Chris Mars

chris mars

Chris Mars was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1961, the youngest of seven children. When Mars was five years old, his eldest brother, Joe, was institutionalized for Schizophrenia. Memories of the archaic institution, society’s prejudgment, medical anonymity and familial shame had a profound impact on the young Mars, setting him on a life path of creative expression seeking to “…free the oppressed; to champion the persecuted, and the submissive; to liberate through revelation the actualized Self in those proposed by some to have no self at all.” Mars’s work has exhibited in museums worldwide including Halle St. Pierre (Paris), Casa Dell’Architettura/Acquario (Rome), Museum of Modern Art (New York), Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (CA), Laguna Art Museum (CA), Ruby Green Contemporary Art Space (TN), Grand Central Art Center (CA), Haas Fine Arts Center (WI), Art Center South Florida (Miami) and Louisville Visual Arts (KY), as well as American Visionary Art Museum (MD), Longview Museum of Fine Arts (TX), Museum of Fine Arts Florida State University (FL), Minnesota History Center (St. Paul), Mesa Contemporary Arts (AZ), The Tweed Museum of Art (MN), Weisman Art Museum (MN), Tweed Museum (MN) and Minneapolis Institute of Art (MN), each of which hold Mars’s work in the permanent collection. Applying his highly realized aesthetic to motion narratives, films by Chris Mars have screened at many of world’s most prestigious festivals including Sundance, SXSW, Jerusalem International Film Festival, Starz Denver International Film Festival, Cinequest, Palm Springs ShortFest, Athens International Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, San Francisco Green Film Festival, Montreal Documentary Film Festival, Maryland International Film Festival, Nashville International Film Festival, Florida International Film Festival and Maurvais Genre International Film Festival, among others, as well as at numerous museums internationally. Mars’s monograph Tolerance was released by Billy Shire Fine Arts Press/Last Gasp in 2008, bringing together a near-decade of oil paintings and moreover revealing his poetic tales of oppression, liberty, neglect and salvation, joining his literary voice with his remarkable body of visual work. Mars’s yet untitled follow-up to Tolerance will be released in 2016. An accomplished musician as well, Mars was a founding member of seminal 80s band The Replacements, with whom he record ten albums before embarking upon a critically acclaimed, four-disc solo career. In 1995, Mars publically departed the music world to dedicate himself exclusively to his visual art. Mars’s musical endeavors are now limited to the creation of soundtracks for his award-winning films.

Mars is a self-taught artist. For more information on the artist and his work, please visit