Art Museums Wager Paintings on Super Bowl Outcome


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The NFL will never admit it, but Super Bowl betting is the primary reason for the game’s monumental success over the years.  And it’s not just limited to office pools or even sportsbook patrons–the Super Bowl and betting are so inextricably linked that even the most unlikely sources are getting in on the ‘action’.  Even art museums are ‘putting a little something on the line just to make the game more interesting’ this year.  More specifically, an art museum in Pittsburgh has a bet with one in Milwaukee with the loan of a prized painting on the line.

As the New York Times art blog put it, “Impressionism and the Super Bowl might seem like strange bedfellows” but that’s exactly what’s at stake between Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art and the Milwaukee Art Museum (the Times can’t resist pointing out that Green Bay has no art museum…well, unless you count stores that airbrush t-shirts).  If Green Bay wins, the Carnegie will send Pierre Renoir’s “Bathers with a Crab” (pictured) to Milwaukee on loan.  If the Steelers win, the Milwaukee Museum will loan out Gustave Caillebotte’s “Boating on the Yerres.”

The Milwaukee Museum’s director Daniel Keegan issued a statement bidding a presumptive welcome to the Renoir, noting that he was looking forward to putting it on display “where the public can enjoy it and be reminded of the superiority of the Green Bay Packers.”

Carnegie Museum director Lynn Zelevansky responded by taking the high road:

“In Pittsburgh, we believe trash talk is bad form. We let the excellence of our football team, and our collection, speak for itself.”

Of course if the Carnegie director really knew what she was doing, she’d insist on getting the +2′ points with the Steelers to reflect the current consensus betting line on the Super Bowl.  Guess they didn’t teach that in her graduate art program.

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