Next Time You’re in Chicago . . .

Mars Gallery

By David Perry ’73
Mars Gallery

Peter Mars ’82 explains the Fulton Street Vortex at his eponymous gallery in Chicago.
Photo by Molly Stankovsky

Situated in a gritty meatpacking district, in a building that once housed the Empire Butter and Egg Company, the Mars Gallery practically defines “off the beaten path”—the perfect location, in other words, for underground art.

The gallery, run by Peter Mars ’82 and Barb Gazdik, features work by Joey Africa, Michael Hedges, Kevin Luthardt, and, of course, Peter—a well-known pop artist in his own right, whose portraits of Elvis were recently featured at the Clinton Presidential Library.

Mars Gallery also boasts an exotic history. In the ’60s and ’70s, it was the legendary “Space Place” nightclub. It is also said to be located directly on top of a phenomenon known as the Fulton Street Vortex, a concentrated sphere of energy that is said to warp both sound and time.

Besides the factories, the neighborhood boasts art galleries, coffee shops, condos, and some of Chicago’s trendiest restaurants (Moto, The Publican, Next, and Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard’s Girl & the Goat). You can also rent the gallery for a party or a fundraiser (as Reed has several times).

Mars Gallery: 1139 West Fulton Market, Chicago;; 312/226-7808; Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday, noon–6 p.m. Thursday, noon–7 p.m. Email the gallery for other times.

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