Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
2008.7
People
Ben Patterson, American (Pittsburg, Pa., USA 1934-2016 Wiesbaden, Germany)
Published by Clay Street Press, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio
Title
How To Be Happy: The Four Great Lessons
Classification
Prints
Work Type
portfolio
Date
1996
Culture
American
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/330892
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Portfolio of five screen prints
Technique
Screen print
Dimensions
each sheet: 71.12 x 50.8 cm (28 x 20 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: title page, lower right, in graphite: Ben Patterson 1996
  • inscription: title page, lower right, in graphite: Ben Patterson 1996
  • inscription: each sheet, lower left, in graphite: 16/35
  • chop: each sheet, lower right corner, compression: stamp of Clay Street Press, Cincinnati, Ohio
State, Edition, Standard Reference Number
Edition
16/35
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Margaret Fisher Fund
Copyright
© Ben Patterson / Carl Solway Gallery
Accession Year
2008
Object Number
2008.7
Division
Modern and Contemporary Art
Contact
am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Commentary
Following his training as classical musician, in 1960 Patterson moved to Europe where he became involved with the Fluxus movement. He collaborated with Robert Filliou and assisted George Maciunas with the organization of the historic 1962 Fluxus Festival in Wiesbaden. In 1963 Patterson moved to NYC where he continued to participate in Fluxus events until the late 1960s. In the following decades he pursued a successful career in arts administration. In the late 1980s Patterson emerged from "retirement" and began exhibiting new work.

This 1996 portfolio of five screen prints instructs the viewer in how to be happy, in "four great lessons":

1. Being in a bunch helps you feel loose and secure
2. Hold hands a lot and listen to the advice of your friends
3. Be kind to animals and be sensitive to your body's needs
4. Live every day as a performance, even if making a complete fool of yourself.

There is a title page followed by one sheet for each "lesson", with complimentary images appropriated from comic strips, clip art, and other sources along with abstract colored shapes reminiscent of torn/collaged paper printed in a variety of florescent colors. Each sheet also bears the wording "ha, ha, ha".
Related Works

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu