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A rendering of the X Museum. Photo: the X Museum.
A rendering of the X Museum. Photo: the X Museum.

China’s X Museum and He Art Museum Openings Postponed

Beijing’s highly anticipated X Museum has pushed back the March opening of its inaugural exhibition, “X Museum Triennale,” due to concerns over the coronavirus. The March 21 launch of the Tadao Ando–designed He Art Museum (HEM), located in the city of Foshan in China’s Guangdong province, has also been postponed. The announcements follow the temporary closure of several other museums and public spaces across China and Hong Kong.

“I don’t want to risk the health of our guests, our staff, and also our construction team,” X Museum cofounder and collector Michael Xufu Huang, formerly of the private contemporary art museum M Woods, told the Art Newspaper. He also said that the triennial, which will feature work by thirty-three artists, including Cheng Ran, Cui Jie, and Xiaoshi Vivian Vivian Qin, will possibly be delayed until mid- or late April.

A statement from HEM, a private project of billionaire He Jianfeng—the founder of the electrical appliance manufacturer the Midea Group—declared that its opening ceremony would be rescheduled in order to “minimize the risks of transmission.” “HEM is closely following the measures from the Chinese government and World Health Organization,” the statement reads.

The coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China. Since the first case was reported on December 31, 2019, the virus has reached every province in the country and has continued to spread. According to the New York Times, as of Tuesday there have been more than 420 deaths in China, and the Chinese government reported that 20,438 people are infected. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global public health emergency last week. In an attempt to contain the virus, China has barred people from traveling to and from Wuhan, and airlines have reduced flights to the country.

[Update: 2/5/20, 8:56AM]

On Wednesday, February 5, Beijing Gallery Weekend announced that it is delaying its 2020 edition, which was set to take place March 13 to March 20. Officials said that depending on whether conditions in China improve, the event will now be held in April. If the coronavirus has not been contained by then, Beijing Gallery Weekend will be canceled. Organizers will decide whether to suspend this year’s event by March 15.

“In order to prevent the spread of the virus, the Gallery Weekend Beijing team has been working remotely as of 1 February,” reads a statement issued by organizers. “Facing this major threat to public health, all members of the team will fully cooperate with prevention and control measures while still working online with the utmost efficiency. . . .We would like to warmly remind friends, colleagues, and visitors to stay safe, wear masks, and wash your hands frequently to protect your own health and that of your family. Thank you for supporting Gallery Weekend Beijing and for your anticipation for this week’s program. We will continue to present the most compelling exhibitions and events in Beijing when the epidemic ends.”