“I want you to have this” by Steve Lambert is The Present Group’s 17th edition.  It is an edition of 80 birch boxes and 4 cardstock hang-tags silk-screened with the text “I want you to have this”

Sometimes it’s the simple gestures toward a better world that stick with us most.   Steve Lambert – an artist whose work scales from a one-on-one conversation up to teams of volunteers distributing hundreds of thousands of newspapers – aims to get people to envision the way things could be.

“I want you to have this” is one such gesture.  Simply expressed, it’s a tool to facilitate giving.  Place it on your coffee table as a constant reminder that maybe you don’t need all the things you own, and that instead of throwing away that pair of earrings Grandma thought were so perfect for you, you might pass them on to a friend who would appreciate them in a way you never could.

Though “I want you to have this” is, in a sense, a prescription for an overly consumptive world, it also goes beyond simply helping you purge.  In Steve’s hypothetical world, items as mundane as a bottle of shampoo or an unused notebook are imbued with new meaning.  These objects no longer appear from nowhere and disappear when your fancy fades.  Now your stuff stays “in the family”, and your shampoo isn’t just “shampoo”, it’s “the shampoo that my coworker’s wife thought smelled weird.”  In this world, the marketers’ impassioned narratives and scientific explications are no longer necessary because we’re already connected to our things.  After all, I know who wanted me to have this.

Steve Lambert believes art is a bridge that connects uncommon, idealistic, or even radical ideas with everyday life.  Steve’s projects and art works have won awards from Prix Ars Electronica, Rhizome/The New Museum, the Creative Work Fund, Adbusters Media Foundation, the California Arts Council, and others. His work has been shown at various galleries, art spaces, and museums both nationally and internationally.