Artist turns in blank canvases after being given $84,000 for museum art 7 months ago

Artist turns in blank canvases after being given $84,000 for museum art

He called the piece 'Take The Money And Run.'

An artist in Denmark delivered two blank canvases to a museum after it had lent him £84,000 to use within his work.


Jens Haaning was meant to recreate two of his pieces from 2010 for the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art, which depicted the average income of Austrian and Denmark residents (€25,000 and €32,500 respectively).

The museum's director Lasse Andersson  told CBC News that Haaning was given the money for use in the art itself, along with an additional amount for personal compensation. The pieces were meant to feature in an exhibition called 'Work It Out' which will feature works of art by a number of contemporary artists

Anderson said: "We also have a contract [saying] that the $84,000 to be displayed in the work is not Jens’ and that it must be paid back when the exhibition closes on 16 January 2022."


He added that Haaning is "known for his conceptual and activistic art with a humouristic touch," and that the artist hadn't actually broken any contract yet as "the initial contract says we will have the money back on 16 January 2022."

Haaning had apparently suggested the job would be "fairly easy," but when the time came for him to deliver the work, the museum got a shock.


"The curator received an email in which Jens Haaning wrote that he had made a new piece of art work and changed the work title into 'Take the Money and Run,'" Andersson said. "Subsequently, we could ascertain that the money had not been put into the work."

A press release for the art reads: "[The pieces] show how salaries can be used to measure the value of work and to show national differences within the European Union.

"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."

The museum is currently deciding whether or not to report Haaning to the police if he does not return the money by the end of January.


He has so far declined to return the cash to the Kunsten museum.

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