The title of the art work was a clue to the artist’s intentions — “Take the Cash and Run.”
A Danish museum gave about $83,000 to an artist to reproduce a pair of works displaying the money, reflecting the character of labor within the trendy world.
As a substitute the artist, Jens Haaning, delivered two clean canvases with out a scrap of foreign money in sight, that are featured within the exhibition that opened final week on the Kunsten Museum of Fashionable Artwork. Mr. Haaning concedes that he did nearly no precise work on the mission after receiving a fee from the museum, within the northern metropolis of Aalborg, however says he’s maintaining the money — within the identify of artwork, in fact.
“That is solely a piece of artwork if I don’t return the cash,” Mr. Haaning mentioned in an interview. “I imagine that I’ve created a good and related piece of art work, which may very well be held on the wall.”
The response from the Kunsten Museum has been blended — no less than publicly.
Inventive deserves apart, Mr. Haaning didn’t fulfill his unique fee, Lasse Andersson, the museum’s director, mentioned in an interview. He mentioned the artist was given 532,549 Danish kroner to reproduce two of his earlier works, through which he had framed piles of kroner and euro payments to characterize annual wages earned by staff in Austria and Denmark.
Due to this fact, the museum expects Mr. Haaning — whose precise fee fee had been set at 10,000 kroner, lower than $1,600, plus bills — to return the cash that was supposed to be contained within the artworks after the exhibit closes in January, Mr. Andersson mentioned. In any other case, he added, he’s ready to take authorized motion.
However for now, the museum is taking part in alongside. Mr. Andersson mentioned that Mr. Haaning’s stunt was within the spirit of the fee, which was to immediate reflections on how and why individuals labor for cash.
“The work is attention-grabbing to me,” Mr. Andersson mentioned. “It’s partly a humorous remark: why will we work, what’s satisfying about being good at one thing?”
The episode, Mr. Andersson mentioned, echoed the story of Robin Hood: “The good Jens Haaning cheats the larger museum director — it’s a story that can be humorous.”
However a few of his colleagues weren’t as enthusiastic, in accordance to one other artist within the exhibition, John Korner, who was on the museum when Mr. Haaning’s work was delivered.
“The curators have been clearly upset,” he mentioned. “I have no idea what they anticipated. They really requested me what I assumed, maybe as a result of I used to be the one artist on the museum on the time.”
Mr. Haaning’s newest creation has not shocked these aware of his work.
“He’s the last word trickster,” mentioned Merete Jankowski, an artwork historian and former employer and collaborator of Mr. Haaning.
The stunt mirrored a few of his earlier performances, she mentioned, which are sometimes meant as provocations to upset “our notion of what’s honest and simply in our society, particularly when it comes to marginalized communities.”
Ms. Jankowski pointed to a notably political piece from 1995 referred to as “Weapon Manufacturing,” through which the artist invited a group of younger immigrants to the exhibition area to take part in a workshop for making avenue weapons.
“It’s a approach to create an art work for a museum, which he has executed many occasions earlier than, and I feel that has been missed,” she mentioned referring to his newest mission. “Attempt to do a Google seek for Jens Haaning and see what he has executed earlier than — how can this be a shock?”