Last year, before the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints met in the Super Bowl, MAN instigated a bet between the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Each museum put one of its most significant paintings on the line: The IMA wagered a JMW Turner (The Fifth Plague of Egypt, 1800, at right) against a NOMA Claude Lorrain. In the end, Indy’s Turner spent some time in New Orleans. The unconventional wager was a lot of fun: During football’s two biggest weeks, a couple of art museums got prime coverage from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, the BBC and dozens of other newspapers, television stations and radio networks around the world.
Fast forward to 2011: Let the betting begin! In the NFC championship game, the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears, 21-14, while in the AFC the Pittsburgh Steelers held off the New York Jets, 24-19. So let’s go, Milwaukee Art Museum and Carnegie Museum of Art: Let the wagering begin!