A Danish artist, Jens Haaningd, has pocketed 534,000 kroner ($84,000) in cash that he received from a museum to incorporate into an artwork and changed the name of the installation to “Take the Money And Run.”
Jens Haaning had agreed with Kunsten museum, in northern Denmark, that he would borrow the money to replicate earlier work: 2010's "An Average Danish Annual Income" and "An Average Austrian Annual Income," first exhibited in 2007. Both used actual cash to show the average incomes of the two countries, according to a news release from the artist.
But when the museum in Aalborg opened the box that Haaning had shipped, the cash was missing from the two glass frames and the artwork’s title had been changed.
“The work of art is that I took their money,” Haaning told in one interview.
According to the same Haaning's press release, "the idea behind was to show how salaries can be used to measure the value of work and to show national differences within the European Union. But by changing the title of the work to "Take the Money and Run" Haaning "questions artists' rights and their working conditions in order to establish more equitable norms within the art industry."
"Everyone would like to have more money, and, in our society, work industries are valued differently," Haaning said in a statement. "The artwork is essentially about 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. 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".
Museum said while it wasn't what they had agreed on in the contract, the museum got new and interesting art. "When it comes to the amount of $84,000, he hasn't broke any contract yet as the initial contract says we will have the money back on January 16th 2022."
The museum director said they'll wait and see what Haaning does, but if the money is not returned on January 16, "we will of course take the necessary steps to ensure that Jens Haaning complies with his contract."