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Big time plays: Artist who ran off with museum’s money calls the act the ‘artwork’ itself

By SAAB LARIOSA Published Sep 30, 2021 3:37 pm

Danish artist Jens Haaning just pulled off the ultimate museum heist - and the museum is surprisingly okay with it.

The 56-year-old conceptual artist made a deal with Denmark’s Kunsten Museum of Modern Art that he would replicate an earlier artwork that would display over $84,000 (P4 million) in cash.

When it was time to present the pieces, Haaning sent them two huge crates with nothing but two blank canvases inside - the money was nowhere to be found. The title? “Take the Money And Run.” The message can’t get any clearer than that.

The act itself is a form of rebellion for Haaning, as he explained that it is a “protest against the remuneration conditions that the museum offered.”

When asked by Danish public broadcaster DR why he did it, he shared that it would have cost him more out of his own pocket to recreate the two works.

“I encourage other people who have just as miserable working conditions as me to do the same. If they are sitting on some shit job and not getting money and are actually being asked to give money to go to work, then take the box and plug off,” Haaning shared.

“No, it's not theft. It is a breach of contract, and breach of contract is part of the work," he added.

Despite the rebellion, the piece is now hanging in the Kunsten Museum and being enjoyed by spectators and art critics like.

In an email to NPR.org, Kunseum CEO Lasse Andersson shared that "I actually laughed as I saw it.”

They also won’t be pressing charges to the artist just yet, as Andersson says, "It wasn't what we had agreed on in the contract, but we got new and interesting art.”

"Take the Money and Run" in the Kunsten Musem of Modern Art. (Photo from NPR.org)

Photo from Unsplash