Programs and Tours
Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life
Helmut Stern Auditorium
UMMA cordially invites you to join Fluxus originator Ben Patterson, UM History of Art professor David T. Doris, and an all-star cast of well-heeled miscreants for a Pleasant, Smoke-Free Evening of Mostly Inoffensive Fluxus Entertainments. In the elegant atmosphere of UMMA's Helmut Stern Auditorium, witness and participate in an astonishing array of activities, including: counting, dripping, throwing, drawing straight lines (and following them), describing objects, cutting paper, opening umbrellas, and turning lights on and off. Suggested attire: formal evening wear; cocktail dresses for ladies, jackets and ties for gentlemen.
Ben Patterson, born 1934 in Pittsburgh, is a musician, artist, and one of the founders of the Fluxus movement. Patterson received his Bachelor of Music in 1956 from the University of Michigan and went on to perform as a double bassist with a variety of international orchestras. In 1960 he moved to Cologne, Germany, where he became active in the more radical contemporary music scene focused at the studio of Mary Bauermeister and "Contra Festival." It was during this festival that he met John Cage, a meeting which Patterson says "changed my life forever!" In 1961 he moved to Paris, where he collaborated with Robert Filliou and Daniel Sporrie on several projects, including a "Fluxus sneak-preview" at Gallerie Giardon in July 1962. Patterson was an organizer and participant in the first Fluxus Festival in Wiesbaden, Germany, in 1962. In 1963, Patterson received his masters degree from Columbia University. Patterson has performed or has had his works exhibited in more than 500 venues around the world. Currently he is occupied assisting several European museums, including the Museum Wiesbaden, in planning and developing activities and events celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Fluxus. Patterson claims that he made his first Fluxus performance in 1955 at the Michigan/Ohio State football game, when he led the tuba section of the marching band to the wrong side of the field during the final "script mich" formation of the half-time show. He says, "After you have had 100,000 people laugh you off the field, you are ready for anything."
UM's David Doris speaks about the Fluxus String and Water Compendium in this video.
The exhibition Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life was organized by the Hood Museum of Art and was generously supported by Constance and Walter Burke, Dartmouth College Class of 1944, the Marie-Louise and Samuel R. Rosenthal Fund, and the Ray Winfield Smith 1918 Fund. UMMA’s installation is made possible in part by the University of Michigan Health System, the University of Michigan Office of the Provost, Arts at Michigan, and the CEW Frances and Sydney Lewis Visiting Leaders Fund.
categories: Artists and Curators, Artmaking, Exhibitions Related Program, Special Events