Feld’s book, published shortly after the writer’s death in 2001, is as much a critical exegesis of Guston’s work as it is a memoir of their acquaintance. It’s also an homage to the artist and his willingness to think outside the box. Excerpts from Guston’s letters allow readers to hear his voice as they’re taken through his work and its stylistic heresies, which are emulated to this day.
—Howard Halle, ArtNews
Quietly no less vital [than the exhibition catalog] in grasping Guston’s contribution to post-war American art and his abiding significance to contemporary painters. . . . Among those who best captured the painter’s final-decade achievements was Ross Feld, another poet and a rare moral support after he’d been shunned by the art world—even by old friends like the composer Morton Feldman—following his figurative rupture.
—Ben Luke, The Art Newspaper
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. . . This is a beautiful, mysterious, generous book.
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.
A moving memorial to a deep and supportive friendship. . . Feld's readings of a number of [Guston’s] paintings, informed by his intimacy with the artist, are near-definitive models of passionate clarity and explication. . . This book is valuable, too, for the light it sheds on the often ill-understood reciprocal nature of the relationship between artists and critics. . . [A] remarkable volume, which recalls Rilke's Letters on Cezanne in its joyful intensity.
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. . . . 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.
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.
An affectionate homage. . . Feld escorts the reader through Guston’s idiosyncratic iconography and in a loosely chronological fashion easily moves from anecdote to analysis of paintings. . . Feld’s effortless prose sets the reader in the studio, in the kitchen, in an Italian restaurant, as he captures his friend’s animus.