A Danish artist who was paid roughly $84,000 for his work decided to keep the cash and instead send two empty frames back to the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in northern Denmark. The name for the art was apt — "Take the Money and Run."
Jens Haaning was lent half a million kroner by the museum for his work, which was meant to be re-created older pieces of his that were made out of cash, according to The Washington Post. The artist was paid 25,000 kroner, which is about $3,900, in addition to the money that would be displayed in the two pieces but when he realized the cost to fund the project alone would cost him about 25,000 kroner, he changed his plans.
The museum, which commissioned the work for its new exhibition about the labor market and features 20 artists, has little other choice but to now display the new work he sent them last week.
"The work is that I have taken their money," Haaning said in an interview with a Danish radio show, according to The Washington Post.
The artist noted that his new artworks were an appropriate representation of the museum's exhibition. Lasse Andersson, the museum director, agreed but noted that Haaning violated their legal agreement and held him accountable for paying back the 534,000 kroner, the equivalent of over $84,000, by Jan. 14.
"I want to give Jens absolutely the right that a work has been created in its own right, which actually comments on the exhibition we have," Andersson said. "But that is not the agreement we had."
Commenting on the display, and Haaning's new pieces that will feature in the exhibition, Andersson explained that it was a "comment on how we all work and it’s probably also a comment on the value of what he creates."
"So there are lots of layers that we think are interesting."
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