A whopping 242 exhibitors will participate in the 2020 edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong. That is the same number of galleries that participated in this year’s edition of the fair, though next year they will hail from 31 different countries, as opposed to the 35 countries represented at the 2019 edition. Other key differences this time around are that the fair is likely to unfold against the backdrop of an ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China that has direct consequences for the art trade and the pro-democracy movement that has gripped Hong Kong for the past several months.
In a statement sent to Artsy, Art Basel spokesperson Dorothee Dines said:
With several months to go until our scheduled show opens in late March 2020, we feel it is too early to speculate as to what the situation in Hong Kong will be like then and whether extra precautions will be needed. That said, both Art Basel and the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre have established robust security protocols in place for each and every edition of the show, and we are working closely with all partners, including the HKCEC, to ensure all necessary measures are in place to maintain the safety of all involved in the show. The safety of our staff, exhibitors and visitors always remains our top priority, and we will continue to closely monitor the situation and will plan accordingly.
The 2020 fair will feature 11 first-time participants; many hail from Europe and the U.S., including Germany’s Konrad Fischer Galerie, New York’s David Lewis, Jessica Silverman Gallery of San Francisco, Los Angeles’s Park View / Paul Soto, London gallery Southard Reid, and Zurich’s Galerie Gregor Staiger. A handful of galleries will also make their return to Art Basel in Hong Kong following a hiatus, including Marlborough and Galerie Eva Presenhuber.
In its announcement, Art Basel noted that half of the exhibiting galleries now have locations in Asia and the Asia Pacific area, reflecting the region’s increasing indispensability for galleries looking to do business globally. According to the most recent edition of economist Clare McAndrew’s Art Market Report, China accounted for 19 percent of the global art trade in 2018, trailing only the U.S. and U.K.
Next year marks the 50th anniversary of Art Basel, and as such it will present specially curated projects at each of its three major fairs, overseen by German curator Kasper König. In Hong Kong, the 50th anniversary presentation will be curated by Christina Li, who curated Hong Kong’s presentation at this year’s Venice Biennale.
Art Basel’s golden jubilee celebrations coincide with some major restructuring by its parent company, MCH Group, which over the past year has scuttled its plan to build up its portfolio of regional fairs, and has recently considered selling off its marketing branch. In the summer of 2018 the CEO of MCH Group, René Kamm, resigned amid turmoil at another of the company’s signature expos, the Baselworld watch and jewelry fair.
A full list of the galleries participating in the 2020 edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong is available here. The fair will run March 19 to 21, 2020, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.