CHSO November 2013 : Page 80

[ART & CULTURE] ART HEAVENLY ART The interior of Mars Gallery. Left: “Queen Elizabeth” by Peter Mars. MISSION TO MARS MARS GALLERY CELEBR ATES 25 YEARS PUSHING LIMITS. By Lauren Viera e West Loop’s Mars Gallery (1139 W. Fulton Market, 312.226.7808, marsgallery.com) is the antithesis of a typical visual arts venue. Its exposed brick and colorful, haphazard installations evoke more of a living room than a stark white cube, and the throwback soundtrack and the sta ’s casual banter suggest that these folks have been around the block a few times—25 years, to be exact. As Mars celebrates its quarter-century anniversary, co-director and artist Peter Mars remembers the early days with co-director Barbara Gazdik, scoring the multilevel 4,000-square-foot loft on Fulton Avenue. Back then, the neighborhood was known for two things: meatpacking and photography—the latter because of the wealth of old industrial buildings with natural light for miles. e neighborhood was dodgy, but that was part of the allure, says Gazdik. “If you were cool, you knew about it,” she says. “We didn’t even have business cards; we didn’t have hours. It was like, ‘Hours? If we’re free, we’ll let you in.’ We ran a business like that for years.” From its edgling days, Mars Gallery was all about 80 CS NOVEMBER 2013 its collectors, “regular people who wanted to collect art for their home with their own vision,” Mars says. “ ey were looking for something interesting, looking for something unusual, to add to the mix of what they had.” And they were drawn to the gallery for its stable of pop-art artists, of which Mars was the leader. Over the course of his career, Mars was commissioned by major pop culture houses such as Elvis Presley Archives and Muhammad Ali Enterprises, the latter of which in turn partnered with brands including Dolce & Gabbana, Converse All Stars and others. As his work circulated to an international following, it became a magnet drawing new collectors to the gallery. “My career has gone from being an almost unknown local artist, to playing on the national scene and doing some international shows, so that’s really helped [the gallery’s] staying power a lot,” Mars says. at, and the gallery’s openings always turn into parties, as was the case at last month’s 25th anniversary celebration, which drew a few decades’ worth of artists. at’s how it always was in the old days, Mars says, “but that’s still kind of how it is now. I don’t know why.” He pauses. en, “We do have a disco ball.” Gazdik admits Mars Gallery has always been the center of a lively, edgy scene, but she never noticed it while it was happening. “I was saying to Pete the other day, ‘I’m just really bummed I never got to go to a rave,’ and he said, ‘What do you think we were having?!’” she laughs. “You’re just in it. We were in it a lot more than we realized. But it’s only in retrospect that you see that.” PHOTO OF GALLERY BY JORGE@JORGETOOKYOURPICTURE.COM

Art & Culture Art

Lauren Viera

MISSION TO MARS

MARS GALLERY CELEBRATES 25 YEARS PUSHING LIMITS.

The West Loop’s Mars Gallery (1139 W. Fulton Market,312. 226.7808, marsgallery.com) is the antithesis of a typical visual arts venue. Its exposed brick and colorful, haphazard installations evoke more of a living room than a stark white cube, and the throwback soundtrack and the sta ’s casual banter suggest that these folks have been around the block a few times—25 years, to be exact.

As Mars celebrates its quarter-century anniversary, co-director and artist Peter Mars remembers the early days with co-director Barbara Gazdik, scoring the multilevel 4,000-square-foot loft on Fulton Avenue. Back then, the neighborhood was known for two things: meatpacking and photography—the latter because of the wealth of old industrial buildings with natural light for miles. e neighborhood was dodgy, but that was part of the allure, says Gazdik. “If you were cool, you knew about it,” she says. “We didn’t even have business cards; we didn’t have hours. It was like, ‘Hours? If we’re free, we’ll let you in.’ We ran a business like that for years.”

From its edgling days, Mars Gallery was all about its collectors, “regular people who wanted to collect art for their home with their own vision,” Mars says. “They were looking for something interesting, looking for something unusual, to add to the mix of what they had.” And they were drawn to the gallery for its stable of pop-art artists, of which Mars was the leader. Over the course of his career, Mars was commissioned by major pop culture houses such as Elvis Presley Archives and Muhammad Ali Enterprises, the latter of which in turn partnered with brands including Dolce & Gabbana, Converse All Stars and others. As his work circulated to an international following, it became a magnet drawing new collectors to the gallery. “My career has gone from being an almost unknown local artist, to playing on the national scene and doing some international shows, so that’s really helped [the gallery’s] staying power a lot,” Mars says.

That, and the gallery’s openings always turn into parties, as was the case at last month’s 25th anniversary celebration, which drew a few decades’ worth of artists. at’s how it always was in the old days, Mars says, “but that’s still kind of how it is now. I don’t know why.” He pauses. Then, “We do have a disco ball.”

Gazdik admits Mars Gallery has always been the center of a lively, edgy scene, but she never noticed it while it was happening. “I was saying to Pete the other day, ‘I’m just really bummed I never got to go to a rave,’ and he said, ‘What do you think we were having?!’” she laughs. “You’re just in it. We were in it a lot more than we realized. But it’s only in retrospect that you see that.”

Read the full article at http://digital.modernluxury.com/article/Art+%26+Culture+Art/1545675/180983/article.html.

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