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Hovering potentially between generosity and insult, seduction and trap, homage and defiance, the gift is a gesture with which relations are established and desires intertwined. In a world in which personal interactions are more and more sternly regulated, in which the symbolic value of things has been eroded, to reflect upon the work of art as a gift means to emphasize its ability to establish new types of relationships and encounters. Fifty artists, including Marina Abramovic, Vito Acconci, Louise Bourgeois, Clegg & Guttmann, Nan Goldin, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Cai Guo-Qiang, Mona Hatoum, Alfredo Jaar, Joseph Kosuth, Piero Manzoni, Ana Mendieta, Yoko Ono and Gabriel Orozco, have fashioned gifts of object and self, gifts of one's own body and of symbols, discreet and intrusive gifts, free handouts and exaggerated donations. In the spirit of giving, a bountiful range of philosophers, anthropologists, art critics and essayists offer their own musings on the idea of the gift.