A Danish Man Was Commissioned By A Museum To Create Art And Paid Him $84,000 But Instead He Sent Them Two Blank Canvases And Called The Piece ‘Take The Money And Run’

Danish artist Jens Haaning is best known for his creative critique of structures of power in the West. His work is known for necessitating “a debate around secularisation, including migration, displacement, gender equality, nationalism and freedom of expression.”

His most recent masterpiece, titled “Take The Money And Run” received via mail by the confused Danish Kunsten Museum of Modern art in Aalborg, Denmark, in the form of two blank canvases, was not welcomed.

This art piece came with a price tag of the U.S equivalent of $84,000.

“The work is that I have taken the money and ran,” Haaning stated plainly. He goes on to further elaborate that “it is a breach of contract, and a breach of contract is part of the work.”

The works were intended to incorporate some of the banknote funds paid to by Haaning to recreate two pieces he made, “An Average Austrian Year Income”, 2007 and “An Average Danish Year Income” 2010 in order to compare the incomes of an Austrian to a Dane. They were meant to “show pay as an instrument to measure the value of work.”

The museum requests that Haaning must return the money but still displayed the blank canvases in the museum. It is still uncertain whether the museum can claim a breach of contract after displaying the two pieces.

On the Danish radio station P1 Morgen, Haaning said that he had “rejected the idea of reproducing art that was more than a decade old” and created a piece that dealt “immediately with his own work situation”.

Haaning said that he encourages others who have “just as miserable working conditions to do the same.” He explained that he rejected the idea that he had to pay roughly $2,900 to recreate his artwork. For him, he says, it’s a provocation.

“I encourage other people who have just as miserable working conditions as me to do the same. If they are sitting on some sh*t job and not getting money and are actually being asked to give money to go to work then take the money and [run] off.”

Come January, the Kunsten Museum has requested that Haaning return the full amount, and is not pressing charges until then.

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