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Jan. 29 2010 - 10:06 am | 174 views | 0 recommendations | 2 comments

Curators Talk Smack. Best Super Bowl Bet. Ever.

Every year, some lame regional bets are made by politicians. Last year, as the Steelers and Cards readied themselves for the Super Bowl, bets flew fast and furious between the mayor of Pittsburgh and the mayor of Phoenix, between the Governor of Pennsylvania and the Governor of Arizona (was that Janet Napolitano, or had Jan Brewer already taken her place?)

The point is the bets are usually lame, and usually include silly food products and the like.

Enter the art historians. And the smack talk is delicious.

The bets have been flying wildly, at break-neck pace between E. John Bullard, the director of the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA, for short) and Max Anderson, the director of the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA).

Tyler Green of the super art blog, Modern Art Notes has done all the heavy lifting following the bets back and forth as the ante has been raised throughout the week. Here’s Green on the on-going taunting:

First, some background:  On Monday, IMA director Max Anderson initially proposed wagering an IMA loan of an Ingrid Calame painting. That was a nice choice… but apparently Anderson wasn’t too worried about having to pay off the bet:

“We’re already spackling the wall where the NOMA loan will hang,” he tweeted.

On Tuesday morning Bullard emailed MAN HQ:

“Max Anderson must not really believe the Colts can beat the Saints in the Super Bowl. Otherwise why would he bet such an insignificant work as the Ingrid Calame painting? Let’s up the ante. The New Orleans Museum of Art will bet the three-month loan of its Renoir painting, Seamstress at Window, circa 1908, which is currently in the big Renoir exhibition in Paris. What will Max wager of equal importance? Go Saints!”

The next day, they art boys were back at it, again, quoting Tyler Green:

UPDATE, Tuesday, 2:20pm EST:

SNAP! Andersontweets back at NOMA: “We’ll see the sentimental blancmange by that “China Painter” and raise you a proper trophy: [A Jean-Valentine Morel jeweled cup, which won the Grand Medal at the 1855 Paris World Fair.]”

UPDATE: Tuesday, 11:20pm EST:

… Bullard raised the stakes:  ”I am amused that Renoir is too sweet for Indianapolis. Does this mean that those Indiana corn farmers have simpler tastes? If so why would Max offer us that gaudy Chalice — just looks like another over-elaborate Victorian tchotchke. Let’s get serious. Each museum needs to offer an art work that they would really miss for three months. What would you like Max? A Monet, a Cassatt, a Picasso, a Miro? Sorry but we have no farm scenes or portraits of football players to send you.”

A couple hours after Bullard’s rejoinder, Anderson replied to both Bullard and to @NOMA via Twitter:  ”Colts will win; here’s how sure I am: [the IMA's four-by-six-foot JMW] Turner for Vigée Lebrun’s Portrait of Marie Antoinette.”

And finally, the denouement, again quoting Green’s art blog:

UPDATE: Wednesday, 130pm EST:

We have a deal!

From IMA’s Anderson via Twitter:  ”Deal — Claude for Turner. Two masters in spirited competition across the channel, and between our fair cities. Go Colts!”

And in polite, collegial reply, NOMA’s Bullard:  ”Max is a gracious opponent. Thanks for accepting the wager of a Claude from New Orleans for a Turner from Indianapolis. But this is definitely the Saints year. They are the Dream Team and in New Orleans we know that dreams come true. Geaux Saints!!!”


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