Artist pockets cash intended to be art

epaselect epa09492885 An empty picture frame, an artwork titled 'Take the Money and Run' by Danish artist Jens Haaning, in on display at the museum Kunsten in Aalborg, Sweden, 28 September 2021. The frame should have been filled with around 550.000 Danish kroner in cash, which is supposed to match the average annual salary in respectively Austria and Denmark. Yet, when the art pieces arrived at the museum in Aalborg last week and staff members began unpacking the frames, there was no money in sight, only the empty frames and the tape, which was supposed to hold the money in place. Danish artist Jens Haaning is currently in possession of the cash that should have been inside the frames. The museum loaned him the money, which he is contractually bound to return to the museum, when the exhibition closes on 14 January 2022.  EPA/Henning Bagger  DENMARK OUT

An empty picture frame, an artwork titled 'Take the Money and Run' by Danish artist Jens Haaning, in on display at the museum Kunsten in Aalborg, Sweden, 28 September 2021. (EPA/Henning Bagger DENMARK OUT)

A Danish artist who was was given a pile of money by a museum with which to create a piece of artwork, submitted two empty canvases - titled Take the Money and Run.

Jens Haaning was given the equivalent of nearly $US84,000 ($A117,000) in Danish kroner and euro bank notes by the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg.

For its exhibition on labour conditions and money, titled Work It Out that opened on September 24, the museum commissioned him to re-create two of his earlier pieces, which featured banknotes attached to a canvas representing the average annual wage in Denmark and Austria.

As well as lending him the notes, the museum also paid him 25,000 kroner ($A4500) for the work.

But when officials received the artworks, they were blank.

"The artwork is that I have taken the money," Haaning told a radio show on the P1 channel that is part of Danish broadcaster DR this week.

He declined to say where the money was.

Haaning, who is known as a provocateur, said the artwork represented his current work situation.

"I encourage others who have just as miserable working conditions as I to do the the same," Haaning told P1.

"If they are being asked to give money to go to work, then take the money and run."

The museum says Haaning has broken the agreement on how to use the money.

However, it has not yet decided whether to report Haaning to the police if the money is not returned before the exhibition ends in January.

Haaning, however, denies having committed a crime and insists he did produce a work of art.

"It's not theft, it is a breach of contract, and the breach of contract is part of the work,"Haaning told P1.

© AP 2021

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