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Art Basel, 2019. Courtesy of Art Basel.

Art Basel Cancels Swiss Fair over Coronavirus Concerns

On Saturday, Art Basel canceled the upcoming edition of its Swiss fair, which was initially postponed from June to September and scheduled to run from September 17 to September 20. The announcement followed discussions with participating galleries, collectors, and experts and an “extensive analysis of the current global situation.”

Organizers cited health and safety concerns and financial risks posed by the pandemic and the uncertainty about international travel restrictions. The Swiss Federal Council also still needs to set a date for the lifting of the country’s ban on large-scale events. As of June 6, the government permitted gatherings of three hundred people.

“We are acutely aware that our galleries are facing unprecedented challenges and economic difficulties, and we had fervently hoped to support the art market’s recovery with a successful fair in September,” said Marc Spiegler, Art Basel’s global director. “Unfortunately, the uncertainties that we face remain too high. The best way forward for our Basel show is therefore to focus on delivering a fair of the same exceptional international quality that the artworld expects from us next June, as we continue to support our galleries by further developing our digital platforms and by delivering our upcoming shows in Miami Beach and Hong Kong.”

Participating galleries will feature works on its Online Viewing Rooms platform later this month. The site will be accessible to the public from June 19 to June 26, with preview days from June 17 to June 19. The Swiss fair’s next physical edition will take place in June 2021.

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