to over-classify the Plush oeuvre, but as you can see, it has a matter of fact simplicity with overtones of beauty, deep thought and irony. It's serious, with humor through and through. Plush art is caught somewhere between off-handed and offending in the in-between place of art and anti-art.

Use the Plush links below to see lots more Plush art.
 

Randall Garrett - love gun, 2001
enamel/stickers on plastic/wood
18 x 42 x 8 inches

 

For those of us who like to think we dig it, it's mostly fun. For those who don't, and sometimes when we forget, the best of this art can still be scary. On a lot of levels.
 

Eric Doeringer - John Currin (bootleg series), 2005
acrylic on canvas, 8 x 12 inches

According to Plush P R, "Eric Doeringer ... paints bootleg versions of famous contemporary artists works and sells them on the streets of N.Y."

 

Pepe Mar - snakeorama, 2004
disassembled and sewn plush toy snakes
60 x 78 x 3 inches

 

Originally aligned with a next-door gallery called Paradise that cast a wider net into a more deep-endedly aloof sense of art, Plush moved a couple doors down South Akard inching ever closer to downtown, as Randall Garrett played out his intense abilities to draw both crowds and strange and stranger art — and make his own.
 

Randall Garrett - Got no soul to sell (self-portrait)

Randall Garrett - got no soul to sell, 2005
Lambda print and plexiglas, 11 x 11 inches
(self-portrait)

 

From South Akard, Plush moved into nearly abandoned east downtown across from the once posh, now abandoned Sheraton-Dallas, into the ground floor of a multi-story garage at 1927 Commerce, itself lately disappeared. 

The parking attendant said if we got back in less than 30 minutes he wouldn't charge, so we kept an eye on the clock and wandered past the big empty office space next door, down a narrow hallway around the corner, to triple elevators and a window. There, we found these delicious, quirky little architectural details that caught our eyes and funny bones.

 

2-inch crown moulding  blank switchplate

 

So maybe the place's not entirely posh, but what we found made us feel right at home in the Plush progression.

The car was in the drive when we got back, with minutes to spare. But the attendant still charged us $2. Next time we'll find a meter. There were lots.

 

Other mentions of Plush in DARts— more Plush art and lots more words about it.

Randall Garrett, Prisoner of Pop, Performance Art in 2000

Art Wrestling - March 2002

The Long, Dark Tea-Time of Soul of Art — October 2002

500X is 25! September 2003

Best Institutional P R and Best Reception Attire of 2003

Best Gallery - 2004

Strange Art Night - Several Mentions - 2004

Briefer Mentions

Running the DADA Art Walk 2002

Manafeasto Student Show - 2002

Art

Cash Raised for Cancer Patients

Delinquent Boys and Wayward Girls Plush postcards

Radio Shack - mirror on sphere, 8 x 8 x 8 inches

Information about helping support DallasArtsRevue —
including a new, Easy Guide to Joining this site
is on the DARts Member Page Index.

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