A Danish artist devised an unusual way to protest low wages by accepting money to create art for a museum but submitting two blank canvases in exchange. According to the First Post, he has also changed the name of his installation to ‘Take the Money and Run.’
Jens Haaning, an artist, accepted a cash payment of 534,000 kroner ($84,000) to deliver two art pieces to the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg but instead returned two blank canvases. Banknotes had to be attached to a canvas to represent the average annual wage in Austria and Denmark in the original pieces.
However, when the officials received and examined the artwork, they discovered it to be blank and devoid of any monetary value.
The museum also paid Haaning an additional 25,000 kroner ($3,900) for the artwork, which was to be displayed at the museum’s exhibition on money and labour conditions, ‘Work It Out,’ which opened on September 24.
Hannig, the artist, vehemently defended his decision, saying that the blank canvases reflect his current work situation and that he will not return the money.
“I’ve taken the money for the artwork. I encourage others who work in similarly deplorable conditions to do the same “P1 was informed by Haaning.
“If they are asked to give money to go to work, take the money and run,” Haaning added.
The museum, on the other hand, has a mixed reaction to this.
“He riled up my curatorial staff and riled me up a little, but I also had a laugh because it was humorous,” Lasse Andersson, director of the Aalborg Museum, told the BBC’s Newsday program.
Andersson went on to say that the museum is confident that the artist will be forced to return the funds.
According to the museum, Haaning violated the terms of the agreement regarding the use of the funds. It has not yet been decided whether to report Haaning to the police if the money is not returned by the end of the exhibition in January.
Haaning, on the other hand, denies committing a crime and maintains that he did create a work of art.
“It’s not theft; it’s a breach of contract, and the breach of contract is part of the job,” Haaning explained to P1.