Preserve or Destroy a Picasso? Cards Against Humanity Lets You Decide

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.

[h/t Gizmodo]

John MacDougall, Getty Images
Stolpersteine: One Artist's International Memorial to the Holocaust
John MacDougall, Getty Images
John MacDougall, Getty Images

The most startling memorial to victims of the Holocaust may also be the easiest to miss. Embedded in the sidewalks of more than 20 countries, more than 60,000 Stolpersteine—German for “stumbling stones”—mark the spots where victims last resided before they were forced to leave their homes. The modest, nearly 4-by-4-inch brass blocks, each the size of a single cobblestone, are planted outside the doorways of row houses, bakeries, and coffee houses. Each tells a simple yet chilling story: A person lived here. This is what happened to them.

Here lived Hugo Lippers
Born 1878
Arrested 11/9/1938 — Altstrelitzer prison
Deported 1942 Auschwitz

The project is the brainchild of the German artist Gunter Demnig, who first had the idea in the early 1990s as he studied the Nazis' deportation of Sinti and Roma people. His first installations were guerrilla artwork: According to Reuters, Demnig laid his first 41 blocks in Berlin without official approval. The city, however, soon endorsed the idea and granted him permission to install more. Today, Berlin has more than 5000.

Demnig lays a Stolpersteine.
Artist Gunter Demnig lays a Stolpersteine outside a residence in Hamburg, Germany in 2012.
Patrick Lux, Getty Images

The Stolpersteine are unique in their individuality. Too often, the millions of Holocaust victims are spoken of as a nameless mass. And while the powerful memorials and museums in places such as Berlin and Washington, D.C. are an antidote to that, the Stolpersteine are special—they are decentralized, integrated into everyday life. You can walk down a sidewalk, look down, and suddenly find yourself standing where a person's life changed. History becomes unavoidably present.

That's because, unlike gravestones, the stumbling stones mark an important date between a person’s birth and death: the day that person was forced to abandon his or her home. As a result, not every stumbling stone is dedicated to a person who was murdered. Some plaques commemorate people who fled Europe and survived. Others honor people who were deported but managed to escape. The plaques aim to memorialize the moment a person’s life was irrevocably changed—no matter how it ended.

The ordinariness of the surrounding landscape—a buzzing cafe, a quaint bookstore, a tree-lined street—only heightens that effect. As David Crew writes for Not Even Past, “[Demnig] thought the stones would encourage ordinary citizens to realize that Nazi persecution and terror had begun on their very doorsteps."

A man in a shop holding a hammer making a Stolpersteine.
Artisan Michael Friedrichs-Friedlaender hammers inscriptions into the brass plaques at the Stolpersteine manufacturing studio in Berlin.
Sean Gallup, Getty Images

While Demnig installs every single Stolpersteine himself, he does not work alone. His project, which stretches from Germany to Brazil, relies on the research of hundreds of outside volunteers. Their efforts have not only helped Demnig create a striking memorial, but have also helped historians better document the lives of individuals who will never be forgotten.

Evening Standard/Stringer, Getty Images
60 Years Later, a Lost Stanley Kubrick Script Has Been Found
Evening Standard/Stringer, Getty Images
Evening Standard/Stringer, Getty Images

A “lost” screenplay co-written by famed filmmaker Stanley Kubrick has been found after 60 years, Vulture reports.

The screenplay is an adaptation of Stefan Zweig’s novella Burning Secret, which Vulture describes as a reverse Lolita (plot summary for those who forgot high school English class: a man enters a relationship with a woman because of his obsession with her 12-year-old daughter). In Burning Secret, a man befriends an adolescent boy in order to seduce his mother. Zweig’s other works have inspired films like Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel (which the director claims he "stole" from Zweig's novels Beware of Pity and The Post-Office Girl).

Kubrick’s screenplay adaptation is co-written by novelist Calder Willingham and dated October 24, 1956. Although the screenplay bears a stamp from MGM’s screenwriting department, Nathan Abrams—the Bangor University professor who discovered the script—thinks it’s likely the studio found it too risqué for mass audiences.

“The child acts as an unwitting go-between for his mother and her would-be lover, making for a disturbing story with sexuality and child abuse churning beneath its surface,” Abrams told The Guardian. It's worth noting, however, that Kubrick directed an adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita in 1962, which MGM distributed, and it was also met with a fair share of controversy.

Abrams said the screenplay for Burning Secret is complete enough that it could be created by filmmakers today. He noted that the discovery is particularly exciting because it confirms speculations Kubrick scholars have had for decades.

“Kubrick aficionados knew he wanted to do it, [but] no one ever thought it was completed,” Abrams told The Guardian.

The Guardian reports that Abrams found the screenplay while researching his book Eyes Wide Shut: Stanley Kubrick and the Making of His Final Film. The screenplay is owned by the family of one of Kubrick’s colleagues.

[h/t Vulture]


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