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A Danish Artist Accepted $84,000 In Cash To Use In His Art But Delivered Blank Canvases & Called It “Take the Money and Run”

A Danish artist shocked museum officials when he submitted artwork that didn’t quite meet his contract. Jens Haaning was given $84,000 in cash to recreate two of his previous works of art. While he did deliver two canvases, they were both free of any art and titled “Take the Money and Run.”

“Jens is known for his conceptual and activistic art with a humoristic touch. And he gave us that—but also a bit of a wake up call as everyone now wonders were did the money go,” Museum Director Lasse Andersson wrote in an email to CBS News.

How Jens Got The Gig 

Jens was reportedly contracted by the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, Denmark. His task was to create replicas of his 2010 “An Average Danish Annual Income” and 2007 “An Average Austrian Annual Income” artworks. The ultimate goal was to display Jens’ talent in their latest exhibition ‘Work It Out.’ The exhibition is now open through January 2022.

During their respective years, both pieces used real money to reflect their titles. The Danish art displayed about 328,000 kroners (about $37,800 dollars). The Austrian piece boasted $25,000 euros (about $29,000 dollars).

Kunsten Museum gave Jens the $84,000 on the condition that they’re able to pocket the funds once again. They also paid him for his time and efforts and provided him an additional $6,000 euros in case he needed to update the art.

“We also have a contract that the money $84,000 US dollars to be displayed in the work is not Jens’ and that it must be paid back when the exhibition closes on 16 January 2022.”

The Reveal

Although Jens agreed to the contract, he later emailed the museum saying he decided to create new art. The director wasn’t on-site when Jens finally delivered the art, but says he laughed when he finally saw it. Even though it wasn’t the agreed project, the art proves to be “new and interesting” in Lasso’s words. Still, no word on where or what the money was used for.

Jens Explains His Submission

In a press release, Jens explained that the art is meant to comment on “the working conditions of artists.”

“It is a statement saying that we also have the responsibility of questioning the structures that we are part of,” Jens said. “And if these structures are completely unreasonable, we must break with them. It can be your marriage, your work – it can be any type of societal structure”.

Surprisingly, the museum is sticking to the time frame agreed on in the contract. Jens’ has until January 16, 2022 to return the money or the museum will “take the necessary steps” to collect their coins.

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