Art Basel canceled a three-day art and technology conference it was organizing in Abu Dhabi next year. Dubbed Art Basel Inside, the event was first announced in September and was to be co-hosted by Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism. Marc-Olivier Wahler, the director of the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Geneva, was tapped to be its curator and described Art Basel Insider as “not in an art fair, not in a museum, and also not really a summit.”
Tickets for the event were going to cost $15,000, according to artnet News, well ahead of the marquee TED conference (where most tickets cost $10,000), but not quite as pricey as the $19,000-a-head World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Art Basel had hoped to attract some 300 attendees to its Abu Dhabi affair, which, had they all paid full price for admission, would have brought the company $4.5 million in revenue.
In a statement quoted by ARTnews, Art Basel said:
Art Basel Inside in Abu Dhabi in February 2020 was always an ambitious project on quite a short timeline. [. . .] Despite a lot of excitement for the project, support from our partners, and incredibly hard work by the team, we were not able to move forward with Art Basel Inside.
In addition to being organized on a tight timeline, the Abu Dhabi event was also scheduled for February 14 to 16, 2020, meaning it would have coincided with the second edition of Frieze Los Angeles.