For the 13th year in a row, a masterpiece will be on the line during this year’s Superbowl.
While quarterback Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles battle star Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs for yards and touchdowns, the chief executives of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art will be closely watching, rooting for their home teams.
This year, there is more than the Vince Lombardi Trophy at stake for the winning city. On February 6, PAM’s director and CEO Sasha Suda bet one master work from the museum’s permanent collection that her Eagles would make short work of the Chiefs. The Nelson-Atkins leadership took the bet, confident that the Eagles don’t stand a chance and offered a preemptive consolation prize of “the best of our Kansas City barbeque” when the Chiefs come out on top.
As with any bet, there was some (friendly) trash talking.
“When the Eagles soar to victory, we will warmly greet our friends from the Nelson-Atkins and treat them to unforgettable cheesesteaks here in Philadelphia,” Suda said in a press release. “They have such a remarkable collection, and we will be thrilled to share a piece of it with our visitors, in a very special Point After Touchdown (PAT). We’ll make it feel right at home in our galleries and display it with Philly pride.”
The Nelson-Atkins director Julián Zugazagoitia responded in kind: “We expect to offer our Philadelphia friends something they’ll long remember after the Chiefs make short work of the Eagles. Philadelphia’s museum has so many amazing works, and they will see how wonderful the PMA loan will appear in our beautiful galleries.”
Known as the Museum Bowl, the tradition of major institutions in NFL Conference-winning cities putting up a work of art for temporary loan to the Superbowl-winning city started in 2010 when art writer Tyler Green dared the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art to bet the loan of an important artwork on that year’s game, according to CNN.
That year, the New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Museum of Art got to temporarily house a painting by J.M.W. Turner, The Fifth Plague of Egypt (1800).
Last year, the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens bet the Cincinnati Art Museum (CAM) that the Los Angeles Rams would beat Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI.
The Rams won, 23-20 and CAM loaned Huntington’s Patience Serious (1915) by Robert Henri.