Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalborg

Kong Christians Allé 50
9000 Aalborg

Phone: +45 99 82 41 00
CVR: 47 21 82 68


Danske Bank

Regnr.: 4368 Kontonr.: 13534926


Comment regarding Take the Money and Run

Aug 21st 2023, 7:00am

On Monday 21 August there will be a trial of the case between Jens Haaning and Kunsten Museum of Modern Art.

The trial will take place at Copenhagen City Court between 9.30 am and 3.30 pm.

- It is deeply unfortunate that this situation has resulted in a trial. Artists are our most important collaborators, and we would have preferred to resolve the situation on the basis of discussion with Jens. But we live in a society based on the rule of law, in which everyone is obliged to comply with contracts and obligations. We also have a responsibility to the financial contributors who support the museum,” says Lasse Andersson, Director of Kunsten Museum of Modern Art.

If you have any questions regarding the case, please contact Mads Balsby Wilkens from HjulmandKaptajn. The verdict of the trial is expected at the end of September. 


See also Take the Money and Run: Clarification of Terms and FAQ


In brief

The exhibition Work it Out opened at Kunsten Museum of Modern Aalborg in 2021. As part of the exhibition, the museum wished to feature two existing works by the artist Jens Haaning: An Average Austrian Annual Income (2007) and An Average Danish Annual Income, which had originally been exhibited at Heart in Herning in 2010.


For the new exhibition at Kunsten, the annual income was updated to the 2021 rate, so the two works featured framed banknotes with a total value of DKK 532,549.


Kunsten transferred the necessary funds to the artist’s personal bank account, having entered into a contract with Jens Haaning stipulating that he would return the money to Kunsten when the exhibition closed on 16 January 2022.


Just prior to the opening of the exhibition, Kunsten received an email from Jens Haaning, informing the museum that, instead of the work agreed upon, he had created a new piece entitled Take the Money and Run. Museum staff then opened the transport crates only to discover that the picture frames, which should have contained the money, were empty.


The new work was presented as part of Work It Out alongside other works by renowned contemporary artists.


When the exhibition was over, Jens Haaning did not pay back the money, thereby breaching the contract he had signed. Accordingly, Kunsten brought a civil lawsuit against him.


The work itself – excluding the money – belongs to Jens Haaning, and the artist is represented by Sabsay Gallery Copenhagen. The work is not the property of Kunsten; it is a deposit.