Benjamin Patterson

* 1934 in Pittsburgh, USA
lives in Wiesbaden

Ben Patterson’s installation “Why People Attend Bars: To Be Seen, To Be Heard, To Be There” is on permanent display since 2007. As one of the main protagonists, Ben Patterson was actively involved in the festival “Fluxus Festspiele Neuester Musik” in 1962 in the neighboring Museum Wiesbaden and has lived in Wiesbaden for more than 25 years. His lifelong commitment against secrecation and to Fluxus has led to numerous experimental performances, music pieces, installations and art objects, happenings and actions. The installation was originally made in 1990 for a group exhibition in Soho. The artist found most of the objects he reworked for the show in the various stores of New York’s Canal Street. Only the wood used for the counter and the upper wall edge has its own story to tell, which begins with a dried up walnut tree that had fallen over on the Pennsylvania estate of his friend and fellow artist Bob Watts.

In the compilation of the various symbol-rich elements Patterson coded the results of his research regarding causes of (military) conflicts. The bar is specifically a response to the background that led to the escalation of the Iraq War. Although the question of why people visit bars was initiated in his personal background at this time, his thoughts become universal by referring to the famous wisdom of the three monkeys of Kyoto: “see no evil, hear no evil and talk no evil”.

Together with Bernhard Schreiner his bar for the issue of this show has been subject to a further transformation, the black piano (since 2012) has been replaced by a toy piano.

Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden

Ben's Bar. Why People Attend Bars: To Be Heard, To Be Seen, To Be There, 1990/2007
Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden