Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 1 December 2020

Switzerland's Art Basel 2020 cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic

The annual art show was earlier postponed until September

Art Basel has cancelled its 2020 show. Courtesy Art Basel
Art Basel has cancelled its 2020 show. Courtesy Art Basel

As uncertainties around the length and severity of the coronavirus pandemic loom, Art Basel is the latest cultural event to cancel its 2020 iteration.

The annual art fair was originally supposed to take place in Basel, Switzerland between Thursday and Sunday, June 18 and 21. However, as Covid-19 took hold in March, the decision was made to postpone the event to September 17 to 20, 2020.

However, on Saturday, the art fair's global director Marc Spiegler announced that the September event would be cancelled, and the next Art Basel would take place in June 2021.

The decision had been made after consultation with Art Basel gallerists, collectors, partners and external experts. The discussions revolved around health and safety risks due to the pandemic, financial risks for exhibitors and partners, the ongoing impediments to international travel, and the fact that regulations around large-scale events have yet to be finalised by the Swiss Federal Council.

"We are acutely aware that our galleries are facing unprecedented challenges and economic difficulties, and we had fervently hoped to support the art market’s recovery with a successful fair in September," Spiegler said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, the uncertainties that we face remain too high. The best way forward for our Basel show is therefore to focus on delivering a fair of the same exceptional international quality that the art world expects from us next June, as we continue to support our galleries by further developing our digital platforms and by delivering our upcoming shows in Miami Beach and Hong Kong."

The next edition of Art Basel will take place from June 17 to 20, 2021, with preview days on June 15 and 16, 2021.

The fair won't completely disappear, however, as the team has promised to enhance its new digital platform, the Online Viewing Rooms, as a way to support galleries during these challenging times.

The Online Viewing Rooms will be live from June 19 to 26, 2020, with preview days between June 17 and 19.

In February, 2020's Art Basel Hong Kong was cancelled. The Asian iteration of the mammoth international art fair was meant to run from March 19 to 21 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Tickets are now on sale for the 2021 event, scheduled to take place from March 25 to 27.

Updated: June 6, 2020 02:53 PM

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