A Danish artist who two years ago received a commission from a museum in northern Denmark to create an installation for an exhibition devoted to labor conditions presented two blank canvases titled “Take the money and run,” the AP reported. He is now appealing the court order to return the money from the order.
Last week, a Danish court ruled that Jens Haaning must pay 492,549 kroner (US$69,894) to the Kunsten Museum in the city of Aalborg for breach of contract. His lawyer, Peter Schöning, said today that the artist is appealing the court’s decision.
In 2021, the museum commissioned Haaning to recreate two of his earlier works, featuring banknotes attached to canvases representing the average annual salary in Denmark and Austria.
Instead, he presented two blank canvases, said they demonstrated the conditions in which he himself worked, and kept the money.
In addition to the money he received for the works, the museum paid him another 25,000 crowns ($3,900) for the labor of creating them, BTA writes.
The Copenhagen District Court ruled that Hanning could keep 40,000 kroner ($5,676) of the original amount. This actually represents the artist’s fee, as the exhibition, which runs from September 24, 2021 to January 16, 2022, still uses the blank canvases.
The court said that the contract between the museum and Haaning stated that the money – the notes given to Haaning – were intended to be available during the temporary display of the works as part of the exhibition and that they must be returned afterwards.
Danish artist told to repay museum $72,000 after turning in blank canvasses
Jens Haaning was commissioned to recreate two artworks featuring banknotes on canvas but instead submitted empty frames. pic.twitter.com/luIfk1AXPw
— Pubity (@pubity) September 20, 2023
When Haaning refused to return the money after the exhibition ended, the museum went to court.
Haaning has denied committing a crime and insists he created a work of art.