Artists must repay £60,000 over Take the Money and Run project

Jens Haaning has been ordered to repay a museum nearly £60,000 after he delivered two blank canvasses to a museum in 2021.

Why has an artists been ordered to repay £60,000 to a museum? Charlie Frost explains

A Danish artist has been ordered to repay nearly £60,000 to a museum after delivering two blank canvasses for a project he called Take the Money and Run.

Jens Haaning had been given the money by the Kunsten Museum in Aalborg on the expectation the banknotes would be embedded in two pieces of art in 2021.

Instead, the artist delivered two completely blank piece, telling Dutch media: “The work is that I have taken their money”.

A court has now ordered him to repay the money, minus some expenses.

The art project was intended as a statement on salaries in Denmark and Austria.

Jens Haaning’s Take the Money and Run on display in 2021. / Credit: Niels Fabæk, Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalborg

The museum had demanded the 534,000 kroner (£58,000) be repaid in full, but Mr Haaning refused, escalated the issue into a lengthy legal battle.

On Monday, a Copenhagen court told the 58-year-old to refund the museum 492,549 kroner. It said the figure was equivalent to the sum the museum had given him – minus the artist’s fee and the cost of mounting.

Speaking in 2021, the museum’s director said he had initially launched at the stunt and decided to display the artwork.

Following the conclusion of the case on Monday, Mr Haaning told local media he did not plan on pursuing the case further.

“It has been good for my work, but it also puts me in an unmanageable situation where I don’t really know what to do,” he told

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