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Breaking art rules? New patrons, art commissions and the old "règles de l´art" 
Judith Laister (University of Graz)
Anne Kersten (New Patrons Germany)
Alexander Koch (Gesellschaft der Neuen Auftraggeber - GNA gGmbH)
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Panel Roundtable
Monday 21 June, -
Time zone: Europe/Helsinki

Short Abstract:

Starting from the international movement of the "New Patrons", the panel examines the practice of commissioning art in various times, contexts and places: What happens when social and cultural encounters, collaboration and dialogue are established as dominant rules at the start of art-making?

Long Abstract:

Following Bourdieus "Les Règles de l´art", the modern concept of artistic creation is dominated by the idea of autonomy. Art, according to one ideal prevelant since the 19th century, is the result of free development rather than of orders and commissions. Bourdieu, in contrast, conceives art as a social field in which various actors engage in a combined, hierarchized practice, driven by rules which govern them - especially by social and cultural distinction.

Drawing on this discourse, the panel examines art commissions throughout history and societies. It starts from an organization which strives to break the rule of distinction in the arts and encourages encounters: "Les Nouveaux Commanditaires" (New Patrons, Neue Auftraggeber). Initiated in 1990 by French artist François Hers and supported by thinkers like Bruno Latour or Isabell Stengers, with the proclamation "Anyone can be a patron of art!", the "New Patrons' action allows anyone who wishes so, to take responsibility for the commissioning of an artwork." ( Under the slogan "reclaiming art, reshaping democracy", this organization has realized more than 500 projects in Europe and around the world.

Challenging disciplinary boundaries and cooperating with art institutions and artists in Helsinki, the panel - combined with a roundtable - invites contributors from different fields to discuss this movement in a critical way: What concepts and rules of art support or restrain it? How does it deal with the "neoliberal invasion" and its imperatives of participation, creativity and self-organization? What role did and does the commissioning of art play in various times, contexts and places?

Accepted contributions:

Session 1 Monday 21 June, 2021, -