With more and more governments across the world calling for large-scale gatherings of people to be canceled and postponed in face of the continued spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19), three major art fairs—one in Buenos Aires that is considered to be among Latin America’s premier fairs; one in Cologne, Germany, that is a destination for collectors; and one in Texas—said they would postpone this year’s editions.
Art Cologne, the world’s oldest art fair, said it would postpone this year’s edition until November 19–22. It had originally been slated to run April 23–26. The fair was to convene more than 170 galleries from around the world.
“The health of all trade fair participants is our top priority,” the fair said in a statement. While the government that oversees Cologne had banned gatherings with more 1,000 until April 10, the fair said it was postponing this year’s edition because its organizers were expecting the ban to be prolonged.
In a statement sent to ARTnews, the organizers of arteBA, the fair in Argentina’s capital, said that they had no choice but to postpone the upcoming main fair and its satellite event, “Utopia 2020,” both scheduled for April 16–19, after the government of Buenos Aires suspended all major gatherings. ArteBA said that each year the fair receives around 90,000 visitors during its run.
The arteBA statement reads, “The measure is in line with the recommendations of authorities and specialists and with the efforts that the main actors of the art world are making on a global level in the face of this problem.… The organizers of arteBA stress that their first priority is to ensure the well-being and health of all those who are in one way or another linked to the fair, especially in an extremely delicate context such as the current one.”
ArteBA said it did not immediately have new dates, and that the timing for this year’s fair would be determined “once the conditions for the fair to run in an absolutely safe way.” The statement added that “special consideration” would be given to the “opinions and interests” of the participating exhibitors, sponsors, artist-run spaces, and more that contribute to the fair.
The organizers of the Dallas Art Fair in Texas also said that it would postpone the upcoming edition. Originally set to run April 16-19, it will now take place October 1–4. The fair said it would honor all tickets that had been purchased for the April dates.
In a statement, Kelly Cornell, the Dallas Art Fair’s director, said “While the decision was not made easily, the health and wellbeing of the Dallas Art Fair’s gallerists, visitors, and staff are our top priority and the fair must make every effort to contain the spread of the virus.”
Across the world, several art fairs have also recently called off their scheduled editions running this month and next, including the L.A. Art Book Fair and Paris Photo New York, which said on Wednesday, March 11 that they would not go on as planned.
Update, March 12, 2020, 1:30 p.m.: This article has been updated to include that Art Cologne has also been postponed.