New Patrons



Here you will find a compilation of selected books and publications from the network of Neue Auftraggeber.



The Seven Arts of Pritzwalk

2016, Clegg & Guttmann, Gerrit Gohlke
  • Year2016
  • AuthorClegg & Guttmann, Gerrit Gohlke
  • ISBN 978-3-89770-468-8
  • Editor Brandenburgischer Kunstverein Potsdam e.V.
  • Publisher Salon Verlag
  • Language german, english
  • Format 28 x 20,5 cm, 176 pages, color & b/w illustrations, soft cover

Reclaiming Art / Reshaping Democracy – The New Patrons & Participatory Art

2017, Estelle Zhong Mengual, Xavier Douroux
  • Year2017
  • AuthorEstelle Zhong Mengual, Xavier Douroux
  • ISBN 978-2-84066-720-9
  • Designer Émilie Fourny
  • Herausgeber Les presses du réel
  • Sprache english
  • Format 15 x 24 cm (hardcover), 432 Seiten, farbige Abbildungen

A school and cultural center shaped like a crayfish: this is no hallucination but a commission by the Houma native tribe from Louisiana, soon to be built by architect Rudy Ricciotti under the New Patrons' Protocol.
Created by artist François Hers, this protocol offers everyone the means to commission a work of art, turning a privilege of the few into an opportunity for all. Being a patron acquires a new significance: it is not about financing the making of a work of art, but about stating its raison d'être. This protocol has led to the creation of more than 300 artworks in France, Italy, Belgium, Germany and elsewhere, by renowned artists such as Christopher Wool, Liam Gillick or Camille Henrot.

This book brings together the New Patrons and its American cousins: participatory and socially-engaged art. Through articles by preeminent European and Anglo-Saxon thinkers and curators, it explores the artistic and political issues raised by these contemporary practices. It reveals their common aspirations of inventing new ways for art to play a social role, to produce effects, to be part of people's lives—and puts to the test the belief that art can change life.

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Letter to a Friend About the New Patrons

2016, François Hers
  • Year2016
  • AuthorFrançois Hers
  • ISBN 978-2-84066-905-0
  • Publisher Les presses du réel
  • Language english
  • Translation from the French by Emmelene Landon.
  • Format 14 x 19 cm (softcover), 56 pages

Reflecting upon the necessary conditions for the development of the New Patrons Protocol, the French conceptual artist François Hers calls for a better involvement of museums as well as for an art history that would relate creative processes with political conditions.

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Art without Capitalism (The New Patrons)

2013, François Hers, Xavier Douroux
  • Year2013
  • AuthorFrançois Hers, Xavier Douroux

A new model of action to invent new modes of art production and exchange by establishing a direct dialogue between the artist, the citizen-commissioner and the cultural mediator, outside the museum and apart from the art market.

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Essays & Articles

ARCH+ features 104: Initiator of Change: New Patrons

2021, Jane Rendell
  • Year2021
  • AuthorJane Rendell

How To: What Does It Take to Make a Thing to Make a Relationship? is the question raised by architectural historian and cultural critic Jane Rendell in the new ARCH+ features. With her critical essay, Rendell turns her attention to the groundbreaking New Patrons model, initiated by France-based artist François Hers in 1990 that challenges conventional forms of art patronage (through private individuals, corporations, states, or churches) by democratizing the commissioning of public art and handing this process over to citizens. Accompanying Rendell’s essay, ARCH+ compiled a diverse selection of some of the most compelling projects realized within the New Patrons framework, including a washhouse, a pigeon loft, a multifaith space, a school, and an experimental housing community, to name a few.


