This story of a cunning artist and an unsuspecting museum will make you rethink what conceptual art can get you. The Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, Denmark, lent the artist Jens Haaning 534,000 kroner (~$84,000) to reproduce two of his older artworks. But what did he do instead? He kept the money to himself and renamed the series Take the Money and Run.
According to a written agreement between the two sides, Haaning was expected to utilize the banknotes from the payment to recreate two pieces he made in 2007 and 2010. The original artworks represented the respective average annual incomes of Austrians and Danes using cash bills. But for his latest, Haaning delivered two empty frames, with no banknotes to be seen.
“The work is that I have taken their money,” Haaning explained in an interview with the Danish radio program P1 Morgen. “It’s not theft. It is a breach of contract, and breach of contract is part of the work.”
Is it mere provocation or an act of protest against the work conditions of artists? According to Haaning, it’s both. The artist claimed that the stunt was in reaction to the low fees offered to him by the museum. Completing the works would’ve required him to pay an extra 25,000 kroner (~$3,900) out-of-pocket, he argued. Showing no remorse, Haaning said that he has no intention to return the money.
“I encourage other people who have just as miserable working conditions as me to do the same,” he told the Danish radio show. “If they are sitting on some shit job and not getting money and are actually being asked to give money to go to work, then take the box and [run] off.”
The museum seems to be enjoying the publicity, at least for now. Haaning’s empty frames were included in the exhibition Work it Out, which examines the labor market and the working conditions of artists. However, the museum is planning to claim the loan back when the exhibition ends in January.
“It wasn’t what we had agreed on in the contract, but we got new and interesting art,” Kunsten’s director Lasse Andersson told Hyperallergic in an email.
When asked if the museum would consider taking legal action against Haaning, Andersson replied: “Right now we’ll wait and see. If the money is not returned on 16 January as agreed, we will of course take the necessary steps to ensure that Jens Haaning complies with his contract.”
Ceramic fried eggs, critiques of real estate, and a whole booth dedicated to female-identifying saints caught my eye at Untitled, NADA, and Art Miami.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office recovered 23 looted objects from Shelby White’s home over the last year and a half.
The award-winning Canadian artist explores notions of power through the imagery of science fiction in portraits, sculpture, and objects.
An egregious “anti-woke” billboard erected in Los Angeles attempts to sow division among Latino/a/x communities.
This week, missed signs of previous life on Mars, the appeal of forged art, and why are blue whales singing in lower octaves?
This affordable, interdisciplinary program with excellent facilities and private studios offers in-person instruction for 2023.
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed forcefully posits multiple parallels between the world Nan Goldin grew up in and the one she fights in today.
Your list of must-see, fun, insightful, and very Los Angeles art events this month, including Bob Thompson, Aimee Goguen, Uta Barth, the Transcendental Painting Group, and more.
The latest episode of this documentary series on PBS explores the meaning of home through handmade objects, hand built homes, and the artists who create them.
There is the singular artist and then there is the more exclusive club that has only one member. Harvey belongs to the latter.
The artists say the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma must sever ties with Poju Zabludowicz, whose wealth comes in part from Israeli defense contracting.
Rhode Island School of Design opens registration for its residential summer Pre-College program and year-round online intensive Advanced Program Online.
Vanessa Albury, whose eco-friendly ceramic sculptures help revive filter-feeder populations, is raising funds to complete her first film about the project.
An archeological exploration of the amphitheater’s sewers and water systems uncovered remnants of meat, vegetables, olives, nuts, and yes, pizza.