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Ben Patterson

Ben Patterson

area: Media Art

© Ben Patterson

Key Facts




Media Art



recommending institution

Transforming Freedom

time period

January 2012 - January 2012

Ben Patterson was born in Pittsburgh, USA in 1934. He first studied piano with his mother and violin with his father. At the University of Michigan, he studied double-bass, composition and conducting, and held positions as first double-bass and assistant conductor with several symphony orchestras in Canada, USA and Germany. In 1960, during a visit to Cologne, he met John Cage.


Patterson says that this first meeting was the most important encounter of his life, that overnight he was converted and freed to consider new and radical concepts for making art. Two years later at Wiesbaden, he was critically involved in the beginnings of the FLUXUS movement. For the next several years, he made important contributions to FLUXUS. Around 1968, he dropped out of the arts scene, only to return 20 years later.


Since 1988 he has been exhibiting and performing throughout the world, including New Zealand, Finland, Namibia, Brazil, Japan, and Bulgaria. In 2004 he celebrated his 70th birthday by making a 7-week tour of performances via the Trans-Siberian Railroad from Moscow through Jekaterinburg, Novosibrsk, Irkutsk, Ulan Baatar, Peking, Shanghai, Osaka, Kobe, and Tokyo.


Ben Patterson’s first "grand retrospective", was presented at the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, Texas in the fall of 2010 and an abbreviated version at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York in 2011.


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