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After canceling its Hong Kong fair, Art Basel will launch online viewing rooms.

Photo © Art Basel.

Photo © Art Basel.

Art Basel will launch online viewing rooms in March timed to what would have been the 2020 edition of their Hong Kong fair, which was canceled earlier this month amid fears about the coronavirus outbreak. The first iteration of the initiative will run from March 20th to 25th; all the galleries that had signed up for this year’s Art Basel in Hong Kong have been invited to participate for free. VIP previews will begin on March 18th.

While the viewing rooms will provide a virtual alternative for this year’s Hong Kong fair, Art Basel emphasized that the initiative will run parallel to future editions of its fairs, giving gallerists space to showcase additional curated exhibitions not presented at the fair, with works’ price ranges included. For collectors, the viewing rooms will allow them to browse works, search by galleries, artists, and medium, and contact galleries directly with sales inquiries.

Marc Spiegler, the Global Director of Art Basel, said in a statement:

As the art market continues to evolve, Art Basel has continually investigated how new technologies can give us new opportunities to support our galleries. The Online Viewing Rooms will provide galleries with a further possibility for engaging with our global audiences, complementing the essential personal interactions that continue to underlie the art market.

Art Basel’s embrace of the digital follows in the footsteps of many galleries, including David Zwirner and Gagosian, which launched online viewing rooms in 2017 and 2018, respectively, and have set sales records for works by Albert Oehlen and Yayoi Kusama through those avenues.

Art Basel’s online viewing rooms will be available via the fair’s app and website.

Further Reading: For Galleries, Online Viewing Rooms Are About Storytelling and Sales