Man is paid £60,000 by museum for new artwork – then hands over an emp…

Jens Haaning was contracted to produce a piece called ‘Take the Money and Run’ – so he did, and is refusing to reimburse the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Denmark

The artist said he did it as a protest against what he called “miserable” working conditions and low pay

A Danish artist is refusing to pay back over £60,000 to a local museum after they loaned him the money to a produce a piece – calling the blank space ‘art’.

Jens Haaning received 534,000 Danish krone from the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art to put the work together.

He was expected to construct a piece that focused on the relationship between art and working life.

The museum asked Haaning to send them two picture frames containing the cash, which they wanted to symbolise the average annual income of a person in Denmark and Austria.

But he produced nothing – and won’t give the money back out of protest.

He produced blank frames after being loaned the cash to get creative


Henning Bagger/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

He says he is making a stand against what he called “miserable” working conditions and low pay.

The artist told Danish national broadcaster DR he did not intend to return the museum’s money.

“No, it’s not going to happen – the work is that I have taken their money,” he said.

“No, it’s not theft. It’s a breach of contract, and a breach of contract is part of the work.

“I encourage other people who have working conditions as miserable as mine to do the same.

The artwork was fittingly titled ‘Take the Money and Run’


Henning Bagger/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

“If they’re sitting in some s***y job and not getting paid, and are truly being asked to pay money to go to work, then grab what you can and beat it.”

The museum had agreed to pay a further 10,000 krone for his work, in addition as covering costs like framing and delivery.

Haaning said the project would nevertheless have left him out of pocket.

But Kunsten Museum director Lasse Andersen says the cash should be returned.

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“I would agree with Jens that a work independent has been produced, which truly comments on the exhibition we have. But that’s not the agreement we had,” he said.

“No, Jens should not get that money.

The Kunsten museum told Euronews Next that it was prepared to take action against the creative if the money was not returned to them.

A spokesman said he has until early 2022 to pay them back.

“Right now we wait and see. If the money is not returned on 16 January as agreed, we will of course take the necessary steps to ensure that Jens Haaning complies with his contract,” a statement read.

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