Upcoming edition of Art Basel Hong Kong postponed until May [mark your calendar]

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The 2021 edition of the Art Basel Hong Kong art fair has been postponed until May 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 2021 edition of the Art Basel Hong Kong art fair has been postponed until May 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Will the 2021 cultural calendar be as chaotic as this year's schedule of events? That could well be the case, according to the organizers of the Art Basel Hong Kong contemporary art fair. Asia's next edition of the Art Basel franchise, scheduled to be held in March, will now run May 21-23.

The decision to postpone the event -- the last edition of which, held in 2019, saw some 88,000 visitors -- was taken in consultation with galleries and experts "with the goal of ensuring that the fair will be attended by the largest possible number of collectors, curators, and arts professionals from Art Basel's global network, while protecting the health and safety of everyone concerned."

In March, Art Basel Hong Kong was the first art fair to cancel its 2020 edition in the face of the growing public health crisis caused by the novel coronavirus. The fair's parent company, MCH Group, committed to refunding 75% of booth fees to participants in the Hong Kong show -- a situation that the Art Basel organizers evidently don't want to find themselves faced with again.

Adeline Ooi, Director Asia, Art Basel said in a statement: "We believe shifting the fair to May is the right decision given the current development of the pandemic and its impact on international travel restrictions. By taking the decision early, our aim is to support our galleries in advance planning for their 2021 programs. We very much look forward to hosting our show in May next year and to welcoming gallerists, collectors, and art lovers back to
Hong Kong at that time."

While 2020 editions of the fair in Hong Kong, Basel and Miami were all cancelled due to the pandemic, Art Basel has been using digital initiatives such as Online Viewing Rooms to connect gallerists and collectors under lockdown or grounded by travel restrictions. However, the art fair has decided to showcase 22 of the Asian galleries who participated in previous editions of Art Basel Hong Kong, with a major exhibition organized in partnership with Fine Art Asia. The initiative, titled "Hong Kong Spotlight by Art Basel," will be held November 27 to 30 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.