Do You Want a Future? A Protocol for New Cultural Commons

2020, Alexander Koch,
  • Year2020
  • AuthorAlexander Koch,

Contribution to the publication
Navigating the Planetary. A guide to the planetary art world—its past, present, and potentials

Editors: Hildegund Amanshauser, Kimberly Bradley for Salzburg International Summer Academy of Fine Arts

Verlag für Moderne Kunst, Vienna

With contributions by Rahel Aima, Hildegund Amanshauser, Kader Attia, Stephanie Bailey, Sammy Baloji, Kimberly Bradley, Sabine Breitwieser, Tania Bruguera, Roger M. Buergel, Clémentine Deliss, Rosalyn D’Mello, Charles Esche, Olamiju Fajemisin, Marina Fokidis, Alexander Koch, Christian Kravagna, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Peter Osborne, Fernando Resende, Mohammad Salemy, Shuddhabrata Sengupta with the Raqs Media Collective, Nina Siegal, Chloe Stead, Sanjukta Sunderason, Kate Sutton, Simone Wille

English, Paperback, approx. 400 pages, 19.5 x 12.5 cm, 100 ills. in color and b/w

ISBN: 978-3-903320-67-3


February 14, 2020, Berlin

Today we all know that we are in urgent need of viable and strong solutions for planetary problems. But then it always sounds a bit dubious when someone claims to have a truly good solution to a planetary problem. You’re quickly sus- pected of being pretentious or, more likely, of being a pop- ulist. So this morning I was delighted to read an interview with Judith Butler in The New Yorker in which she said,

“Sometimes you have to imagine in a radical way that makes you seem a little crazy, that puts you in an embarrassing light, in order to open up a possibility that others have already closed down with their knowing realism. I’m pre- pared to be mocked and dismissed.”

So here we go—I’m certainly going to look a bit ridiculous when I say that I can think of at least one good idea for planetary problems. It isn’t my idea, but it’s a good one.

– Alexander Koch –

PDF in English
PDF in German

Die Gestaltung der Nähe. Kulturwandel und Konfliktarbeit im Bürgerauftrag

2020, Alexander Koch,
  • Year2020
  • AuthorAlexander Koch,

Contribution to:
Jahrbuch für Kulturpolitik 2019/20
Kultur. Macht. Heimaten. Heimat als kulturpolitische Herausforderung
Editors: Ulrike Blumenreich, Sabine Dengel, Norbert Sievers, Christine Wingert
8. October 2020, approx. 512 pages
Bielefeld: transcript
ISBN: 978-3-8376-4491-3

With kind permission of the Institute for Cultural Politics of Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft e. V. and of transcript Verlag

Download PDF
Download PDF

In Every Project Dwells at Least One Citizen

2020, Alexander Koch,
  • Year2020
  • AuthorAlexander Koch,

Who gets to determine what artworks are displayed locally? What should they show? Who should they represent? As Alexander Koch explains in the magazine of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the New Patrons programme addresses fundamental issues that highlight the tension between civic participation and artistic representation.

Read online version

German Federal Cultural Foundation Magazine #34
German Federal Cultural Foundation Magazine #34

Field Notes – No Art Without a Purpose

2019, Dominikus Müller
  • Year2019
  • AuthorDominikus Müller

Issue #59 of Spike Art Magazine looks at the non-heroic ways of doing things differently that can open our minds and make the world better. With an excellent text by Dominikus Müller about Neue Auftraggeber. Thanks to Spike for allowing us to publish this text online.

#59 Spike Art Magazine
#59 Spike Art Magazine

Ihr Auftrag bitte! (In German)

2018, Tobias Asmuth
  • Year2018
  • AuthorTobias Asmuth

The general idea of Neue Auftraggeber is that ordinary citizens can commission art from internationally renowned artists for their living environment and are supported by experienced mediators. The programme is based on the Les Nouveaux Commanditaires programme founded in France by François Hers in 1990, which has since been very successful in several countries. Tobias Asmuth presents an exemplary project in a small village in France, which has brought the place – and the programme – the greatest public attention.


Unsere Stadt soll schöner werden

2017, Georg Imdahl
  • Year2017
  • AuthorGeorg Imdahl

The association "Neue Auftraggeber" (New Patrons) puts the creation of art from the head to the feet: citizens decide what they need, and famous artists deliver. Article by Georg Imdahl in Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Read article (in German)

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