Menu Menu

Art Fairs respond to global coronavirus worries

With the threat of coronavirus seemingly growing on a daily basis, art fairs with international clienteles are being forced to postpone their events. Here’s what we know so far.

If we’re to believe what we’re told in the media, the outbreak of coronavirus in China has slowed significantly. But with South Korea, Italy, Iran, Australia, the US, and others continuing to report daily increases in confirmed cases within their respective nations, global trepidations are still very much alive. The latest industry to take precautionary action against the spread is Art and Design; specifically art fairs and exhibitions that encourage multicultural congregation.

Currently, there’s no global consensus on what should be done with these events, and instead each institution has been left to weigh up personal risk against profitability, with the public left to make their own judgements, for the most part.

If you’re keen to engross yourself in the arts in the coming weeks and months, here’s the dl from the marquee fairs and events that have confirmed their stance so far.

The Armory Show – also known the International Exhibition of Modern Art – is set to go ahead next Wednesday despite growing concerns in NYC, according to a new statement, and the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) is already underway in East Manhattan. However, the event body asserts that they’re continuing to ‘monitor the evolving situation surrounding the coronavirus’.

The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) in the Netherlands has already increased ‘precautionary measures’, including daily cleaning services and ample sanitation stations for the public. They boldly maintain that the venue is green lit for visitors. Again, this stance could change quickly after liaisons with local health authorities, so keep your eyes peeled and your ticket receipts handy if the TEFAF was in your wheelhouse this month.

With under two dozen reported cases in France, the director of the Art Paris fair Guillaume Piens is pushing ahead for April claiming that ‘there’s too much hysteria’ surrounding the outbreak. A few hundred kilometres east, the Art Basel fair in Switzerland has had their hand forced by Swiss law to axe their landmark fair this June, following a contentious ban on gatherings of more than 1000 people in the country. Instead, the ABS will go forward in January 2021. Art Basel Hong Kong has been nipped in the bud for obvious reasons.

With Northern Italy being something of a red zone at the minute, two significant fairs in Milan have been forced to reschedule too. The Salone del Mobile Furniture fair being pushed back to June and the MIA Photo Fair being frozen indefinitely – though it is likely to go ahead at some stage in 2020.

While these fairs represent only a small portion of the travelling arts community and its showcases, we can now expect other institutions to follow suit and issue their own statements ahead of the summer schedule. So, to all the art connoisseurs out there: stay vigilant, and double check each institution’s (and nations) policies before eating into your precious holidays.