Danish artist Jens Henning (56 years old) makes a gentle mockery of the Konsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg. He received €72,000 in cash from the museum to process two custom-made artworks. But Haaning decided to create a new art called “Take the money and run”. And that’s exactly what he did.
The Washington Post, CBS News
The Burke Museum did not immediately get what he expected from Hanning. The artist was asked to recreate two of his works in 2007 and 2010 for the exhibition “Work it out” with the theme of work and life. Then it was a visual representation of the average annual income of Austrians and later also of Danes. The amount is depicted on canvas with real euro banknotes and Danish krone, respectively. For the “reconfiguration”, the museum lent money to Haaning: DKK 328,000 (€44,100) for the first artwork, DKK 206,000 (€27,700) for the second. In total, then, 534,000 DKK or roughly 72,000 euros.
The artist from Copenhagen himself received 25,000 Danish crowns, or more than 3,300 euros, for his contribution to the exhibition, he told B1Morgan. It only covered the costs of the project, so Haaning decided to approach it differently. He asked, “Why don’t I write about my working conditions?” Hanning submitted two blank frames containing only a white canvas to the Konsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg with a work-appropriate title: Take the Money and Run.
Museum director Lacey Anderson first laughed when he saw the tires. “Genes is known for his conceptual art, activist and humorous. That gave us — but also a wake-up call, because everyone wonders where the money went,” Anderson said. But the museum doesn’t want to leave it that way and accuse Hanning of theft. Anderson wants a refund of 72 thousand euros, but the Danish artist does not intend to. “The job is like I ran away with their money. This is not theft, but breach of contract and breach of contract is part of the artwork,” Hanning says.
By changing the title of the work to “Take the Money and Run,” Haaning questions the artists’ rights and working conditions to set fairer standards in the art industry.
Under the contract, Jens Haaning must return the money after the show, in which his work is included. It will run until January 16th. Then, if the amount is not refunded, the museum will “take the necessary steps to ensure Jens Haaning honors his contract”.
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