Art Basel Hong Kong cancelled over coronavirus

A visitor takes a photo of an artwork created by Barbados-born American artist Ashley Bickteron at Art Basel in Hong Kong in 2019 Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

The high-profile annual Art Basel Hong Kong has been cancelled as the city grapples with the coronavirus outbreak.

This content was published on February 7, 2020 - 08:54
Reuters/Art Basel/ilj

The International art organisation said late Thursday that the show, scheduled to run from March 19 to 21 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, would no longer take place.

Catering to the growing Asian markets, Art Basel Hong Kong External linkstarted in 2013 as a spin-off from Art Basel, the world’s biggest art fair.

Art Basel External linksaid it had “no option” but to cancel the upcoming edition of Art Basel Hong Kong.

“Numerous factors informed this decision, including: fundamental concern for the health and safety of all those working at and attending the fair; the severe logistical challenges facing the build-out and transit of artwork to the show; and the escalating difficulties complicating international travel, all arising as a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus,” the statement said.External link

Marc Spiegler, Global Director, Art Basel, said that thoughts were with those affected by the virus. “The decision to cancel Art Basel Hong Kong was an extremely difficult one for us… We are acutely aware of the important role that the fair plays within the region's cultural scene and for our galleries, both in Asia and across the globe. Our team dedicated extensive time and effort to ensure our show in March would be a success over the course of the past year. Unfortunately, the sudden outbreak and rapid spread of the novel coronavirus radically changed the situation.”


Hong Kong saw its first death from the virus on Tuesday. It has confirmed 22 cases, two of them critical, with at least six of the latest cases transmitted locally, authorities said.

The virus, believed to have originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, has killed more than 630 people and infected more than 31,000, the vast majority of them in mainland China.

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