Art Basel Postpones Next Hong Kong Show to May Due to Covid-19

Art Basel Hong Kong, one of the most prestigious art fairs in Asia, is postponing its show as the global pandemic has upended international travel, the organizers said Tuesday.

The fair will take place from May 21-23 instead of the usual March period, with VIP preview days starting on May 19. This year, Art Basel Hong Kong became the first major event to cancel due to the coronavirus, and scores of other trade events followed, including the Art Basel in Switzerland and in Miami.

“It’s not really a shock, everything keeps getting pushed out quarterly,” said Tim Blum, co-owner of the Blum & Poe gallery in Los Angeles, New York and Tokyo, who participates in all Art Basel fairs. “We are kind of in this mode. I haven’t left the state of California in eight months. The museums in Los Angeles are still closed.”

The decision to postpone the event, whose last edition in 2019 attracted 88,000 people, was made in consultation with galleries and collectors, Switzerland’s MCH Group AG, the organizer, said in a statement. Travel restrictions were a big part of the decision. Since March, Art Basel pivoted online, offering participants a chance to sell their pieces in virtual viewing rooms. MCH shares have slumped 43% this year.

Later this month, Art Basel will present 22 Hong Kong-based galleries in a special section at Fine Art Asia fair on the island — in person.

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