Museum lent artist 550.000 kr: Now the money is gone

by Nathalia Hentze Nielsen

The Danish artist Jens Haaning is currently exhibiting his work “An average Danish annual income, 2021” and “An average Austrian annual income, 2021” at Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, which is supposed to illustrate the annual income of citizens in the two countries.

The two incomes are respectively 338,122 Danish crowns and 25,702 euro (approximately €71,808 in total).

While the artwork was supposed to feature the actual, physical banknotes in two glass frames, what is currently on display at the museum is two empty frames with just a bit of tape that was used to fasten the notes.

When employees at Kunsten unpacked the artwork and prepared to exhibit it, all the money was gone, JP.dk writes.

“I have chosen to create a new work for the exhibit instead of showcasing the two older works, which are respectively 14 and 11 years old.

The work is based on/responds to both your concept for the exhibition and the works we originally planned to show. Its title is: ”Take the money and run (an average Austrian income, 2007 and an average Danish year income, 2010), 2021”, Jens Haaning wrote in an email and concluded with a ‘kind regards’.

Where is the money?

Jens Haaning doesn’t mention where the money currently is.

The title of the work “Take the money and run” could indicate that the artist is planning on keeping the money.

Lasse Anderson, head of Kunsten Modern Museum of Art, says to Jyllandsposten that the money was lent to the artist and that the original agreement was that the money should be returned on January 14, 2022.

However, he has asked the money to be returned before time seeing as they no longer are part of the artwork.

“From my point of view, he has the right to create this artwork – based on the premise that the money has been borrowed. I am not worried. I just relate to the contract.

But I called last night and spoke to him, and he was not very clear about it then,” Lasse Anderson explains to JP.dk.

MyAalborg will naturally continue to keep up with the case of the “missing” money. Meanwhile, the artwork can still be viewed at Kunsten.