As parts of Florida continue reopening despite a spike in new coronavirus cases throughout the state, the organizers of Art Basel Miami Beach emailed exhibitors on Wednesday to inform them that, as of now, the fair will proceed as planned in early December. “For us, as for everyone else, it is still challenging to predict what the global situation will be like in December,” reads the letter, signed by Art Basel’s Noah Horowitz (Director Americas), Maureen Bruckmayr (Head of Business & Management Americas), and Dunja Gottweis (Regional Head of Gallery Relations Americas). “We nevertheless remain deeply committed to holding the fair in Miami Beach if at all feasible.”
The letter also informs exhibitors that Art Basel has revoked its original deadline for withdrawal, which had been scheduled for August 1. If they had canceled after that date, galleries would be responsible for paying 75 percent of the total booth fees. Now, galleries have until October 1 to decide as to whether or not they will participate. If the fair is ultimately canceled, Art Basel said it would fully refund all previously paid fees.
The letter didn’t provide details as to how the fair—scheduled for December 3–6—might be reconfigured to accommodate social distancing measures and cleaning protocols but stated that updates on such matters will be relayed to exhibitors by early September.
Florida has been among the states to see high levels of new coronavirus cases in the past few weeks, according to data published by the New York Times. The state has reported a total of more than 213,000 cases with 3,840 confirmed deaths as of Wednesday morning, and Florida’s Department of Health reported more than 7,300 new infections for Tuesday. Miami-Dade County, where Art Basel is staged, has been the hardest hit in the state with more than 51,000 total cases and 1,057 deaths, about 27.5 percent of the state’s total death toll. Elsewhere in Florida, moves toward reopening have continued, with Walt Disney World in Orlando planning to open its gates to the public on Saturday.
“We very much hope that you will remain committed to participating in Art Basel Miami Beach in December,” the letter from the fair’s organizers continues. “However, please know that if you ultimately decide to withdraw, this will by no means impact your relationship with Art Basel or your participation in future shows. We fully recognize the complexities of the current situation and value above all else our long-term relationship with you, as part of Art Basel’s global community of gallerists.”