With Hong Kong currently going through its fourth wave of coronavirus cases, its government has instituted a range of new health restrictions, again forcing museums to close their doors, at least until December 15.
Hong Kong museums have, sadly, gotten used to this process of powering down and then springing back to life. As a result of the pandemic, they had been ordered in January, March, and June to close for various stretches.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam also directed public employees to work from home beginning Wednesday, and encouraged companies to follow suit. Social gatherings have been limited to two people. (The rules do allow gyms and beauty parlors to continue to operate. The Straight Times has a rundown of the new status quo.)
Among the institutions that have gone dark for the time being are the Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, the Hong Kong Museum of Art, and Para Site, which had to postpone the opening of shows by Luke Ching and Vvzela Kook.
The measures had been widely anticipated in the arts industry. In 2020, just a handful of in-person art events have taken place in Hong Kong; one was Art Basel’s Hong Kong Spotlight, which brought together 22 local exhibitors at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from last Thursday through this past Monday.
A quick survey of the Hong Kong gallery scene shows that many dealers have gone to a by-appointment model amid the battle against the virus, including Perrotin, Ora-Ora, and Pearl Lam Galleries.