SAM and the Super Bowl

Once Pete Carroll works his magic, our “global museum” is ready to throw down.

Intercity wagers are part of the chewy cud that keeps football fans and the media occupied for the interminable two-week wait between championship games and the Super Bowl. Usually these Super Bowl bets go no further than the cities' mayors staking some regional delicacies. In 2006, then-Mayor Greg Nickels offered his Pittsburgh counterpart Pike Place ale, Pagliacci pizza, and dinner for two at the Space Needle. This year Indianapolis and New Orleans are wagering competing shrimp dishes. (Mmmm-mmmm, love that...Indianapolis shrimp?) But there's a new wrinkle this year to the usual pregame rivalry, as the heads of both the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art have decided now would be a good time to get into the greatest curatorially based, Super Bowl–centered trash-talk session you've ever heard. It started last Monday, when Max Anderson, head of the IMA, wagered a painting by Ingrid Calame. NOMA director E. John Bullard upped the ante, betting a three-month loan of a Renoir. Apparently this wasn't good enough, as more trash talk ensued before Anderson and Bullard finally settled the terms of the bet: a J.M.W. Turner for a Claude Lorrain. We couldn't help wondering: How would the Seattle Art Museum respond should the Seahawks make a second visit to the Super Bowl? SAM head Derrick Cartwright was more than willing to entertain the idea. In fact, when we asked for his repsonse, the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director straight brought the fury (*snaps fingers*). Said Cartwright: "Next year, after Pete Carroll works his magic on the Seahawks, I can imagine SAM really raising the ante in the round of wagers between rival museums. SAM is a global art museum, and I'd like to move away from the strictly Eurocentric view that my colleagues in Indianapolis and New Orleans seem stuck in. (Damnnnnnnnnnn.) "Perhaps we could show off the more complex and eclectic nature of our contemporary art scene by putting up Some/One (2001) by Do-Ho Suh, a Korean-born artist now working in New York, as the bet. It is not only a perfect demonstration of Seattle's Pacific Rim outlook, but also has fast become an icon of the new downtown SAM space. "Alternately, we could offer a treasured work from our rising American art collection. Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast (1870) by Albert Bierstadt is an image that shows off the natural paradise from which the Seahawks hail. The painting still succeeds at drawing crowds, and would be a real winner." We think it's safe to say Indy and N'awlins done just got tow up.

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