Art Lovers Winners With Super Bowl Museum Wagers

January 31, 2014       Mark Hrywna      

It’s old hat for mayors of competing cities to make a friendly wager on the Super Bowl. Art museums in Denver and Seattle are upping their game, not only making a friendly bet but also talking smack on Twitter that might make Richard Sherman proud.

Sunday’s contest will pit the Denver Broncos against the Seattle Seahawks. Follow the hashtag #SAMvsDAM to keep up with the put-downs and one-liners.

Sherman is the Seahawks’ cornerback who made waves after an animated post-game interview following Seattle’s win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) and Denver Art Museum (DAM) have offered three-month loans of major works, with shipping and expenses for the prized artwork paid by the city that loses the big game.

SAM has offered Sound of Waves by Tsuji Kako, a 103-year-old, 5-by-12-foot Japanese screen featuring an eagle with outstretch wings from its Asian Art collection. Originally, SAM had offered a Forehead Mask by the Nuxualk Nation, which asked that it be withdrawn. DAM countered with The Broncho Buster, a nearly 2-foot bronze sculpture cast by Frederic Remington in 1902 from its western American art collection.

The wager and accompanying banter has spilled onto Twitter, where the museums have created the hashtag #SAMvsDAM to chronicle the back-and-forth. Among the tweets from @IheartSAM on Friday: “Is there an Andy Warhol at @denverartmuseum? They’ll be needing some chicken soup to nurse their loss come Monday. #SAMvsDAM #GoHawks.

In response to a tweet showing a Seattle fan visiting the sculpture, @DenverArtMuseum tweeted: “Thanks you for visiting. That’s the closest The Broncho Buster will be getting to Seattle.” Yes, Broncho is spelled with an h.

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray still have made the traditional wager of local goods in addition to a new bet that started with last year’s Super Bowl.

In a tradition that started with last year’s game, the winning mayor will host the mayor from the opposing team for a day of volunteer service with AmeriCorps members.

The service project will be carried out in partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and the Social Innovation Fund, among other programs. Last year, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake welcomed San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee and more than 100 AmeriCorps members to transform a vacant lot into a community park.

Hancock has offered up green chili from local restaurants as well as a hoodie, cap and skis made by Denver-based Icelantic Skis. He also will auction off a Denver-themed item to support Lifelong AIDS Alliance and wear an ensemble by the Seattle nonprofit’s thrift shop, in the spirit of Seattle-based rapper Macklemore’s hit song, “Thrift Shop.”

Murray wagered salmon and Dungeness crab, a road bike from a Seattle-based bike shop and a piece of blown glass art by Seattle artist Dale Chihuly The blown glass will be auctioned to benefit Denver’s Road Home and, should the Broncos win, Murray has pledged to wear Broncos pajamas on PJ Day, Feb. 6, to raise awareness for Denver’s Road Home “help Denver put homelessness to bed.”