Danish artist pockets museum's cash and calls it art... and other stories

Another convocation of confusion from around the world that you may have missed


Roundup Welcome to another lash-up of lunacy, as we gather together some odd and unusual stories from the past few days and pass them to you surreptitiously while suggesting "the swallows fly south at sunset" in a bad Hungarian accent.

Danish artist redefines work

News from Denmark first of all, where conceptual artist Jens Haaning has been accused of taking more than the mickey by his sometime patron, the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in the Danish city of Aalborg.

The museum loaned Haaning the equivalent of $85,000 in Danish kroner so that he might recreate two artworks titled An Average Danish Annual Income and An Average Austrian Annual Income for an upcoming exhibition.

The works consisted of the relevant quantities of cash within two frames and were supposed to demonstrate the gap in the average income between the two nations, despite the people there doing similar labour. It was intended to be displayed as part of an exhibition at the gallery called Work It Out, which explores the relationship people have with work.

Unfortunately for the gallery, Haaning decided he didn't fancy putting the work into recreating a piece of art that was over a decade old and certainly didn't want to pay out the 25,000 kroner (about $2,900) that doing so would have cost.

So instead, he chose to create a new artwork called Take The Money And Run, which consisted of him sending two entirely blank canvasses in frames to the museum and then pocketing their cash.

"It is a breach of contract, and breach of contract is part of the work," Haaning told the Danish public broadcaster DR. "The work is that I have taken their money."

The museum is seemingly in two minds over the flagrant purloining of their resources.

"It wasn't what we had agreed on in the contract, but we got new and interesting art," Kunsten CEO Lasse Andersson told NPR.

"I actually laughed as I saw it," Andersson continued. "The new work reminds us that we work for money." However, the museum is hoping that the artist will eventually return his ill-gotten gains.

The Kunsten says that Haaning has until 16 January, the closing date of the Work It Out exhibition, to return the cash. "We are not a rich museum. We are really hoping the money will come back," Andersson told DR.

Drunk 'missing' Turkish man joins search party for himself

Speaking of things people hope will come back, we now transfer our attentions to Turkey, where that seems to have happened. Sort of.

Authorities in the Inegöl district of Bursa province in the northwest of the country organised a search on Tuesday for 50-year-old Beyhan Mutlu, who had reportedly wandered off from a group of friends and into a forest while drunk, according to the Daily Sabah website.

After attempting to contact him for several hours with no response, the missing man's friends and family began to fear for his safety and raised the alarm, at which point the emergency services swung into action.

Local police organised civilian search parties which began combing the woods. The presumably either still-drunk or hungover Mutlu eventually stumbled across one of the groups looking for him and joined in, lending his efforts to the search for several hours.

He was finally unequivocally located when one of the rescuers shouted his name and Mutlu answered: "I am here."

The somewhat sheepish rescuee was asked to provide a statement and then given a lift home.

Inexplicable Humpty Dumpty toilet statue stolen in Winsconsin

Finally, coming back to art – or something vaguely resembling art, at least – police in the US state of Wisconsin are looking for a hugely expensive bronze statue of nursery rhyme character Humpty Dumpty [pic] sitting on a toilet which was stolen from an art fair.

No, us neither.

The Madison Police Department said that a vendor at the Art Fair on the Square event in the city had flagged down some of their officers to report the theft, telling them that "two males lingered in the area of her stand during the early morning set-up."

When the vendor had to later momentarily leave her stall, she found on her return that the two men had disappeared and so had the statue of the straining egg on its bronze throne, which is titled Dumpty Humpty and reportedly worth $1,400.

Far from what the famous punchline to the joke about the stolen toilet would have you believe, police have plenty to go on, however. They were able to uncover CCTV footage which showed the two men the vendor described leaving the market with the stolen statue.

According to the incident report on the Madison Police Department website: "At least one suspect is believed to be a student living in the downtown area whom recently turned 21."

They are appealing for the public's help in flushing out the miscreants before the investigation gets bogged down. ®


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