A Danish contemporary artist working in Copenhagen has been ordered by a court to repay the funds he took from Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, Denmark, after he sent two empty canvases to the museum instead of the actual art that they had commissioned.
When asked about it, Jens Haaning responded by saying that he named his project ‘Take the Money and Run’ and that is what the empty canvases were meant to depict.
Earlier, Kunsten Museum of Modern Art had given Haaning a loan to recreate two of his artworks, ‘An Average Austrian Year Income’ (2007) and ‘An Average Danish Annual Income’ (2010), which he had produced previously using the actual Euro & Danish kroner currencies. The museum also transferred 532,549 kroner (BD28,900) to the artist to embed on the canvases, according to the contract, which also mentioned that he would be returning the money to Kunsten once the exhibition ended.
But a few days before the exhibition, Haaning informed Kunsten that he would be sharing his new artwork “Take the Money and Run’ with them instead of the ones they wanted him to recreate.
When Kunsten staff unboxed the package, they were surprised to find two empty canvases instead of the artwork they had ordered.
Despite the incident, Kunsten Museum decided to display Haaning’s empty canvases in the exhibition along with the works of other talented artists while also expecting him to return the funds back, to which he refused and ended up breaching the contract.
Since Haaning’s empty canvases were still a part of the exhibition, he has been permitted by the court to keep some cash for himself.