Tribune: Update: What happens when you take the money and run?

Two years ago, we brought you the story of Jens Haaning, the Danish artist who received the equivalent of $84,000 from the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, Denmark. The museum was expecting Haaning to create artwork incorporating the money into the design. Instead, he submitted two blank canvases titled “Take the Money and Run” and pocketed the cash.

Haaning took the money, but was he able to run? That all depends on your perspective. The museum filed a civil suit against him, and in September 2023 the court ruled that he had to return the money — most of it, anyway. According to the BBC,1 Haaning returned nearly $72,000, but was allowed to keep the balance to cover the cost of mounting the canvases and an “artist’s fee.” All in a day’s work (or not, as the case may be).

Other art oddities

Unusual art can be sold anywhere, of course. CBS News2 brings us the following highlights:

  • London: A Banksy painting of a girl reaching for a balloon sold for $1.4 million at auction in 2018. The artwork shredded itself as soon as it was sold, and three years later those pieces sold for $25.4 million.
  • Miami: One of the works on display at a 2019 art convention was a banana duct-taped to a wall. It sold for $120,000 and was then eaten by David Datuna, a performance artist.