“Take the Money and Run” – A look at what is still considered art

'Take the Money and Run' - Jens Haaning
Two blank canvases, titled "take the money and run" by Jens Haaning
‘Take the Money and Run’ – by Jens Haaning

Modern art always seems to cause debate with people arguing over what should be and what shouldn’t be considered art.

A strong argument that always seems to appear is that art is subjective and therefore anything can be art. However, some people believe that there has to be an element of skill involved. This point of view is often supported by people stating “Hey, I could make this”.

Jens Haaning:

An artist in the media spotlight at the moment is Danish artist ‘Jens Haaning‘. Haaning had been commissioned approx. $84,000 to reproduce two of his previous works. Haaning, instead, provided the museum with two blank canvases and titled these “Take the Money and Run”.
These pieces highlight a great argument about what is and what is not considered art. Many people argue that these canvases should NOT be considered art due to the lack of anything on them.
However, another argument is that ‘art’ refers to a message, a meaning or a statement and that these pieces represent a message that the artist wants to convey.

White Canvas:

Another widely debated topic within this category of ‘what is and what isn’t art’ is the idea of “White Canvas” paintings. These are abstract paintings that mainly use the colour white throughout and, as an abstract, do not represent a physical object, a scene etc.

“White Stone” – By Agnes Martin

‘White Stone’ is a piece by Agnes Martin that is often brought up at the top of this debate. This piece is often seen as just a ‘White Canvas’ that anybody could make. This piece, as is common with most abstracts, are not intended to depict a specific scene, model or object etc. but is instead intended to evoke an emotional response.

A common argument for artwork like this is the “I could create that”. There are a lot of complexities that go into creating a piece like this that the standard observer may not realise at first.

While, yes, you may be able to create this, you did not.

– By Oliver Iles