Art Market

Beijing’s art world faces another lockdown amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Justin Kamp
Jun 17, 2020 4:23PM, via The Art Newspaper

People who had their car number plates recorded in the area of the Xinfadi market where a new COVID-19 coronavirus cluster emerged last week, wait to do swab tests for the coronavirus as a medical worker stands nearby at a testing centre in Beijing on June 17, 2020. Photo by Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images.

A new cluster of COVID-19 cases in Beijing’s Fengtai District has sent some of the city’s art world institutions back into lockdown. As of Tuesday, Chinese officials have traced 137 new cases to the Xinfadi Wholesale Produce Market in southern Beijing, with schools across the city closing as a result, along with residential buildings in the surrounding area being placed under quarantine. Several private museums have followed suit, voluntarily closing locations to stem the spread of infections. M Woods closed its doors today after reopening on June 12th, while Minsheng Art Museum Beijing and the newly-launched X Museum closed earlier this week. The UCCA Center for Contemporary Art will remain open at a 30 percent attendance capacity in accordance with government guidelines.

While a number of museums have shut their doors, commercial galleries in the city’s 798 Art Zone and Caochangdi district have remained open, albeit in limited capacity. In 798, galleries will continue to comply with government-mandated guidelines including the aforementioned 30 percent capacity, mandatory temperature checks, and visitor registration, while in Caochangdi most galleries are open to visitors only by appointment, with most staff working from home. The management of 798 have also closed the Up&Coming sector of Gallery Weekend Beijing three days ahead of its scheduled closing.

The resurgence in cases in China’s capital comes as much of the rest of the art world is still reeling from the initial outbreak. Earlier this month, Art Basel canceled its marquee Swiss fair after initially postponing it from June to September.

Further Reading: In the Midst of COVID-19, Chinese Galleries Adapt and Persevere

Further Reading: As Galleries in Asia Reopen for Business, Health and Safety Are Top Priorities

Justin Kamp
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019