About Mars Gallery
New Era transforms Mars Gallery
Excellence in the Arts since 1988
Mars Gallery is located in the West Loop of downtown Chicago in a turn-of-the-century warehouse loft originally occupied by the Empire Butter and Egg Company. Mars specializes in contemporary pop art and outsider artwork.
According to parapsychologists, the gallery space itself is located directly on top of one of the Earth's "energy vortex circles." During the 1960's and 70's, the space was used as an underground nightclub, featuring many famous bands and happenings of that era. The gallery's clients include Betsey Johnson, Michael Jordan, MGM Films, Warner Bros. Records, Capitol Records, Strictly Hype Records, Harley Davidson Inc, etc.
Tales of the City
Most of you probably know about all the colorful "Urban Folklore" surrounding the gallery. There has always been a very strange creative energy here and a lot of weird and wonderful things have occurred here over these past 40 years. In the old days, "raves" and underground parties were held here. The neighborhood was a total ghetto, and most "nice people" wouldn't be caught dead down here. Now days, while it still has the "charm of the ghetto", the fish and meat packing district, the neighborhood is cool and many film, recording, and advertising industry big shots regularly entertain clients here. Warner Bros., Strictly Hype Records, Capitol Records, and many others. The loft that Mars Gallery now occupies has been the location for much of Chicago's underground art, film, and music scene for a long time and it has a very interesting history.
During the 1960's and 70's, the space was an underground nightclub called "Space Place", a rave location, hosting huge outlaw warehouse parties. Many famous bands of that era played here, including The Ramones, and many legendary Chicago DJs tore it up on the turntables. The neighborhood at that time was basically a burned out ghetto. I remember when Mars first opened here most of the buildings were burned out shells, they didn't even have roofs any more... so like you could look up through the windows and right back out at the sky! Phil B., who was a roadie for one of the bands that frequented The Loft during that time, can tell all sorts of wild stories about those days. "The loft parties were running completely illegal... the building didn't have electricity, but someone had hot wired a power line directly out onto one of the telephone poles running through the back alley, to bootleg at least enough electricity to run lights and amps for the bands."
"The elevator was jammed on the top floor and not working at all, and the basement was completely flooded with a couple feet of standing water. On the rooftop the VIP crowd was allowed to go up the fire escape ladders to reach the roof and then another ladder took you to a crow's nest, where you eventually reach a water-tower platform left over from where the water tower used to be up on the roof" (at some point during the 60s the water tower had been torn down or maybe had fallen down), "but this left a large pad type space where the tower had previously been, kind of like a giant round deck perched five stories up in the air, high atop the elevator shaft. Party VIPs, fans and roadies, would hang out up there till late night, all night parties, taking illegal substances and watching the night city melt into its skyline, and the flying saucers take off for outer space."
Only a few blocks from Mars Gallery was the original location of the legendary nightclub "The Warehouse". This club also was famous for its dance music and drew huge crowds of partiers every weekend. The Warehouse is actually where the term "House Music" was coined, and from Old School to Hip Hop to Trip House, it all started right here. In the same loft that had formerly been Space Place, Mars gallery opened in 1988 and soon earned its props as the mainstay of Chicago's underground art scene, From music to the visual arts, continuing year after year of legendary parties and art openings. Of course now days the neighborhood is full of TV studios, condos, and swank restaurants... but the underground art and music scene here in the Fulton and Randolph district is still alive and well and still inspiring the artists of today! Long Live Almighty Fulton Street!
According to parapsychologists, most the wild energy that has been observed here over the years can be attributed to the fact that the gallery space itself is located directly on top of one of the Earth's "energy vortex circles". The epicenter of the vortex is located near the center of the Gallery's western most wall about 70 feet south of the Fulton Street side of the building. From that center the vortex radiates in a northeastern direction in a slightly oblong shape. The Fulton Street Vortex is one of the few known cases where an energy vortex exists within an urban environment.
That earth-energy has been an intriguing aspect of the creativity of the gallery artists and many have found it to be a very creative center. Sounds and one's sense of time within the vortex can be observed to "bend" and behave oddly, and visitors to the gallery feel a real sense that something very special is at work here. Artists in particular consider the place a hallowed ground as it contains a palpable energy that you can feel the minute you walk in the door.