“Take it and run!”: the court ordered the artist who exhibited empty canvases to pay a fine (3 photos)

1 November 2023
Category: painting, 0+

In 2021, Jens Haaning was supposed to send two of his works to the museum. But instead of them he sent a completely different installation, which became famous throughout the world.

In 2021, conceptual artist Jens Haaning, whose work explores power and social inequality, was commissioned by the Kunsten Museum of Contemporary Art in Aalborg. The museum invited the artist to recreate two of his paintings entitled “Average Annual Income of Denmark” (2007) and “Average Annual Income of Austria” (2011). Each of the paintings consisted of banknotes pasted onto a canvas. The museum allocated about 532,000 crowns (about $23,000) for the creation of the works, as well as an artist's fee of about 40,000 crowns.

Jens Haaning took the bills for himself and sent blank canvases to the museum, calling them “Take and Run!”

“Two days before the exhibition opened, Haaning sent us an email saying that he had sent us a new work,” Lasse Andersson, director of the Kunsten Museum, told The Guardian.

In response to the museum's complaints, Jens stated that this was a new installation. The museum did put the new works on public display, but when Haaning refused to return the money, he sued.

On September 17, a court in Copenhagen ordered the artist to return the money that was lent to him to create paintings. However, the museum is still obliged to pay the artist a fee, because the works were exhibited in the museum, The Guardian clarifies.

One way or another, Jens Haaning’s installation “Take and Run!” became famous throughout the world.

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