Art Basel organizers cancel Swiss show due to COVID-19

Organizers of Art Basel have postponed the September show to June 2021. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI
Organizers of Art Basel have postponed the September show to June 2021. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo

June 6 (UPI) -- Art Basel organizers have canceled the show in Basel, Switzerland this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers announced in a statement the 2020 cancellation of the 50th anniversary edition of the annual show, otherwise set to take place in September.


The Basel fair features 250 galleries and over 4,000 artists from five continents, according to the fair's website.

The Swiss show was already postponed from June due to health concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

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"The 2020 Swiss fair will not take place as planned," an Art Basel statement read. "While there are signs of hope as individual countries are coming out of lockdown, the global situation remains precarious, and, unfortunately, too many uncertainties remain to go ahead with the fair. These include health risks posed by large gatherings, the limitations on intercontinental travel, and the unclear Swiss regulatory environment for shows of Art Basel's size."

The show has been rescheduled to take place from June 17-20, 2021.

"We are aware that our galleries are facing unprecedented challenges and economic difficulties, and we had really hoped to support the art market's recovery with a successful show in September," said Marc Spiegler, Art Basel global director and executive board member of its Swiss parent company, MCH Group, in a separate statement. "Unfortunately, the uncertainties that we face remain too high. We will continue to develop our digital platforms and to offer fairs of the highest quality to support our galleries and the global art community in revitalizing the art market."

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Earlier this year, Art Basel canceled its Hong Kong show due to the spread of the coronavirus that was otherwise scheduled to take place from March 19-21. Online viewing rooms were launched to allow exhibitors to present artworks they had planned to display at Art Basel Hong Kong.

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