Art Market

Art Dubai postponed its 2020 fair due to concerns about the coronavirus.

Daria Simone Harper
Mar 3, 2020 4:26PM, via Gulf News

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and the ruler of Dubai, visits the 2019 edition of Art Dubai. Photo courtesy Art Dubai.

Art Dubai announced on Tuesday that the 14th edition of the art fair, set to take place from March 25th to 28th, will be postponed due to growing concerns about the coronavirus. More than 20 cases of the coronavirus have been reported in the United Arab Emirates, where Dubai is located. The fair was slated to gather 90 galleries at the Madinat Jumeirah resort later this month, but will instead focus on holding a smaller lineup of events and exhibitions focused on the local arts scene.

The fair’s CEO Benedict Floyd, its artistic director Pablo del Val, and international director Chloe Vaitsou, said in a joint statement:

Given the essential role the fair plays in promoting local and regional artists, we have made the decision to stage a programme tailored to the local cultural community instead, including existing fair programme contributors and thought-leaders.

The new format, which is planned to run on the same dates, will feature “events, exhibitions, talks, and strands of the existing Art Dubai program,” according to the official announcement. The statement also shared that the revised program will have the same objectives and aim to bring “commercial, institutional, and critical engagement with Dubai’s art ecosystem— a commitment of support to our local community that we felt an imperative to uphold.”

Further details regarding the program are forthcoming, while specifics about when the postponed fair will actually take place are unknown. The fair’s officials said that in adhering to Dubai’s “strictest medical and hygiene protocols,” they will welcome international visitors in March and urged travelers to follow the protocol of their country of residence.

Art Dubai is the latest art world event to be seriously scaled back, postponed, relocated, or outright canceled due to the global outbreak of the deadly coronavirus. Art Basel decided last month to cancel this year’s edition of its Hong Kong fair; Sotheby’s relocated many of its spring Hong Kong auctions to New York; Gallery Weekend Beijing was postponed; and the Louvre in Paris as well as institutions in Italy, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, and Japan have closed in efforts to control the virus’s spread.

Daria Simone Harper