As the coronavirus death count in China surges past 500 people, yet another major museum has been forced to delay planned programming for the coming couple months. The UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, which has multiple locations in China, said on Thursday, February 6, that it would postpone three shows planned for two of its locations—two exhibitions at its main space in Beijing, and one at its UCCA Dune museum in Qinhuangdao, a coastal city about 185 miles from the capital—amid safety concerns.
“We are following guidance from national and local government authorities, and closely following further developments,” the museum said in a statement. “The safety of our visitors, staff, collaborating artists, and other members of our community is of the utmost importance to us.”
The biggest of these postponed shows, a landmark survey of computing art called “Immaterial/Re-material,” was expected to open on February 22 in Beijing. The other two exhibitions were both slated to open March 8: a Yan Xing solo outing in Beijing and “Resistance of the Sleepers” in Qinhuangdao. New dates for the shows were not immediately made available.
In its statement, the UCCA said it would sterilize the museum once every 24 hours, and that, in compliance with recommendations from officials, the museum would stay closed through February. (It had previously been on an extended break for the Lunar New Year celebrations.) The museum said it would await word from local authorities on when it could reopen to the public.
The UCCA joins several museums and art events that have postponed programming in an attempt to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Two new private museums—the He Art Museum in Foshan and the X Museum in Beijing—delayed their openings, and on Wednesday, Beijing Art Weekend, which had been slated for early March, postponed this year’s edition until mid-April, leaving open the possibility that it might be canceled altogether if the situation did not improve by then. Meanwhile, many are still anticipating word about this year’s Art Basel Hong Kong fair, which some dealers have said should be called off amid the coronavirus outbreak and ongoing protests.
“UCCA would like to thank all the artists, journalists, friends of the institution, and other stakeholders who have had to reschedule travel plans and visits to our museums due to this unexpected situation,” the museum’s statement read. “We hope to see you soon, and thank you for your understanding and additional support during this trying time. UCCA sends its care and concern to those affected by the virus, and expresses our sincere gratitude to the medical staff and emergency response teams selflessly working to ensure public health.”