Born in 1934 in Pittsburgh, Ben Patterson was a musician, composer, and artist, as well as a founding member of the international art movement Fluxus. He died on June 25, 2016, in Wiesbaden, Germany.
In 1956, Patterson graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a degree in music. But due to racial discrimination, he could not find work in the United States. This led him to start playing with Canadian orchestras, such as the Ottawa Philharmonic Orchestra and the Halifax Symphony Orchestra.
In 1960, Patterson moved to Cologne, Germany, where he became active in the radical contemporary music scene. By then, he co-founded the experimental Fluxus movement and performed with – among others – John Cage, LaMonte Young, and George Maciunas.
For more than 17 years until 1987, he remained outside the art world. In 1992, he returned to Germany to establish a headquarters for his work and travel, precisely in his adopted hometown Wiesbaden. Patterson’s work has been featured in many recent Fluxus exhibitions and performances throughout Europe, Russia, Asia, Africa and the Americas. For instance, in 1996, he inaugurated the Public Entrance to his Museum of the Subconscious at Mt. 13th Month in Namibia, Africa.