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Guston in Time: Remembering Philip Gustonby Ross Feld
Synopses & Reviews
Novelist Ross Feld remembers his friend, the acclaimed artist Philip Guston, in a beautiful blend of memoir, biography and art criticism interspersed with extracts from Guston's vibrant letters.
"Unlike my friend Richard Howard, I never had the good fortune to meet Ross Feld — just admired him, intensely, from afar. What a describer, what an intelligence! Here is a writer who, whatever the subject, is incapable of commonplace responses and diction. (Randall Jarrell is another.) His last, singular book is essential Feld: a thrilling, giddy rush of subtle, mature judgments. But never was Feld's acuity so partnered as here; Guston, of course, is no mean subject. These two high-octane minds in dialogue, in deep, respectful friendship, resound in their letters like a piano sonata for four hands that's part Schubert, part Busoni. And then there's the enclosing arch of Feld's visionary evocation of Guston's quest and Guston's vulnerability. (Portrait of the Artist as ...) This is a beautiful, mysterious, generous book." Susan Sontag
"Guston's art never goosestepped in time to aesthetic orthodoxy. Neither does Ross Feld's exhilarating, stylistically-inventive book. Part criticism, part memoir, part meditation on art and death, Guston In Time is a revealing portrait of not only the painter, but of a passionate friendship. "We are necessary absolutely to each other," Guston declared to Feld. Witnessing this duet of ferocious yet generous intelligences, we can see why. Feld argues that to create, an artist must both expose himself and hide — often at the same time. What a privilege it is to share both men's creative processes." Lisa Zeidner, author of Layover
"This irresistible hybrid - part memoir, part art criticism, part biography, part meditation on death - employs language with such richness that it seems a species of prose poetry. The combination of Feld's startlingly insightful writing with the astonishing candor of Guston's letters, is unique and compelling. Together they wrestle with their respective angels - words and images - but always the shadow of mortality hovers over them like smoke. Looked at one way, this book is a small, perfect elegy; looked at another, it is an even more complicated achievement. The three modes that Feld nominates as central to Guston's art - "theatrical, asymmetrically plural and philosophical" - are Feld's own strengths as well and this book fairly vibrates with their considered application. The writers with whom he shares company - the likes of Dave Hickey, John Berger and Arthur Danto - are the finest critics we have." Robert Enright, Editor-at-Large for Border Crossings magazine and the author of Peregrinations: 32 Conversations with Contemporary Artists
"Friendships and devoted correspondents across various disciplines give us a special glimpse into why we are all involved in this thing called culture. The Guston-Feld correspondences have the immediacy and urgency that we usually experience only in artists' studios in front of new work or over drinks and a pack of cigarettes throwing around new ideas. Reading this book you can taste the scotch and smell the smoke, and feel the ideas forming." Michael Auping, Chief Curator at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and Curator of the 2003 International Philip Guston Retrospective
Book News Annotation:
Feld (1947-2001) is the author of four novels, a book of criticism, and collection of poetry. In 1975, he wrote a brief, but insightful review of a gallery show of Guston's (1913-1980) work for Arts magazine. Months later, Feld received a surprising note from Guston himself—and a remarkable friendship was born. While the focus of this text is Feld's analysis of Guston's life and work, aspects of their friendship are also conveyed. Some 35 cards and letters exchanged between the artist and author are included in an appendix.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Novelist Ross Feld remembers his friend, the acclaimed artist Philip Guston, in a blend of memoir, biography and art criticism interspersed with extracts from Guston's vibrant letters. As Feld writes, "he was like a Zero Mostel, a supernova of personality".
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