In yet another resounding message that coronavirus is having a sweeping and halting impact worldwide, Art Basel, the world’s largest art fair, has announced it will be postponing its Swiss event, normally held in June, to September 2020.
Founded in 1970 by gallerists Trudl Bruckner and Balz Hilt, alongside Ernst Beyeler, a dealer and collector, Art Basel was an instant success and today is considered a premier event for collectors, curators and arts professionals. Art Basel has expanded beyond its Swiss borders to two other destinations, including Miami Beach, which sees a growing number of galleries and art enthusiasts participating since its debut here in 2002. Hong Kong, the other city hosting Art Basel (normally held in March), had to cancel the fair this year as well in efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The impact of today’s announcement will affect almost 300 galleries scheduled to exhibit. Art Basel’s Global Director, Marc Spiegler, expressed gratitude for the cooperation of all those involved in the difficult decision.
“We thank our galleries for the support and understanding of our highly complex decision to postpone the fair. We hope that the situation improves swiftly, and we will work closely with our exhibitors to deliver a successful fair in September. At the same time, we are aware of how dynamic the COVID-19 situation is and will continue to monitor the developments closely. The health and safety of our exhibitors, partners, guests and teams remains our main priority and we will adapt all our planning to the developing situation.”
The pandemic has already had a crippling effect on cultural life in South Florida, with major museums such as Perez Art Museum Miami, the Frost Museum of Science and the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami having to close their doors and offer online programs to reach out and engage with art enthusiasts now suddenly finding themselves homebound. In that same thread, Art Basel offers a new digital platform–the Online Viewing Rooms–in efforts to support galleries struggling as a result of the unforeseen health crisis. For more information, visit artbasel.com.