Bern Porter


En recuerdo a nuestro amigo y colega...

In memory of our friend and colleague...

(February 14, 1911 / June 7, 2004)

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------ Original Message ------

From: Carlo Pittore

Received: Monday, June 07, 2004 1:14 PM


Bern Porter died peacefully in his sleep about 4 am this Monday morning.


Bern Porter murió serenamente mientras dormía a aproximadamente

las 4 de la mañana del lunes 7 de junio de 2004


------ Original Message ------

From: Carlo Pittore

Received: Wednesday, November 12, 2003 3:19 PM


The granddaddy of mail art, BERN PORTER, 92, is still at Waldo County General Hospital, Room 211, High Street, Belfast, Maine 04915, and while frail, is still cogent and eager for your mail art NOW. I was mis informed about Bern being transferred to a nursing facility in Deer Isle.


El abuelo del arte por correo, BERN PORTER, de 92 años, todavía se encuentra en el Waldo County General Hospital (Hospital General del Condado de Waldo), Habitación 211, High Street, Belfast, Maine 07915, Estados Unidos, y aunque débil, aún está lúcido y deseoso de que envíes tu arte por correo YA. Se equivocaron al informarme que lo habían trasladado a un geriátrico de la isla Deer.





Biographical Note

Bern Porter was born Bernard Harden Porter on February 14, 1911 in Porter Settlement, Maine. Schooled in physics, Porter contributed to the Manhattan Project until 1945 when he quit shortly after he published Henry Miller's Murder the Murderer, an anti-war tract. Disillusioned by the misapplication of scientific potential, Porter began to express himself through a fusion of science and art. In 1959, he established the Institute for Advanced Thinking where freelance physicists develop ideas which combine physics and the humanities.

Porter was one of the founders of the mail art network, sending visual poetry, letters, one-of-a-kind postcards and altered images to international correspondents as early as the 1950s. He consistently participated in mail art exhibitions organized by younger artists and curators who sought out his work. In addition, Porter maintained an extensive literary career, in which he wrote over 80 books and published over 400, including Miller's first work in the United States.


Nota Biográfica

Bern Porter, cuyo nombre completo era Bernard Harden Porter, nació el 14 de febrero de 1911 en Porter Settlement (Urbanización Porter), Maine. Como físico, contribuyó en el Proyecto Manhattan (para fabricar la bomba atómica) hasta 1945, cuando lo abandonó después de haber publicado el breve tratado antibelicista de Henry Miller "Murder the Murderer" (Asesinen al asesino). Desilusionado por la errada aplicación del potencial científico, Porter comenzó a expresarse mediante una fusión de ciencia y arte. En 1959 organizó el Instituto de Pensamiento Avanzado en el que físicos independientes desarrollaban sus ideas combinando la física y las humanidades.

Porter fue uno de los fundadores de la red de arte por correo, al enviar ya en los cincuenta poesía visual, cartas, postales de edición única e imágenes modificadas a corresponsales internacionales. Participó permanentemente en exhibiciones de arte por correo organizadas por curadores y artistas más jóvenes, a quienes les interesaba su obra. Además, también se dedicó mucho a la literatura, ya que escribió más de 80 libros y publicó más de 400, incluyendo la primera obra de Miller en los Estados Unidos.





Started on: 29-8-1995

RJ: Welcome to this mail-interview. First let me ask you the traditional question.

When did you get involved in the mail-art network?

Reply on 12-9-1995

BP: I invented mail art, November 11, 1913.

RJ: Why November 11th 1913? What happened on that day that you decided to start to send out mail art?

Reply on 19-10-1995

BP: Sitting together on the floor of his 8x8 foot apartment east side New York I asked Ray: "What are you doing?" He answered: "Being myself." (the next question to Bern Porter I wrote with pencil on a two-color blue silk-screen printing of Ray Johnson)

RJ: Ray answered "Being myself". So, who was Ray? I would like to know.

Reply on 20-3-1996

BP: I asked Ray: "What are you doing?" He answered: "Being myself, average weight, average height, non drinking, non smoking, daily on the uproad to survival." I maintain at a library here "The Bern Porter Collection of Contemporary Letters" and wish to have the complete set of everything you have ever done. Advise cost delivered to me U.S.A. B.P U.S. Dollars in bankcheck form.

RJ:"Everything I ever have done?" That is difficult. Because all the mail art I sent out isn't mine anymore. All I produce is sent out into the network and I only have spare issues of magazines and copies of some pieces of mail. Everything I received and kept so far, that is something I have. Are all the letters you get (like e.g. this one) going to be part of "The Bern Porter Collection of Contemporary Letters", or is is just a "part of your life" that forms this collection? Just currious, what is in the collection?



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