Where to Go, What Do Do, When You Are Bern Porter: A Personal Biography

James Erwin Schevill, Author Tilbury House Publishers $27.5 (339p) ISBN 978-0-88448-125-6
An eccentric, enigmatic scientist, poet and artist, Porter, now 82, gets thorough, respectful treatment in this authorized biography by his friend Schevill, a professor emeritus at Brown University. But this book fails to convince that the obscure Porter is, as Schevill writes, ""one of America's foremost artistic experimentalists""; most of the voluminous personal detail--Porter's marriage, his travels--should interest only those who are already believers. Some material is intriguing, such as Porter's friendship with Henry Miller; his work on the Manhattan Project, which he quit the day after the bombing of Hiroshima; and his establishment of the Institute of Advanced Thinking in his Maine house. Also, there is evidence of Porter's creative linking of science and art, as in his 1954 ""Sciart Manifesto,"" which foreshadowed some experimental art of 30 years later. Schevill catalogs Porter's ""Founds""--collages of found objects--which he suggests form a ""special kind of mirror"" of our changing society. Simultaneous with the publication of this biography, Tilbury House is publishing Sounds That Arouse Me: Selected Writings by Bern Porter, edited by Mark Melnicove ($9.95 *
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Genre: Nonfiction
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