Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 1 October 2020

Coronavirus: June edition of Art Basel in Switzerland is postponed until September

The annual art fair was supposed to take place in June

An artwork on display Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland in 2019. The June 2020 show has now been postponed until September. EPA
An artwork on display Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland in 2019. The June 2020 show has now been postponed until September. EPA

The summer edition of international art fair Art Basel, which was set to take place in Basel, Switzerland between Thursday and Sunday, June 18 and 21, has been postponed until September. This is a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The show will now take place at Messe Basel from Thursday to Sunday, September 17 to 20, with preview days on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 15 and 16.

The announcement was made on Thursday, after a lengthy consultation between gallerists, collectors, partners and external experts.

Marc Spiegler, Art Basel's global director, said of the 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.

"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."

Art Basel Hong Kong 2020 was also cancelled, it was announced in February. Courtesy of Lawrie Shabibi 
Art Basel Hong Kong 2020 was also cancelled, it was announced in February. Courtesy of Lawrie Shabibi 

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

Further details on this were not available at the time of writing, but will be shared in the coming weeks.

I think they made the right choice

Yasmin Atassi, founder, Green Art Gallery

In February, the 2020 edition of Art Basel Hong Kong was cancelled. The Asian edition of the mammoth international art fair was meant to run from Thursday to Saturday, March 19 to 21 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

“It wasn’t that surprising,” said Yasmin Atassi, founder of Dubai’s Green Art Gallery, which was meant to participate at the fair for the first time this year. “We knew they were thinking about it because they sent an email last week ... But I think they made the right choice.”

Atassi says that she paid around $12,000 (Dh44,000) for the stand fee, 75 per cent of which will be reimbursed, as organisers stated.

Amid the pandemic, many arts events have been forced to cancel or postpone in order to help prevent the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, museums and art galleries across the world have shut their doors.

The art world is now turning digital, as online galleries and viewing rooms have been set up.

Updated: March 26, 2020 08:20 PM

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