An art to "use value": The New Patrons of the Fondation de France
Sociology Lille 3 University and EHESS Paris PARIS, FRANCE
Since the 1990s, French public policy and/or private contributions are intended to broaden the scope of the arts and increase the benefits to society through a commitment to "democratization of culture": an enrichment of the offer and open to practices that were not previously recognized as part of Fine Arts (dance urban design, architecture, landscape, cooking ...). In this period the Fondation de France proposes to reconsider the "use value" of art. The action program of the New Patrons, designed by the artist François Hers, allows citizens facing social or developmental issues in a locality to get contemporary artists involved in their preoccupations through commissioning a work of art. Its originality is based on a combination between three main players: the artist, the citizen as patron, and the cultural mediator, acting together with the public and private partners involved in the project. Up to the present time more than 200 commissions for works from every artistic discipline have come to fruition or are being implemented in France, in all parts of the country, under the New Patrons scheme. Other projects are being developed in Italy, Belgium and various European countries.
Mobilizing case studies, we question the issues and tensions related to the implementation of this program. How the New patrons shape the relationships between society, its artists and their works in a contemporary way to create a new art scène ? By systematically putting demand ahead of offer, the role of the player ahead of that of the spectator, how this New Patrons initiative can takes a new look at the usual procedures followed in the case of private or public interventions in the field of contemporary art ? Taking this as a privileged object of study of the redefinition of relations between art, society and territory, the challenge of this communication is to consider three levels of consequences: the change of scale of artistic creation, the interactions among the art and society, the emergence of new actors in the production and promotion of the arts.