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Press Release

The Importance of Being

May 23 through July 6, 2002
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 23, 7 - 9 p.m.

The Fahey/Klein Gallery is pleased to present selected photographs by Christopher Felver from his recent publication, The Importance of Being (Arena Editions) containing 436 portraits of the most influential and creative artists of our time.

"In this massive undertaking of portraiture, documentary artist and photographer Christopher Felver celebrates the present moment of the anarchistic face of the new genius. Over the previous two decades, Felver has traveled the United States and Europe, portraying the greatest creative forces of our times - writers, poets, filmmakers, actors, visual artists, protesters, and those engaged in the struggle for expression during the late twentieth century... This is no ordinary portrait collection - it represents a typology of creativity…that has fed the heart and souls of countless observers. This spectacular international family of faces is an anthology, after all, of the most adventurous discoverers in language and the visual arts." (Arena Editions Spring catalogue, 2002)

"Some of the best specimens of the human animal show up in The Importance of Being and by this I do not mean the beautiful people but the accomplished ones…Just one degree of separation, and it's as if meeting them too, everyone from Kathy Acker ("postmodern novelist, biker") to Franco Zefferelli ("film director"), including Seamus Heaney, Jasper Johns, B.B. King, Arthur Miller, Toni Morrison, Lou Reed, Susan Sontag -- even a jolly Ansel Adams." Taylor Holliday, Wall Street Journal, November 30, 2001.

"These artists are seriously committed and have the idea they can change the world by what they do." Christopher Felver interview.

"The selection of faces (mugs, pans, clocks, biscuits) …represents a weird kind of honor roll. Some of them are very famous, some you won't have heard of, and others are rumors, proof of whose existence is established here. What they all have in common, besides the fact that they all made some kind of art or literature in the latter half of the twentieth century, is that they all held some kind of line in intransigent idiosyncrasy. Nobody here groomed himself or herself for popular approval; few, assuming they cared, would have had a clue as to how to do so. And I'm talking about the work as much as the physiognomy, of course. Felver understands that kind of stubbornness in his bones, which is why he's photographing poets rather than starlets or politicians, at the cost of several tons of lifestyle. Felver is a poet, a magician, a great photographer who can make his camera invisible as he works, a biographer of two or three generations of oddballs and heroes, a champ, a prince, and a sport…" Luc Sante, The Importance of Being (Arena Editions, 2002).

Christopher Felver is a photographer and independent filmmaker. He has participated in the Venice International Film Festival and solo exhibition at the Centre Pomipidou in Paris. Felver has three previously published books and in 2001 a retrospective of his films were presented at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.