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Artists on the field connecting with artists on canvas

By Staff | Feb 5, 2010

Look out! Culinary delights and art will be up for grabs at the upcoming Super Bowl. How exciting!

It has been a tradition for the mayors of the cities whose teams will be appearing at the Super Bowl to make a friendly wager on the game. This comes only after they have bragged about their team and cities. Making a friendly wager on the game is done by betting some of the things for which their city is famous. Recently, Mayor Greg Ballard of Indianapolis and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin appeared on CBS and revealed their antes. At stake is always a food delight-truly the finest pot! From the south, Mayor Nagin offers up Mardi Gras season King Cakes, which are a cinnamon roll-like cake inside with sugary icing with traditional Mardi Gras colored sprinkles on the outside. The cakes have a small trinket – often a small plastic baby sometimes said to represent Baby Jesus – hidden in them. The person who gets the trinket has various privileges and obligations. Caf Au Lait, the famous French coffee drink, and Beignets which is the French word for fried dough served with powdered sugar are also part of the culinary delight.

Indianapolis Mayor Ballard puts at stake St. Elmo’s fire – the famed and fiery shrimp cocktail from St. Elmo’s Steakhouse. Folks from all over the world come to try this powerful horseradish laced cocktail. It has been rumored to have the kicking power of a bucking young colt!

There are sports fan dropouts and yours truly is one of them. However, now that teams are taking an interest in argyle, and culinary delights are being put up as stakes, my interest has been rejuvenated. In fact, a truly paramount sports moment involving art recently occurred and it has me truly interested in the outcome of the Super Bowl. Yes, sports and the arts will be at the center on the field on game day, Feb. 7.

In a recent huddle, the two directors from the Indianapolis Museum of Art, also known as IMA, and New Orleans Museum of Art, also known as NOMA, came up with a game plan. Their formation involves wagering works of fine art to be on loan depending on the outcome of the Saints-Colts match up. John Bullard, who is the director at NOMA, and IMA director, Maxwell Anderson, have shared in some good ribbing and both have placed works of art on the goal line. Not surprising, each has been planning how they will premiere their claimed treasure and neither feels any need to check on packing materials. So at this point, we do have a game free of interference!

If the Saints are to win the handoff, NOMA will receive a beautiful painting entitled, “The Fifth Plague of Egypt.” This work was done by the renowned artist Joseph Mallord William Turner in 1800. Turner was an English romantic landscape painter. He is commonly known as “the painter of light.” The clouds in this painting give way to his extreme talent of seeing light. Now if the Colts succeed, the IMA will have on loan the amazing painting entitled, “Ideal View of Tivoli” by Claude Lorrain completed in 1644. Lorrain is often considered by many to be the grandfather/founder of landscape painting. He was an artist of the Baroque era and his painting reveals why fellow artists claimed him to be the victor of the “most perfect landscape painting.” With pairing like these, you have just witnessed man to man coverage in the art world.

While attending Minot State University, opportunity knocked and I had the chance to visit the Indianapolis Museum of Art. It is home to a collection of over 50,000 works of art. IMA, founded in 1883, is ranked the fifth largest and oldest general art museum in the country. My heart raced at two places while visiting there – on the track of the Indianapolis 500 Speedway and while strolling by canvas after canvas of astonishing brushstrokes at the IMA.

New Orleans Museum of Art emphasizes French art and my beloved French Impressionist painter, Edgar Degas, is well represented there. I have not had the privilege yet of visiting this beautiful museum. The museum’s collections were fortunately elevated high enough to escape the flooding of Katrina. Both museums have wonderful outreach programs. In fact, in New Orleans they have a museum-on-wheels known as “Van Go.”

In the light of the Super Bowl, these remarkable museums are getting a bit of limelight – almost fame -and surely they are entitled. Like the great stadiums, these two buildings are striking, gorgeous, and examples of fine architecture. Their beauty is a susceptible seduction triggering you to open that door to step inside, wander, savor and discover the beauty of art. Who knows? This artful wager may just become a tradition with the Super Bowl. We know that seizing the Super Bowl title relies deeply on observational skill and quick thinking. This is also true in promoting art and I commend John Bullard and Maxwell Johnson for seeing this chance and jumping on it. Artists on the field connecting with artists on canvas..now there’s a touchdown with an extra point!

Repnow is a Rugby resident.

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