Ben Patterson: In the State of Fluxus
Performing and visual artist Ben Patterson (born 1934) was a founding member of Fluxus’ participatory, do-it-yourself, anticommercialist avant-garde network. While many Fluxus artists, influenced by John Cage’s precedent, employed conceptual techniques borrowed from music (e.g., the event score), Patterson’s fusion of art and music was informed by his background as a classically trained double-bassist. His “Variations for Double Bass” (1960), for example, was played with the titular instrument balanced upside down on its scroll. Published for a retrospective at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, this volume includes an anthology of Patterson’s scores, edited by Fluxus scholar Jon Hendricks; a chronology of the artist’s life and work; a CD compilation of his musical performances from 1961 to 2009, produced by Alga Marghen; and essays by a variety of scholars, assessing the career of one of Fluxus’ foremost and wittiest artists.