Mar 19, 2020
News

Cultural institutions in East Asia started reopening as the spread of COVID-19 slowed.

An entrance to the Hong Kong Museum of Art. Photo by MD SMARKA, via Wikimedia Commons.

An entrance to the Hong Kong Museum of Art. Photo by MD SMARKA, via Wikimedia Commons.

As the spread of COVID-19 slows in some East Asian countries, cultural institutions and galleries are cautiously reopening their spaces and making plans to relaunch their public programming, ArtAsiaPacific reported.
More than 180 public museums in China resumed operations on March 15th, following the reboot of factories and businesses. The Power Station of Art in Shanghai reopened on March 13th, having implimented precautionary measures such as temperature checks, an online reservation system, and the scanning of visitors’ health codes (a system that indicates whether an individual should be in quarantine). Several private galleries in Shanghai have also announced upcoming shows for April and May. ShanghArt will host a group show, and a solo exhibition by artist Yu Youhan at its Beijing location.
Hong Kong is also slowly recovering from the impacts of the virus. On March 4th, the M+ Pavilion at the West Kowloon Cultural District reopened its show of artists nominated for the inaugural Sigg Prize. A note on the exhibition website states that “enhanced hygiene measures are being implemented” and visitors have to wear a mask and undergo a temperature screening. The Hong Kong Museum of Art has been welcoming a limited number of visitors in two-hour timed intervals since March 11th.
Most of the major museums in Japan remain closed under the government’s guidelines, while others—including the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa—have chosen to remain open despite the COVID-19 outbreak. South Korea was hit especially hard by the pandemic, but the nation has managed to contain the spread of the virus through testing and a swift halt on social activities. Art Sonje Center, at the heart of Seoul’s art district, has an opening set for March 24th of Hwayeon Nam’s exhibition “Mind Stream.”
Singapore and Taiwan are two major art hubs in Asia that never fully stopped their activities. On March 27th, the National Gallery Singapore will open its touring exhibition of Southeast Asian modernist Latiff Mohidin, called “Pago Pago.” Taiwan has largely carried on with its regular schedule of exhibitions. The Taipei Fine Arts Museum will launch a solo exhibition of Erwin Wurm on April 2nd, as well as a retrospective on abstractionist Paul Chiang beginning March 28th.

Further Reading: Ongoing Coverage of COVID-19’s Impact on the Art World