Photo: Rainer Schmidt, 2000

Benjamin Patterson

*1934 Pittsburgh, †2016 Wiesbaden

After his music studies at the University of Michigan and due to the racial exclusion policies of US symphony orchestras, Ben Patterson goes to Canada, where he works as first double bass from 1956, first in the Halifax Symphony Orchestra, then in the Ottawa Philharmonic Orchestra. As an assistant conductor, he also works with electronic music, creates the "Tape Piece" with pure tone loops as a 26-year-old, meets John Cage in Cologne, performs "Antikonzerte" – his own aleatory pieces (eg "Paper Piece"), as well as the sound piece “Pond”, with toy frogs. In 1962 Patterson takes part in the "International Festival of New Music" in Wiesbaden, where George Maciunas establishes the term "Fluxus". After subsequent Fluxus concerts in Cologne, Vienna, Venice, Paris and Copenhagen, he goes to Paris, where he publishes the book “Methods and Process” and publishes Puzzle poems in the Galerie Légitime with Robert Filliou. From 1963, Patterson works as a music librarian in New York, as an orchestral manager and in cultural organisations at the beginning of the 1970s. In 1982 and 1983 he takes part in the São Paulo Biennale. In 1988, he receives his first solo exhibition "An Ordinary Life" with new assemblages and installations at New York's Emily Harvey Gallery. In 1989 he settles as a "full-time artist" in Wiesbaden. With his ironic and idiosyncratic works and lectures on politics and society, he is invited as a Fluxus co-founder at Fluxus festivals and group exhibitions all over the world.