BERN PORTER
Bern Porter's life and career was complex and filled with contradictions and dissent. Born in 1911, Porter's academic training was as a physicist. Grieved by participating in the development of the atomic bomb, he quit the Manhatten Project and following World War II, Porter spent time in Japan (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) working with doctors and scientists on developing burn ointments and artificial limbs.

As an artist-writer-philosopher-scientist, Porter's underground reputation is secure, and his philosophy of dissent respected among visual artists and writers. He has authored over fifteen artist books and published works by many important writers. His publishing endeavors, while working on the atomic bomb in Oak Ridge, Tenn. in 1944, included Henry Miller's anti-war book
Murder the Murderer. Recognizing Porter as one of the earliest and most prolific practitioners of "Found Poetry" Peter Frank, in his book on the Something Else Press, has written; "Porter is to the poem what (Marcel) Duchamp was to the art object, a debunker of handiwork fetishism and exemplary artist-as-intercessor between phenomenon and receptor. He rejects the typical artist's role of semi-divine Creator. Porter's eye never tires of seeking accidental, unconventional
literature in odd pages of textbooks, far corners of advertisements, the verbiage of greeting cards and repair manuals, ad infinitum".

Works by Bern Porter are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, NYC; Brown University Libraries, Providence, RI; Special Collections, University of Califoria at Los Angeles, CA; Elliston PoetLy Room at the University of Cincinnati, OH; Sackner Collection of Visual and Concrete Poetry, Miami, FL and numerous other public and private collections. In 1979 he was given a retrospective exhibition at the Franklin Furnace, NYC, that traveled to three other cities in the United States.



Nevers, 1994

Screen print (black ink) on quarter inch thick white Sintra plastic, shaped, and mounted on aluminum channels so that when hung it floats off the wall approximately a half inch. Signed and numbered edition of 20. Published by Volatile Editions and Mark Patsfall Graphics. 18.5"x23.25" inches.

Atomic Dress Pattern, 1992

Six color screenprint on Rives BFK white paper. The imagery of the print was created by juxtaposing two cropped pages from a dress pattern magazine. The original periodical pages were printed on a thin paper stock that allowed the imagery on the back of the sheet (a model wearing the finished dress) to be seen from the front. This illusion has been recreated in the print by under-printing the image of the model and then over-printing it with the dress pattern image in five successive layers. Edition of 20, signed and numbered by the artist. Published by Volatile and Mark Patsfall Graphics. 30" x 40". (76.2cm x 101.6cm).


Untitled (anatomy), 1992

Suite of four lithographs, each 15" x 11" (38.1cm x 27.94cm). Printed in four colors from aluminum plates on Daniel Smith Archival paper. These works are based on a series of collages created from physicians' anatomy stamps, as well as text and found images from the Belfast, Maine, newspaper and telephone directory. Edition of 20, signed and numbered by the artist. Published by Volatile and Mark Patsfall Graphics.


89 Offenses, 1991

Combination lithograph (black ink) and etching (blue ink) with chine colle (Kitakata rice paper on Rives BFK white). Published here is a found criminal record of an unknown person, documenting 89 criminal offenses committed a total of 502 times. These offenses are accompanied by a statement from Porter appropriating these acts as his own and acknowledging himself as the "Chief Deceiver and Master Offender". Edition of 25, signed and numbered by the artist. Published by Volatile and Mark Patsfal1 Graphics. 41" x 15" (104.14cm x 38.1cm).
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