BenjaminPatterson

Biography

Benjamin Patterson (1934 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA – 2016 Wiesbaden, Germany) was an American musician, composer, performance and visual artist, and co-founder of Fluxus. After a brief career as a double bass player with symphony orchestras in Canada, and having been rejected by American elitism, he moved to Cologne in 1960, introduced by Karlheinz Stockhausen. While distancing himself from Stockhausen’s virtuosic position and seeking a radical way of making music, Patterson met John Cage after a concert at Mary Bauermeister’s atelier, through which he also met George Maciunas, helping him organize the Festival für Neueste Musik in Wiesbaden in 1962. Works such as Paper Piece (1960) and Double-Bass Variations (1962), presented at the festival, expressed Patterson’s dissonance and anti-authoritarian approach central to Fluxus. Returning to the United States in 1963, Patterson participated in numerous Fluxus events including the acclaimed Yam Festival, organized together with George Brecht, Robert Watts, and Dick Higgins. Patterson performed and exhibited internationally in galleries and prominent venues such as the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid (2001), the Nassauischer Kunstverein in Wiesbaden (2012, 2016), documenta 14 (2017), the Getty Centre in Los Angeles (2021), and at SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin (2022).

Artworks (36)