The Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City have upped the ante for Super Bowl LVII, putting art on the line. Both museums will watch with anticipation as the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs face off this Sunday, February 12, and the institution with the losing team will temporarily loan one piece from their permanent collections to the winner.
“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,” Sasha Suda, the PMA’s director, said in a statement. “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 responded to PMA’s light ribbing, assuring that if the Chiefs win the Super Bowl, PMA’s loan will look stunning in the Kansas City art museum.
“We expect to offer our Philadelphia friends something they’ll long remember after the Chiefs make short work of the Eagles,” said Nelson-Atkins Director Julián Zugazagoitia.
Last year, the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens wagered with the Cincinnati Art Museum (CAM) for the Super Bowl LVI. When the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20, CAM loaned Huntington “Patience Serious” (1915) by Robert Henri.
The tradition started 13 years ago, when art writer Tyler Green proposed getting art museums involved in the football mania that occurs in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. When the New Orleans Saints won against the Indianapolis Colts that initial year, the Indianapolis Museum of Art loaned the New Orleans Museum of Art J.M.W. Turner’s 19th-century painting “The Fifth Plague of Egypt” (1800).
“I thought that I’d like to see more art museums come down off the hill, so to speak, and be part of their communities in a more engaged way,” Green told CNN in 2011.