With more than 200 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Italy as of Monday, February 24, public and private art institutions in the northern part of the country have begun to close—for at least one week. Museums in the regions of Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Liguria, Trentino-Alto Adige, and Friuli-Venezia Giulia have been ordered to close while authorities work to contain the virus, according to a report by the Art Newspaper.
Among the affected museums in Venice are the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the Palazzo Ducale in Piazza San Marco, ARTnews Top 200 Collector François Pinault‘s Palazzo Grassi, and the Museo del Vetro. In Milan, the Fondazione Prada, La Scala opera house, and the Duomo di Milano have shuttered, and the Castello di Rivoli outside Turin has also closed its doors.
Alma Zevi gallery in Venice said it would be closed until March 2, and it will reschedule a conversation between artist Juliana Cerqueira Leite and writer Lisa Hilton that had been set to take place on February 28. Victoria Miro said its gallery in Venice would remain closed until March 3.
In Seoul, where over 600 coronavirus cases have been reported as of Monday, museums are also experiencing closures. Impacted institutions in Seoul include the Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, and the National Museum of Korea, all of which are closed until further notice. The BBC reported that South Korean president Moon Jae-in called the recent rise in cases in the country “a grave turning point.”
Museum closures in South Korea and Italy follow news that Sotheby’s will relocate its modern and contemporary Hong Kong sales to New York in April due to travel restrictions associated with the virus. The spread of the virus also informed the cancellation of Art Basel Hong Kong earlier this month and temporary museum shutdowns throughout China and Hong Kong. China’s UCCA Center for Contemporary Art was forced to postpone three exhibitions as a result of officials’ recommended closures.