A Danish museum gave an artist around $ 83,000 to reproduce a pair of works that showed cash, reflecting the nature of work in the modern world.
Instead, the artist, Jens Haaning, turned over two blank canvases without a coin in sight, which are featured in the exhibition that opened last week at the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art. Haaning admits he did hardly any actual work on the project after receiving a commission from the museum in the northern city of Aalborg, but says he keeps the cash, in the name of art, of course.
“This is just a work of art if I don’t pay it back,” Haaning said in an interview. “I think I have created a good and relevant piece of art that could be hung on the wall.”
The Kunsten Museum’s reaction has been mixed, at least publicly.
Artistic merits aside, Haaning did not fulfill his original commission, Lasse Andersson, the museum’s director, said in an interview. He said the artist received 532,549 Danish crowns to reproduce two of his earlier works, in which he had framed stacks of crowns and euro notes to represent the annual wages earned by workers in Austria and Denmark.
Therefore, the museum expects that Haaning, whose actual commission payment was set at 10,000 crowns, less than $ 1,600, plus expenses, will return the money that was supposed to be contained in the artworks after the exhibition closed in January said Mr. Andersson said. Otherwise, he added, he is willing to take legal action.
But for now, the museum is playing along. Mr. Andersson said that Mr. Haaning’s trick was in the spirit of the commission, which should generate reflections on how and why people work for money.
“The work is interesting to me,” Andersson said. “It is partly a humorous comment: why do we work, what is satisfying in being good at something?”
The episode, Andersson said, echoed the Robin Hood story: “The clever Jens Haaning tricks the director of the biggest museum; it’s a story that’s funny too.”
But some of his colleagues weren’t as enthusiastic, according to another artist from the exhibition, John Korner, who was at the museum when Haaning’s work was delivered.
“The curators were clearly disappointed,” he said. “I don’t know what they expected. In fact, they asked me what I thought, maybe because I was the only artist in the museum at the time. “
Mr. Haaning’s latest creation has not come as a surprise to those familiar with his work.
“He’s the latest cheat,” said Merete Jankowski, an art historian and former employer and contributor to Haaning.
The stunt mirrored some of their past performances, he said, which are often intended to cause them to upset “our notion of what is fair and just in our society, especially when it comes to underserved communities.”
Ms. Jankowski pointed to a particularly political piece from 1995 called “Gun Production,” in which the artist invited a group of young immigrants to the exhibition space to participate in a workshop on making street guns.
“It is a way of creating a work of art for a museum, which he has done many times before, and I think it has been overlooked,” he said in reference to his latest project. “Try doing a Google search for Jens Haaning and see what he’s done before. How can that come as a surprise?”
Hazardous materials burned aboard container ship anchored off Vancouver Island
Former PM Chretien on inflation concerns, current affairs
Man under house arrest asks Italian police to jail him to escape wife
China warns of further spread in latest COVID-19 flare-up, to step up monitoring
Scientists use camera connected to brain implant to help blind woman see
U.S2 days ago
U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t block Texas abortion law, sets hearing
Health1 week ago
U.S. FDA panel endorses booster shot for J&J COVID-19 vaccine
Europe1 week ago
Protests greet debut of Italy’s workplace COVID-19 pass rule
Australia & NZ3 days ago
New Zealand sets 90 per cent vaccination target to end lockdowns
Asia1 week ago
Suicide attack on Shiite mosque in Afghanistan kills 47
U.S1 week ago
Biden: ‘Democracy survived’ U.S. Capitol riot because of police
Canada3 days ago
Adding lottery ticket to peanut purchase leaves B.C. woman $70 million richer
Canada3 days ago
Canada’s men’s national soccer team cracks FIFA’s top 50