artist takes $ 84,000 from museum and returns with blank canvases titled “Take the money and run” | Smart News
When the staff of the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art to Aalborg artist loaned Jens haaning 534,000 Danish Krone (the equivalent of $ 84,000), they expected him to create a new version of a previous work in which he framed a large sum of money to illustrate the difference between annual income in Denmark and Austria. Instead, Haaning came back to them with two blank canvases titled Take the money and run.
“I actually laughed when I saw it,” said Lasse Andersson, CEO of the museum. NPRby Bill Chappell.
According to Euronews‘ Tom Bateman, a spokesperson for the museum, says the institution has a written agreement with Haaning that the money must be returned at the end of the exhibition on Jan. 16, 2022. But the artist told the Danish radio show P1Morgen that he does not intend to reimburse the money.
“The job is that I took their money,” he says.
Haaning adds that he was inspired by the salary offered by Kunsten for the artwork. According to Euronews, his contract included posting fees of around $ 1,550 and reimbursement of expenses up to $ 6,960. Haaning tells P1 that he should have spent around $ 3,900 of his own money on the job.
“I encourage other people who have working conditions as miserable as mine to do the same,” he said, according to a translation by Artnet news‘Taylor Dafoe. “If they’re sitting on a certain… job and not getting paid, and actually being asked to pay money to go to work,” they should take what they can and run away.
When speaking with P1, as translated by the Washington post‘s Jaclyn Peiser, Andersson says it’s appropriate “that a full-fledged work has been created that actually comments on the exposure we have.
“But,” he adds, “that’s not the deal we had.”
The museum hung the canvases where it planned to put Haaning’s work, as part of an exhibition titled “Work», Reports Catherine Hickley for the Art journal. He also posted his email explaining the job.
“It’s more or less a performance [piece]”, Andersson told Art journal.
According to P1, Haaning is well known in Denmark for works such as reproducing the nation’s flag in green and moving a car dealership and massage clinic to exhibition buildings.
“Work It Out”, which opened on September 24, focuses on the nature of work and the potential to make working life sustainable for individuals and society. Other works of art on display include an interactive meeting room by Team Kenneth Balfelt // Johan August, a photo and video installation by Adelita Husni-Bey examining the working conditions of nurses and a sculpture of Josh klein consisting of a FedEx package containing reproductions of the severed forearms of the delivery men.
“We spend a lot of our waking hours going to work, but perhaps too little time asking ourselves what work really is,” explains Dennis normark, anthropologist and member of the visionary exhibition committee, on the website. “We think we know, but it breaks down for a lot of us when we try to define it.”
In a statement cited by CBS News‘Caitlin O’Kane, Haaning explains that her paintings are also a reflection on professional life.
“The work of art is essentially about the working conditions of artists,” he says. “It’s a statement saying that we also have a responsibility to question the structures of which we are a part. And if these structures are completely unreasonable, we must break with them. It can be your marriage, your job, it can be any kind of societal structure.
Nevertheless, Andersson told the Art journal that the museum expects Haaning to reimburse the money, which he planned to use for the upkeep of the building.
“We are not a rich museum,” he says. “We really hope the money will come back.”