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Panic due to coronavirus captures the art market and the financial sector.

Panic due to coronavirus captures the art market and the financial sector.

28 February 2020

Alarm over the novel 2019 strain of coronavirus is reaching new heights as the deadly disease spreads rapidly in Europe and the global death toll nears 3,000. The financial and art markets alike are feeling the impact: Weeks after organizers cancelled Art Basel Hong Kong due to the outbreak, there is new concern that art expos in Europe and elsewhere could be cancelled in the coming months, too.

As collectors and dealers arrived in New York this week with plans to attend what amounts to two long weeks of art fairs and marquee gallery and museum openings, talk turned to how radically the globe-trotting fair calendar might be amended. Several sources said that, while it’s too early to make a final decision, advisors and clients are still waiting to book travel to Switzerland for the Art Basel fair, which is set to celebrate its 50th anniversary this June. The fair announced its exhibitor list this week and has not yet commented on the status of the virus in the country, where there are currently four confirmed cases. As of Thursday, however, several events there had been cancelled, including the Watches & Wonders watch trade show in Geneva, a St. Moritz car fair called The International Concours of Elegance, and a ski run that’s considered the largest sporting event annually in Switzerland. (Baselworld—a leading Swiss watch fair run by Art Basel’s parent company, MCH—is planning to proceed as scheduled.) 

In Germany, fears over the spread of the virus have prompted the cancellation of the Light   Building fair in Frankfurt, a lighting fair that two years ago attracted 22,000 visitors. Meanwhile, Northern Italy is also seeing a spate of cancellations on its trade-fair calendar, as the number of cases in that country exceeds 400. In Milan, La Scala is staging no operas, and Salone del Mobile, the world’s biggest design fair, has been postponed—it was expected to open April 21 and now will apparently open in June. Sources said that MiArt, the contemporary art fair that opens the week before Salone in Milan, is likely to be postponed as well. (A representative of the fair did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

While widespread cancellations have mostly be limited to Europe, warnings of the impending outbreak in the US—including news, on Thursday night, of what may be the first confirmed case in New York—has the industry feeling jittery about fairs here, too. Some wonder whether Frieze New York, set to open in May, will be pushed back. 
Source: Artnet

28 February 2020
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