As we enter the third year of the pandemic, the winter months again pose an existential threat to art fairs. As the seemingly milder but more contagious Omicron variant spreads across the world, many fairs scheduled for January and February have yet to postpone their dates to warmer days in early spring or summer.
Among those who have announced postponements in recent days are the London Art Fair, which runs from January 20 to April 24; the India Art Fair in New Delhi will take place from February 28 to May 1; and the Salon du Dessin and Drawing Now in Paris moved from May 18 to 23 and May 19 to 22, respectively.
In New York City, the Outsider Art Fair announced this week that it will postpone its March 3-6 event at the Metropolitan Pavilion and make proof of a vaccine booster mandatory for entry. The New York Winter Show has announced that it will also delay its opening on January 21, but has yet to announce a new date.
The most recent fair to drop the January and February calendar is Art GenÃ¨ve, which told Artnet News today that it will now take place March 3-6, instead of its usual dates in the last week of January. .
“Postponing the fair for five weeks presents a particular challenge for everyone involved,” Thomas Hug, fair director, told Artnet News. “However, since it will technically be the same show, we won’t really need to restructure it.”
The growing Swiss boutique was to accommodate 80 galleries, including Thaddaeus Ropac and Perrotin. He noted that âmostâ of the participants were able to reschedule their appointments, but not all.
âIt was to be expected that the show would be postponed,â said Silvia Bonsiepe, co-owner of Klemm’s, which participates in Art Geneva. âBut of course, it’s a shame that the year starts again like thisâ¦ This makes the schedule for the coming months – openings, trade fair trips – definitely more demanding.
Swiss and UK-based salons attribute their decisions not to government restrictions, but to a general sense of uncertainty.
âWe worked with our exhibiting galleries across the UK and around the world to make this decision,â said Sarah Monk, Director of the London Art Fair. âWe are working closely with all of our exhibiting galleries to deliver an exceptional fair in April 2022 and have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the new date.
For the India Art Fair, the date change was mandatory because it fell under the category of inter-company exhibitions and was therefore not allowed to take place.
However, some winter fairs are going as planned. In California, Frieze Los Angeles, which opens in mid-February, and FOG Design and Art, which takes place January 20-23 in San Francisco, have confirmed they are moving forward. Meanwhile, SEA Focus, which opens in Singapore next week, is also going as planned, as is Art Basel Hong Kong, which will take place later in the first quarter of this year, between March 24-26.
“We are aware that the situation surrounding the current pandemic is very dynamic and we are following developments closely,” said a spokesperson for Art Basel. âWe are introducing strong measures to create a safe and fair environment. The fair expects to share more details on its Hong Kong edition later this month.
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