CFP: Breaking art rules? New patrons, art commissions and the old “règles de l’art” (Session at the 15th SIEF Congress, online, 21-24 Jun 2021)

Call for papers:
Breaking art rules? New patrons, art commissions and the old “règles de l’art” (Session at the 15th SIEF Congress, online, 21-24 June 21)

Convenors: Judith Laister, Anne Kersten, Alexander Koch
Deadline: 26 November 2020

Starting from the international movement of the “New Patrons”, the panel examines the practice of art commissions in various times, contexts and places: What happens when social and cultural encounter, collaboration and dialogue are proclaimed 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, thus one ideal 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 where different actors are engaged 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 after breaking the art rule of distinction 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”, they 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 contributions from different fields to discuss this movement in a critical way: What concepts and rules of art do support or restrict 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?

Please submit a title and abstract of your proposed paper (fewer than 250 words) by 26 November 2020:

Further information:
Ass. Prof. Dr. Judith LaisterInstitut für Kulturanthropologie und Europäische Ethnologie
Universität GrazAttemsgasse 25/I, 8010 Graz+43.316.380.2586