A Danish Museum had a grim experience last week when an artist took 84,000 $ from them and did not deliver what they expected. The museum paid him to recreate his artwork which involved real banknotes, but he did not do so. Instead, he handed in empty canvasses. The artist describes it as an original work of art.
The funny part of the entire incident is that the artist says that keeping the money they had lent him was the actual artwork. Jens Haaning had made two artworks that were to be replicated, an Average Danish Annual Income, which featured krone banknotes in a frame, and, An Average Austrian Annual Income. For the original works, Haaning had borrowed the money from banks, but this time the museum agreed to loan him the cash from its limited reserves. However, what the artist did is already known to the world now!
“The work is that I have taken their money,” Haaning told the Danish radio program, P1 Morgen, last week. “It’s not theft. It is a breach of contract, and breach of contract is part of the work.
“Of course, I will not pay it back,” the artist added. “The work is that I took the money, and I will not give it back.”
Only on opening the packages delivered by Jens Haaning, Lasse Andersen, the director of the Kunsten Museum, came to know about the incident. He also sent an email saying he thought it was more interesting to do a new work called “Take the Money and Run”.
“I absolutely want to give Jens the right to say that a new work has been created in its own right, which actually comments on the exhibition we have, but that is not the agreement we had,” Andersen said. The museum does not intend to go to the police as of now as the artist has until Jan 16th next year to return the money. But the catch is that Haaning has clearly stated that he does not intend to pay back any amount.
“No, it’s not going to happen. The work is that I have taken their money,” he told national broadcaster DR.