Art Basel Hong Kong is Cancelled for 2020, Citing "Spread of the New Coronavirus"
After what has been rumoured for weeks, and after what appeared to be pressure from international galleries prepping to travel in the next month, Art Basel Hong Kong officially cancelled their fair today for the 2020 year. We thought perhaps a ponement might occur, but with the art world basically on tour with fairs all year round, the fair will, for now, resume in March 25—27, 2021. We of course were preparing our own coverage of the 2020 fair, and with a stream of shows happening during the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, were alwaya a bit curious of how the international art spotlight on such a major city would affect change there. Now, that, too, is on hold.
Here is the press release, in full, and our coverage of 2019 in the gallery above.
Art Basel announces the cancellation of its upcoming fair in Hong Kong due to the outbreak and spread of the new coronavirus. Art Basel Hong Kong was scheduled to take place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) from March 19 to March 21, 2020.
Following the severe outbreak of the novel coronavirus, which has recently been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization, Art Basel has no option but to cancel the upcoming edition of Art Basel Hong Kong. Numerous factors informed this decision, including: fundamental concern for the health and safety of all those working at and attending the fair; the severe logistical challenges facing the build-out and transit of artwork to the show; and the escalating difficulties complicating international travel, all arising as a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Marc Spiegler, Global Director, Art Basel said: ‘Our thoughts are with those affected by the recent coronavirus outbreak around the world. The decision to cancel Art Basel Hong Kong was an extremely difficult one for us. We explored every other possible option before doing so, gathering advice and perspectives from many gallerists, collectors, partners and external experts. We are acutely aware of the important role that the fair plays within the region's cultural scene and for our galleries, both in Asia and across the globe. Our team dedicated extensive time and effort to ensure our show in March would be a success over the course of the past year. Unfortunately, the sudden outbreak and rapid spread of the novel coronavirus radically changed the situation.’
Adeline Ooi, Director Asia, Art Basel said: ‘We are deeply grateful to our exhibitors, partners, and friends all over the world, and especially in Hong Kong, who have stood by our side, lent their support, and shared insights and opinions over the past days and months. Our commitment to Asia and Hong Kong has not changed, and we look forward to the 2021 edition.’