Super Bowl Bets Extend to Museums!

In true art-history-nerd fashion, I did not realize that the Super Bowl was next Sunday (February 7th) until I read this art news article from today.

It’s common for people to place bets on the outcome of Super Bowl games, and it looks like art museum directors are no exception! The directors of the Indianapolis Museum of Art and New Orleans Museum of Art have agreed to wager items from their collection in order to support their hometeams. If the New Orleans Saints win, then the Indianapolis Museum of Art will send Turner’s The Fifth Plague of Egypt (1800, shown above) to be displayed in the New Orleans Museum of Art for three months. In turn, if the Indianapolis Colts win the Superbowl, then the New Orleans Museum of Art will send Lorrain’s Ideal View of Tivoli (1644, shown below) to be displayed in the Indianapolis Museum of Art for three months.

It appears that the bet was instigated and encouraged by Tyler Green, whose writes the Modern Art Notes blog. You can see Green’s Super Bowl post here.

I honestly have no opinion as to which team is going to win the Super Bowl. But if I had to root for one, I guess it would be the New Orleans Saints – purely because I think the Turner is an interesting painting and it should have a chance to travel for temporary exhibition!

Is anyone else rooting for one painting to travel over another?

  • GermyB says:

    SAM's director Derrick Cartwright actually just threw his smack-talk into the mix today on the Seattle Weekly blog, joking that the two directors are being so "Euro-centric" with their wagers. I think it's all pretty awesome.

  • columnist says:

    I am a great fan of Turner, and this one I had not seen. It is indeed a terrific picture.

  • e says:

    The ONLY thing Superbowl related that I have an interest in now. Thanks for telling all of us about it!

    I have no idea who the better team is, but I hope that the Colts win. Here's why: have you ever been to Indianapolis? That poor city needs any increase in culture and art they can get (even if it is just for three months)!

    What a cool idea. It be really cool if they did some sort of commercial on this wager to get the word out.

  • Kiersten says:

    I'll vote for Indianapolis, too, since I'm actually close enough to that city to reasonably visit. So far I've only been to the airport there, since, as e noted, there's not enough culture in Indianapolis to incentivize my going yet.

  • heidenkind says:

    The New Orleans Museum of Art is actually kind of kick-ass. Not that I've been there, but a museum near me had an exhibit of some of the paintings from NOLA's collection, and it was awesome.

    I would have to root for the Turner to travel, because I love Turner.

  • M says:

    Well, it looks like the Turner will be traveling to New Orleans after all. Read what The History Blog wrote here. Like was mentioned in that post, I think that this bet and exchange will help boost museum attendance in both cities. Hooray!

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This blog focuses on making Western art history accessible and interesting to all types of audiences: art historians, students, and anyone else who is curious about art. Alberti’s Window is maintained by Monica Bowen, an art historian and professor.