The title of the paintings was a clue to the artist’s intentions — “Take the Cash and Run.”
A Danish museum gave about $83,000 to an artist to breed a pair of works displaying the money, reflecting the character of labor within the fashionable world.
As an alternative the artist, Jens Haaning, delivered two clean canvases with no scrap of forex 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 challenge 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 bit of artwork if I don’t return the cash,” Mr. Haaning stated in an interview. “I imagine that I’ve created a superb and related piece of paintings, which could possibly be held on the wall.”
The response from the Kunsten Museum has been combined — at the very least publicly.
Inventive deserves apart, Mr. Haaning didn’t fulfill his authentic fee, Lasse Andersson, the museum’s director, stated in an interview. He stated the artist was given 532,549 Danish kroner to breed two of his earlier works, wherein he had framed piles of kroner and euro payments to characterize annual wages earned by staff in Austria and Denmark.
Subsequently, 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 presupposed to be contained within the artworks after the exhibit closes in January, Mr. Andersson stated. In any other case, he added, he’s ready to take authorized motion.
However for now, the museum is enjoying alongside. Mr. Andersson stated that Mr. Haaning’s stunt was within the spirit of the fee, which was to immediate reflections on how and why folks labor for cash.
“The work is fascinating to me,” Mr. Andersson stated. “It’s partly a humorous remark: why will we work, what’s satisfying about being good at one thing?”
The episode, Mr. Andersson stated, echoed the story of Robin Hood: “The good Jens Haaning cheats the larger museum director — it’s a story that can also be humorous.”
However a few of his colleagues weren’t as enthusiastic, in response 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 disillusioned,” he stated. “I have no idea what they anticipated. They really requested me what I believed, 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 stunned these conversant in his work.
“He’s the last word trickster,” stated Merete Jankowski, an artwork historian and former employer and collaborator of Mr. Haaning.
The stunt mirrored a few of his earlier performances, she stated, which are sometimes meant as provocations to upset “our notion of what’s honest and simply in our society, particularly in the case of marginalized communities.”
Ms. Jankowski pointed to a very political piece from 1995 referred to as “Weapon Manufacturing,” wherein the artist invited a bunch of younger immigrants to the exhibition house to take part in a workshop for making avenue weapons.
“It’s a option to create an paintings for a museum, which he has carried out many instances earlier than, and I believe that has been neglected,” she stated referring to his newest challenge. “Attempt to do a Google seek for Jens Haaning and see what he has carried out earlier than — how can this be a shock?”