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Art Basel cancels Hong Kong fair

Feb 08,2020

Art Basel is to cancel its Hong Kong fair because of the coronavirus outbreak, it said Friday, scrapping one of the international art market’s largest and most prestigious events.

The decision is fresh misery for Hong Kong, which has seen multiple major sporting and entertainment events pulled thanks to months of political unrest and now a growing health crisis.

In a statement, Art Basel blamed the “severe outbreak and spread of the new coronavirus” for its decision in cancelling the fair, which is a major draw for regional art buyers, especially among China’s super-wealthy.

Bernd Stadlwieser, CEO of MCH Group, the Swiss-based company behind the fair, said the decision to cancel was “an extremely difficult one.”

“We explored every other possible option, including postponing the fair, and gathered advice and perspectives from many gallerists, partners and external experts,” he said in a statement.

“However, today, we have no other option but to cancel the fair.”

The fair had been due to take place in late March.

Art Basel said it remained committed to Hong Kong and planned to host its next edition there in March 2021.

Alongside the Philippines, Hong Kong is the only place outside mainland China to have reported the death of an infected patient.
So far 22 people have tested positive for the virus in the city.

AFP