Project Present by Stephen Truax

Project Present, 2010, is a contemporary art trading game intended to highlight the purest transaction in the art world: the Artist Trade.  While in the context of the highly consumer- and career-driven environment of the Miami art fairs, artists still have the ultimate way of hedging their bets and maintaining sincerity.  Each participating artist will arrive with a gift-wrapped artwork that they intend to trade during the game.  Non-artists (or unprepared artists) may also buy their way into the game for $100, which will be treated as a gift for the duration of the game.  Each participating person puts their name into a hat; the first person draws a name and gives their gift to that person, starting a chain-reaction of gift giving.  The game is over when everyone has given their gift away.  Everyone has the opportunity to steal works of art when their turn comes up before they unwrap the gift they were given; each steal becomes progressively more expensive each time an individual artwork is stolen (first steal is free, second is $20, third is $200.)  How we assign value to works of art, both personally and financially, will become clear by the end of the game.  Does this game sound familiar to you?  Project Present’s close relationship with Secret Santa games is not unintentional.  Lets not forget what the December art fairs are all about: holiday gifts!

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