As the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, another art fair has announced that it will postpone its upcoming edition. The organizers of Art Dubai said on Tuesday, March 3, that this year’s edition will no longer run on its originally planned dates, from March 25–28. The organizers did not immediately announce new dates for the 2020 fair, which would have gathered together galleries from around Europe and the Middle East.
Instead, in a statement attributed to three of Art Dubai’s top officials, the fair said it would organize a program for locals in Dubai that will run during those same dates in March and is to include events, exhibitions, talks, and some events that had been scheduled to take place during the fair.
“Given the essential role the fair plays in promoting local and regional artists, we have made the decision to stage a program tailored to the local cultural community instead, including existing fair program contributors and thought-leaders,” the statement reads. “The goals and ambitions for this re-configured program maintain our objective to deliver commercial, institutional and critical engagement with Dubai’s art ecosystem—a commitment of support to our local community that we felt an imperative to uphold.”
The fair’s announcement came hours before the Ministry of Education for the United Arab Emirates said that it would begin the country’s spring break on Sunday, March 8, and that all schools, both public and private, would remain closed for a month.
ARTnews has reached out to other arts organizations in the United Arab Emirates—including the Jameel Arts Centre and the Alserkal Avenue organization, both in Dubai; the Louvre Abu Dhabi; and the Sharjah Art Foundation, which has an arts summit planned for later this month—to see if they have plans to close or cancel events.
Art Dubai’s announcement follows that of other art fairs around the world that have also called off their scheduled fairs, including Art Basel Hong Kong as well as two events in Milan and a watch expo in Switzerland. Other fairs, however, have said they would forge onward, including the Armory Show, which will open to invited guests on Wednesday, March 4, as well as the European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht, the Netherlands, and SP-Arte in São Paulo. Meanwhile, three exhibitors dropped out of TEFAF.