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Artist Ordered to Pay Back $77,000 to Museum in Denmark After Delivering Two Blank Canvases

The Danish conceptual artist, Jens Haaning, has been forced by a Danish court to return the 532,000 Danish crowns (equivalent to about $76,000). The Aalborg Kunsten Mueseum of Modern Art, located in northern Denmark, paid for the artist to recreate two works in which dozens of banknotes were used to represent the average Danish income.

Haaning accepted the job of recreating two works in 2021, but when carrying out said assignment he left both frames blank and gave them to the museum with the title ‘Take the money and run.’

Although the artist did not do any work on the canvases, the museum decided to exhibit the works anyway and months later begged Haaning to return the borrowed money, which he refused. The museum then took legal action against him.

At the time, Lasse Andersson, the director of the Kunsten Museum, told the Guardian, “We are not a wealthy museum. … We have to think carefully about how we spend our funds, and we don’t spend more than we can afford.”

On Monday, a Copenhagen court ordered the artist to return the money the museum had lent him, but ruled that Haaning’s fees should still be paid, around 40,000 crowns.

What motivated Haaning to do it ?

Although the artist has not clarified the specific reason that encouraged him to carry out this act, Haaning said on Danish radio that, “It’s not theft. It is breach of contract, and breach of contract is part of the work. I encourage other people who have working conditions as miserable as mine to do the same. If they’re sitting in some shitty job and not getting paid, and are actually being asked to pay money to go to work, then grab what you can and beat it.”

Source : AS USA

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