It seems like artists are always up to something. Whether it’s taping a banana to a wall, or shredding their own artwork in the middle of an auction, artists are currently, and probably always will be, eccentric.
Recently, Danish artist Jens Haaning took $85,000 from the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art and gave the museum two blank canvases in return. The piece was titled Take the Money and Run. I can’t decide if it’s genius modern art or just general tomfoolery.
According to CBS News, the museum commissioned Haaning to recreate two previous works: “An Average Danish Annual Income” and “An Average Austrian Annual Income.” Haaning originally showcased both in 2007. The works featured real money to show the actual average income of individuals from the two countries.
Haaning’s contract with the museum stated that the museum would provide the artist with bank notes totaling $84,000. Museum director Lasse Andersson told CBS that “the money [$84,000 US dollars] to be displayed in the work is not Jens’ and that it must be paid back when the exhibition closes on 16 January 2022.”
Andersson said he took the pieces in good humor. “Jens is known for his conceptual and activistic art with a humoristic touch,” he said, “And he gave us that – but also a bit of a wake-up call as everyone now wonders were did the money go.”
In a press release, Haaning stated that the artwork “questions artists’ rights and their working conditions in order to establish more equitable norms within the art industry.” He continued, saying, “The artwork is essentially about the working conditions of artists. It is a statement saying that we also have the responsibility of questioning the structures that we are part of.”
According to Andersson, Haaning didn’t actually break the contract and instead delivered new and exciting pieces to the museum. The contract states that Haaning had to return the money at the end of the exhibition, anyway. It’s all a matter of if he actually does.
Artist Creates $3 Million Avocado Toast
Say what you want about Millennials, but they make a mean avocado toast. German artist Tim Bengel set out to create the ultimate avocado toast, made completely out of gold. Better yet, he succeeded.
The work, titled “Who Wants to Live Forever?” features an 18-karat gold pumpkin seed bagel stuffed with gold arugula, tomato, and onion. The piece de resistance, of course, is the several slices of avocado. In an Instagram post featuring the “green gold,” Bengel stated that it cost $14,000 for one slice.
The project met with mixed reviews, especially in the Instagram comments. Actually, the comments were mostly filled with embarrassment and confusion. One person said it was awesome. “I’ve never been more embarrassed,” said another. One commenter said, “it feels like a really expensive high school art project.” Another commenter simply said “Absurd.”
In the art world, critics said the piece recalled the story of King Midas. They also referenced the work of Maurizio Cattelan. In 2016 Cattelan created an 18-karat, fully functional golden toilet titled “America.”