For most people, exchanging presents is a regular part of the holiday season. But Cards Against Humanity—the self-described “party game for horrible people”—has a different idea of what gift-giving means.
The Chicago-based company uses the holidays as an excuse to generate interesting promotions. Last year on Black Friday, they sold 30,000 boxes of cow poop for $6 a box and donated the proceeds to Heifer International, a nonprofit organization that provides developing communities with livestock. This year, they asked customers to donate $5 to receive nothing for Black Friday. They ended up accumulating $71,145 “worth of nothing,” which team members then donated to their favorite charities.
This year, Cards Against Humanity instituted the Eight Sensible Gifts for Hanukkah, in which 150,000 people signed up for—and paid $15 to receive—a different gift every day for eight days. So far signees have received three pairs of socks, a year-long membership to Chicago’s NPR station, contributed to paid vacation for employees of the Chinese factory that prints the game’s cards (CAH paid the factory to produce nothing for a whole week, while employees used the time to engage in leisure activities like fishing), and soon signees will decide the destiny of Tête de Faune, a 1962 Picasso linocut.
The signed artwork is just one of 50 made by Picasso and was reportedly purchased from a Swiss auction house in June for $14,100. On December 26, Cards Against Humanity launched what they deemed "a social experiment" by opening a poll on their website asking signees to vote on whether the company should donate the print to the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, or laser-cut it into 150,000 cards, to be shipped out as one of the Eight Sensible Gifts. (In order to vote, you must have purchased the Eight Sensible Gifts, and it’s too late to sign up now.)
Basically, the stunt boils down to consumers deciding whether they want to own their very own (tiny) slice of a Picasso print, or put it on display so that the whole world can see this half-human, half-goat masterpiece. “Cutting up Tête de Faune would be more akin to an act of malicious mischief,” wrote Artnet, “like punching a Claude Monet or destroying a Dale Chihuly.”
The artwork’s fate will be decided on December 31, when the polls close and we find out whether Cards Against Humanity fans have the heart to send Picasso to the chipper.