Art Basel Hong Kong Pushed Back As Covid Surges

January 29th, 2022

Yesterday, Art Basel ate FIAC’s lunch; today it saw the contents of its own plate unceremoniously dumped in the trash as Covid surged in Hong Kong, forcing the Swiss art fair operator to delay its Hong Kong fair by two months. Originally planned to be held in March, Art Basel Hong Kong will now take place May 27–29, with preview days May 25–26. The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre will remain the hosting venue.

“By taking this decision early, our goal is to ensure that we will be able to welcome the broadest possible community of art supporters and members of the public at HKCEC, in addition to the international audience that will be joining us virtually, while protecting the health and safety of everyone concerned,” said fair officials.

The fair’s organizers, rightly cautious as the global pandemic enters its third year, had as part of a contingency plan netted the May dates at the time they scheduled the Hong Kong iteration. China, hardened by its past dealings with the 2003 SARS outbreak, has strict protocols in place regarding disease prevention. Though travel restrictions implemented last year calling for arriving international visitors to quarantine for twenty-one days were only last week loosened, with a two-week quarantine instated, Art Basel organizers sought to get ahead of any coming complications that might negatively affect the 137 participating international galleries or the many visitors expected.

“Given the current government guidelines in Hong Kong, it has become clear that moving the fair to May is the right decision. We had anticipated this potential scenario in our planning process, and very much look forward to hosting gallerists, collectors, and art lovers at the HKCEC at that time,” said Art Basel Asia director Adeline Ooi.