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Accepted Contribution:

commissioned art - recent history and current positions  


Brita Polzer

Contribution short abstract:

The two republics of Germany, divided after World War II, developed contrary attitudes towards commissioned art. In the BRD, Jochen Gerz and Klaus Staeck represented different positions. Until today's "return of commissioned art", this contribution illuminates changing facets of the model.

Contribution long abstract:

During the Cold War, commissioned art was regarded as something fundamentally contradictory to the free Western world, and the defeated and divided Germany was a suitable stage for making this glaringly clear. The so-called free art competed against commissioned art, abstraction against realism. With Jochen Gerz and Klaus Staeck, two positions emerged in West Germany, both of which dealt with the concept of the commission, albeit with different signs. Both aimed at the development of civic commitment, democratic maturity, enlightenment and responsibility. The one, however, was against mandates, the other for them. In "Without commission. Unterwegs in Sachen Kunst und Politik", published in 2000, Staeck emphasizes that artistic work and commissions are contradictory. For Jochen Gerz, on the other hand, clients are people who are involved, who let their voice be heard, people who basically act as every responsible citizen should. Commissioned art has many different facets and its return today could be seen as a symptom of a refeudalization. Commissions, however, that are not linked to personal possession but are awarded within the framework of local authorities or associations hold potential that still needs to be explored. This article deals with the recent history of and some current positions on commissioned art.

Panel Perf04
Breaking art rules? New patrons, art commissions and the old "règles de l´art"