One of the biggest events in the art world, Art Basel, has been postponed as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take hold in Europe, it was announced that the four-day event will be held in September.
The Swiss Art Fair, which attracted almost 93,000 visitors from all over the world last year, would take place in June. But after announcing tight travel restrictions in Europe, organizers said in a press release that the decision to postpone was reached “in close consultation with a wide range of galleries, collectors, partners and external experts, with the goal of both protecting health and safety in our community and ensure that the fair will participate in the largest possible number of collectors, curators and art staff from our global network. “
Now in its 51st year, Art Basel is an important date in the cultural calendar, offering over 250 galleries an opportunity for court collectors in an industry that is still heavily dependent on sales to people. Organizers have not yet announced details of refunds or reimbursements for exhibiting galleries and ticket holders.
In a statement, Global Director of Art Basel Marc Spiegler said: ‘We thank our galleries for the support and understanding of our very complex decision to postpone the fair. We hope the situation improves quickly and we will work closely with our exhibitors to deliver a successful trade show in September. ”
Visitors arrive at Art Basel in 2019 Credit: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP via Getty Images
He further suggested that there was a possibility that the new exhibition days, currently set for September 17-20, could change. “At the same time, we are aware of how dynamic the Covid-19 situation is and will continue to monitor developments closely … we will adapt all our planning to the evolving situation,” he said.
Currently, the Swiss government’s ban on public and private events only runs until April 19. But while Art Basel would not begin until June 18, the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country, bordering northern Italy, continues. to grow. Switzerland has so far reported over 10,000 infections – more than both the UK and South Korea – and 153 deaths due to the virus.
Although Switzerland is not a member of the European Union and therefore excluded from the temporary closure of the bloc’s borders, the country has moved to restrict non-essential travel. On Wednesday, the government announced that only Swiss residents and citizens – and those in neighboring Liechtenstein – or people traveling for work-related or emergency reasons will be allowed.
Art Basel Exhibition Center designed architects Herzog & de Meuron Credit: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP via Getty Images
Art Basel joins a growing list of major art fairs to be canceled or postponed, from Photo London and Frieze New York to Jingart in Beijing. The financial impact of these cancellations is likely to be significant, with trade fairs accounting for over $ 16 billion in transactions – or 45% of sales of art dealers worldwide – according to a joint report by Art Basel and the Investment Bank. UBS.
Art Basel’s Miami Beach edition is still scheduled to continue in December.
Art Basel had not yet responded to CNN’s request for comment.