It's a Super Bowl for Art, too!

Posted by Maria Recio on January 30, 2014 

Denver, Seattle Museums Square Off

No one wants to be left out of the Super Bowl - not even art museums!

In a bet between museums in the cities playing in the Super Bowl, the Denver Museum of Art is throwing down "Broncho Buster," an iconic statue of a cowboy breaking a bronco by Frederic Remington to the Seattle Art Museum's "Sound of Waves," a six-paneled Japanese screen from 1901 by Tsuji Kako that features an eagle with wings spread by the seashore.

Super Bowl XLVIII will be played Feb. 2 in New Jersey between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos, so the artwork was chosen to reflect the team names.

The winning city's museum gets to display the loser's art piece for three months, at the losing museum's expense to transport. And, of course, it gets the high-brow bragging rights.

But, as might be expected when art and the Super Bowl come together, it didn't happen without controversy.

When the bet was first announced, the Seattle museum offered a Forehead Mask by the Nuxalk Nation that looks remarkably like the raptor image of the Seahawks. However, the Indian nation objected to the use of a sacred ceremonial image being wagered on a football game.

"We have the greatest respect for the Nuxalk’s art and culture and intended the Forehead Mask to be a cultural exchange with the Denver region," said Kimerly Rorschach, SAM’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director. "The Nuxalk Nation asked us to withdraw the offer in conjunction with the Super Bowl and we are doing so in respect for their wishes."


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