Seattle Art Museum Switches Super Bowl Bet Art

Earlier this week, the Seattle Art Museum and the Denver Art Museum announced a playful Super Bowl bet, whereby the major respective city museum of the losing team agreed to temporarily lend a major artwork to the winning team’s city museum. But the museum’s never even got to the kickoff before a timeout was called.

Today, in response to opposition from the Nuxalk Nation, located in and around Bella Coola, British Columbia, the Seattle Art Museum is withdrawing its offer of a “Forehead Mask,” by the Nuxalk Nation, and offering another treasure from its collection “Sound of Waves,” a dramatic, six-paneled Japanese screen from 1901 by Tsuji Kakō, should the Seahawks lose to the Denver Broncos. We guess you could call it a bird of a different feather.

‘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,” said SAM’s director Kimerly Rorschach. “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,” she added.

Said Barbara Brotherton, SAM’s curator of Native American art: “ ‘The Forehead Mask’ was chosen because it’s a stunning example of our great Northwest Coast art collection.”

Seattle and Denver are offering temporary loans of major works of art depending on the outcome of the Super Bowl. The winning city will receive a three-month loan of the prized artwork. All shipping and expenses will be paid by the city that loses the game this Sunday, which is being hosted by New York and New Jersey for the first time ever.

Added Rorschach: “ ‘Sound of Waves’ is a masterpiece from our great Japanese art collection and a reflection of Seattle’s close connection to Asia. But we are still confident that the “Broncho Buster” will be headed to Seattle.”

Rorschach was referring to the iconic bronze sculpture by Frederic Remington that the Denver Art Museum has wagered in the event the Broncos go bust on Sunday.

— Eileen Kinsella (@KinsellaEK)

(Photo: Courtesy Seattle Art Museum)