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Art Basel Cancels Upcoming Hong Kong Fair

Art Basel Hong Kong's 2019 edition. La dépossession, 2014 by Latifa Echakhch

After weeks of ongoing discussions concerning the health safety of the attendees, the Art Basel Hong Kong’s 2020 edition has been cancelled due to the outbreak and spread of the new coronavirus.

MCH Group, the fair owners, officially made a statement earlier stating that the event, which was supposed to take place March 19-21 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, was unable to take place due to the ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus that has affected over 45,000 people and took the lives of over 1,000 people, and also over 4,700 people recovered.

Image Credit: Bloomberg “Protective masks all around as commuters walk through Hong Kong Station on January 29.”

The MCH Group made this necessary decision after the World Health Organization declared the virus a global emergency health event. In the content of the statement, 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.’

This is a crushing decision for everyone involved and for those planning to visit the event. Adeline Ooi, Art Basel’s director of Asia continues 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.’

The next edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong will take place from March 25 to March 27, 2021.


Source of deaths attributable to the Covid-19 outbreak and total-confirmed cases as of Tuesday (11th Feb 2020):






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