After producing blank canvasses with the title “Take the Money and Run,” a Danish museum has asked an artist to return the $83,000 he was given in cash to recreate old artworks using banknotes.
The Danish artist Jens Haaning was commissioned by the Kunsten Museum. He was asked to reproduce two of his works that represented annual salaries in Denmark and Austria. However, the artist kept the money and created the blank canvasses.
According to the BBC, the museum’s reaction has been mixed so far. According to media reports, the museum is now considering whether to report Haaning to the police if he has not returned the cash by the end of the exhibition in January.
“He stirred up my curatorial staff and he also stirred me up a bit, but I also had a laugh because it was really humoristic,” Lasse Andersson, director of the museum in the city of Aalborg, told the BBC.
Andersson, on the other hand, made it clear that the money must be returned when the exhibition concludes.
“It’s the museum’s money and we have a contract saying that the money will be back on January 16,” he said.
Despite Haaning’s, 56, promise to keep the money.
“The work is that I have taken their money,” he told dr.dk, a Danish news website.
“I encourage other people who have just as miserable working conditions as me to do the same,” he said, adding that recreating his past works would have put him 25,000 kroner out of pocket.
But, according to Andersson, he refuted Haaning’s claim that the museum had not agreed to pay him fairly.
“We just signed up for an agreement with the Danish artists association that raises what artists are paid when they are exhibiting,” he said.
“I think Jens has kind of broken the bargain.”