Would you rather help donate an original Picasso to a museum, or keep a 1.5-square-milimeter scrap of it for yourself? That’s the decision Cards Against Humanity, the self-described “party game for horrible people,” is asking 150,000 people to make, by way of an online vote.
The gimmick is part of Eight Sensible Gifts for Hanukkah, the company’s seasonal promotion that sends subscribers eight mystery gifts throughout December in exchange for a $15 sign-up fee. With the money it has amassed from 150,000 participants, Cards Against Humanity has bought a whole bunch of socks, one-year WBEZ memberships, a week’s paid vacation for employees at its company’s China-based printer, and, apparently, a 1962 Pablo Picasso linocut titled “Tête de Faune.” Depending on how the crowd votes, Cards Against Humanity will either gift the work to the Art Institute of Chicago or cut it into teeny squares with a laser and send each off (unframed, presumably) to the 150,000 backers, whether or not they voted in favor of the surgery.
The company made the announcement by sending out 150,000 cards notifying recipients that they “are all going to be part of a social experiment.” The online polls to determine the fate of the work open December 26 and close on December 31.
One work of an edition of 50, “Tête de Faune” reportedly sold for about $14,100 at a Swiss auction house in June. If it does indeed get sliced up, the resulting squares would be absurdly small; on the other hand, depending on how Cards Against Humanity plans to donate the work, having a plaque next to it in the museum that notes its peculiar provenance would be pretty unique and neat. The Art Institute of Chicago, for its part, has remained quiet on the matter.
This isn’t the first time the card game company has organized such a stunt. Last year, for its Kwanzaa campaign, it purchased an entire island in Maine and gave each of its then-250,000 participants a whopping one square foot of land on it — a gift probably much harder to misplace than a sliver of a Picasso.