October 17, 2021

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Artist given $84,000 to recreate earlier work hands in blank canvases titled “Take the money and run”

CBS News reports that a museum in Denmark gave an artist $84,000 to make copies of earlier works displaying sums of cash, but the artist instead gave them some blank canvases and the suggestion they be titled “Take the money and run.”

But when it came time for Haaning to actually deliver, he did the unexpected. 

“The curator received an email in which Jens Haaning wrote that he had made a new piece of art work and changed the work title into ‘Take the Money and Run,'” Andersson said. “Subsequently, we could ascertain that the money had not been put into the work.”

Indeed, the frames meant to be filled with cash were empty.

There’s a clickbaity element to this story, in that the artist was supposed to put the money in the art and return the money when the show ends, and the museum clearly anticipated some kind of clever artistic shenanigans—”[museum director] Lasse Andersson said he actually laughed”. Given the sum involved, though, it’ll be a nervous four months.

Andersson said while it wasn’t what they had agreed on in the contract, the museum got new and interesting art. “When it comes to the amount of $84,000, he hasn’t broke any contract yet as the initial contract says we will have the money back on January 16th 2022.”

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