With the coronavirus continuing to spread, museums, galleries, fairs, and biennials across the world—from the Venice Architecture Biennale in Italy to institutions in China, Japan, South Korea, and elsewhere—have been forced to alter their programming. Now, with more than 1,000 coronavirus cases confirmed in America, U.S. art spaces are beginning to see postponements of their own.
Two major U.S. exhibitions—one planned to open at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. in May, the other to be spread across Pace and Gagosian galleries in New York in April—will be postponed amid concerns for public health and difficulty securing loans. Both had been expected to be among the spring’s most important shows, and neither has received new dates.
The National Gallery of Art’s show, a survey of Baroque work made in Genoa during the 17th century called “A Superb Baroque: Art in Genoa, 1600–1750,” was slated to open on May 3. The Washington Post was the first to report that the exhibition had been delayed.
It was to include major loans of work by Giovanni Battista Paggi, Domenico Piola, Bartolomeo Guidobono, and others from museums in Genoa, and the show is being organized in collaboration with the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome, where it is schebuled to open in October. The exhibition is the biggest show ever devoted to Genoese Baroque art in America and the first of its kind in 30 years. (Elsewhere in Italy, as part of a government order to close all museums, the Scuderie del Quirinale recently shuttered its Rapahel retrospective, held on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Renaissance artist’s death.)
The exhibition at Pace and Gagosian was to feature works from the collection of Donald B. Marron, who died at 85 years old this past December. The show, which was set to open on April 24 and run through May 16, was to be held as part of a private sale of works from Marron’s holdings by Pace, Gagosian, and Acquavella Galleries.
“Given the current climate of uncertainty, it seems that it will no longer be possible to secure the loans from international private lenders and institutions that would be required to present the true scope and influence of Don Marron’s collection,” a Pace spokesperson said in a statement. “Our priority is on creating an exhibition that will honor Don to the fullest, and that will celebrate his legacy for local and global audiences.”
Marron’s collection, which includes key works by Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, and other heavyweights of modern art, went to the three galleries after it had been expected to head to an auction house, and early estimates valued it at $450 million. Early reports by the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg suggested that Stephen Wynn has already snapped up two Picassos for $105 million, and a Rothko sold for $70 million to an unidentified buyer.
The Pace representative said that the exhibition at the gallery and Gagosian was delayed after it became difficult to secure loans from institutions and collectors. Asked to detail which loans were headed to the show, the spokesperson declined, saying, “We hope the exhibition checklist will remain close to the original.”