Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP by way of Getty Ima
In autumn 2021, a Danish museum opened two massive crates to examine two works it had commissioned from the artist Jens Haaning.
However when museum employees pulled out the canvases — a brand new work the artist had knowledgeable the museum was titled Take the Cash and Run — the canvases have been fully clean.
The museum, the Kunsten Museum of Trendy Artwork in Aalborg, had given Haaning a mortgage of 532,549 Dutch krone, the equal of about $76,400. The cash was for use to recreate two earlier works by Haaning that depicted — in precise chilly, onerous money affixed to canvas in a body — the common annual revenue of a Dane and an Austrian, and the sizable hole between them, reflecting wage variations inside the European Union.
Now, Haaning has been ordered by a Copenhagen court docket to repay many of the cash — roughly $70,600 — in addition to the equal of a further $11,0000 in authorized charges.
“I’m shocked, however on the identical time it’s precisely what I’ve imagined,” Haaning told Danish public broadcaster DR on Monday.
“We’re not a rich museum,” Lasse Andersson, the museum’s director, told The Guardian in 2021, explaining that the cash got here from reserves earmarked for the constructing’s repairs. “We’ve to think twice about how we spend our funds, and we do not spend greater than we are able to afford.”
The court docket’s judgment deducted roughly $5,700 from the complete mortgage quantity to function Haaning’s artist’s price and viewing price, for the reason that museum nonetheless exhibited the clean canvases in its “Work It Out” present.
The Kunsten Museum’s curators appeared to completely perceive Haaning’s that means.
“Haaning’s new work Take the Cash and Run can be a recognition that artistic endeavors, regardless of intentions on the contrary, are a part of a capitalist system that values a piece primarily based on some arbitrary circumstances,” the museum says in its exhibition guide. “Even the lacking cash within the work has a financial worth when it’s known as artwork and thus reveals how the worth of cash is an summary amount.”
Haaning now seems to be in a little bit of a pickle, as he says that he does not have the cash to repay the museum.
“It has been good for my work, nevertheless it additionally places me in an unmanageable state of affairs the place I do not actually know what to do,” the artist informed DR.