A Danish artist was given tens of thousands of dollars by a museum to reproduce an old sculpture. Instead, he pocketed the money and called it a new conceptual artwork.
Take the Money and Run is the name of the piece by artist Jens Haaning—as well as a rather straightforward description of it.
For its current exhibition, the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, Denmark, lent Haaning 534,000 kroner ($84,000). Per their written agreement, the artist would exhibit the banknotes themselves, effectively recreating a pair of artworks he made in 2007 and 2010 that represented the average annual incomes of an Austrian and a Dane, respectively.
However, when the museum opened up the box containing Haaning’s piece, they found two empty frames. The banknotes were absent.
“The work is that I have taken their money,” Haaning told the Danish radio program P1 Morgen last week. “It’s not theft. It is a breach of contract, and breach of contract is part of the work.”