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Danish artist pockets museum's cash, declares it conceptual art

The Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, Denmark, loaned $85,000 worth of Danish kroner to artist Jens Haaning to use in two artworks, but the artist kept the cash and turned in two empty frames titled Take the Money and Run. Photo by Alex2life/Wikimedia Commons
The Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, Denmark, loaned $85,000 worth of Danish kroner to artist Jens Haaning to use in two artworks, but the artist kept the cash and turned in two empty frames titled "Take the Money and Run." Photo by Alex2life/Wikimedia Commons

Sept. 28 (UPI) -- A Danish artist who was loaned $85,000 cash by a museum to use in a pair of artworks instead turned in two empty frames under the title, Take the Money and Run.

Lasse Andersson, director of the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, said the facility loaned artist Jens Haaning $85,000 in Danish kroner banknotes to recreate two of his earlier works that featured cash in a frame.

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The works, titled An Average Danish Annual Income and An Average Austrian Annual Income, had been intended for an exhibition at the museum about working life. The original pieces had featured cash in a frame representing annual incomes for average workers in Denmark and Austria.

Andersson said museum officials opened the box they received from Haaning, expecting to find new versions of the cash pieces, but instead found two empty frames.

"Haaning sent us an email saying he thought it was more interesting to do a new work, and it was called Take the Money and Run," Andersson told Danish broadcaster DR.

Andersson said officials are now concerned that Haaning will not abide by his agreement to return the cash to museum Jan. 14, 2022, when the exhibition is scheduled to close.

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"We are not a rich museum," he said. "We are really hoping the money will come back."

Haaning told DR he has no plans to return the money.

"Of course I will not pay it back," he said. "The work is that I took the money and I will not give it back."

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