Museums Take Pro Sports Gambling to the Next Level


A tale in 13 tweets: the head honchos of the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Indianapolis Museum of Art have reached an agreement in a high stakes art exchange based on the outcome of the Superbowl. Both museums responded to a dare by art writer Tyler Green of Modern Art Notes, who suggested that the losing city loan out a work of art from its permanent collection to the victor. IMA director Max Anderson (on behalf of the Colts) and NOMA director E. John Bullard (wagering for the Saints) shaped the terms of the bet over email, blog posts, and Twitter, which makes for an entertaining — see also: transparent, accessible — dialogue between two higher institutions of art. The paintings in question, after the jump.

Sports trash talking (hello, talk radio) is nothing new, but we’re kinda digging this new layer of city pride. Museums engaging in popular culture via social media and by extension publicizing classical artworks? Well done.

Indianapolis Museum of Art proposed the following before settling on a massive Turner landscape:

Ingrid Calame’s 2007 painting #258 Drawing and a Jean-Valentine Morel jeweled cup, a gold medal winner from the 1855 Paris World Fair.

Rejected offers from the New Orleans Museum of Art included:

Auguste Renoir, Seamstress at the Window (1908) and crown jewel in the collection, Vigée-Lebrun’s Portrait of Marie Antoinette from 1788 just one year before the French Revolution.

And the final accord pits two canvases against each other in the Super Bowl of art haggling…

IMA: J.M.W. Turner’s The Plague of Egypt from 1800.

NOMA: Claude Lorrain, Ideal View of Tivoli, 1644.

Who are you betting on come Sunday, February 7?

Follow Max Anderson of the Indianapolis Museum of Art on Twitter, or keep the smack-talk in check on NOMA’s own Twitter feed.