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A Danish artist turned in two blank canvases—which he titled “Take the Money and Run”—after a museum commissioned him $84,000 to use in a work of art.
Jens Haaning gave the works to the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, Denmark after he was paid to recreate 2010’s “An Average Danish Annual Income” and “An Average Austrian Annual Income,” which was first shown in 2007. Both works used actual money to highlight said incomes, but instead of using the money in his art, Haaning did the opposite.
Museum director Lasse Andersson also told CBS News that the artist was given bank notes to use, and that he would receive 6,000 euros to update the work if needed. The art was set to be featured in an exhibition called “Work it Out.”
“We also have a contract that the money $84,000 US dollars to be displayed in the work is not Jens’ and that it must be paid back when the exhibition closes on 16 January 2022,” Andersson said.
Andersson added that “Jens is known for his conceptual and activistic art with a humoristic touch” and that “he hasn’t broke any contract yet as the initial contract says we will have the money back on January 16, 2022.”
“[It was] also a bit of a wake up call as everyone know wonders were did the money go,” he said.
A press release from Haaning that was obtained by CBS News stated that the pieces “show how salaries can be used to measure the value of work and to show national differences within the European Union.” It continued, “But by changing the title of the work to ‘Take the Money and Run’ Haaning “questions artists’ rights and their working conditions in order to establish more equitable norms within the art industry.”