Art Basel Announces the cancellation of Art Basel/Miami Beach, taking with it several satellite fairs and reconfirming itself as the glue of Miami Art Week.

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Remember the crowds of people in Miami during the Miami Art Week: a throng of people from everywhere as if there was no tomorrow, on a postcard challenge: among clear blue skies, palm trees, sculptures and Art Deco buildings. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 did not exempt anyone and until the last moment we had hoped, given that we were still a few months away from the official opening of Miami Art Week, in the realization of Art Basel/Miami Beach which announced yesterday, Wednesday, September 2, the cancellation of the 19th edition of the fair par excellence. 

Sculpture landscape during the Miami Art Week, 2019

The news comes after the cancellation of the previous Art Hong Kong scheduled for March and the Basel flagship scheduled for June.  Not an easy renunciation given the turnover that Art Basel/Miami brings to the city and its institutions between satellite fairs and world-class glamour events that bring celebrities and VIPs in search of the coolest party of the moment.  The Convention Center, home of Art Basel/Miami Beach, is now the centre for the treatment of Covid patients and, given the current numbers of contagion in the nerve centre of the Americas, Miami, it would, according to the organization, be reckless to welcome people from all over the world, mentioning, among other things, the uncertainty surrounding the restrictions on large rallies that could bring the epidemic back into circulation in those areas that are currently at zero risk. A not easy and very painful choice that will make 2020 as the year to remember: the first year without an edition of the most popular contemporary art fair in the world. Because in the face of death, contagion and economic crisis, 2020 was year zero: the year that marked the world by completely resetting its priorities and focusing attention on the values of life. 

Noah Horowitz, Art Basel’s Director, 2020.

Noah Horowitz, Director of Art Basel Americas, in his statement about the cancellation of the show said: “It is with great regret and disappointment that we announce the cancellation of our December show in Miami Beach, as we know how crucial our show is to our galleries, as well as to the art community and the Miami economy…We thank all those who have shared their views and insights with us over the past months and weeks and look forward to returning to Miami Beach next year for a successful show. It almost seems like living in an anachronistic parallel world. In this regard, the galleries that had already participated in the 19th edition of Art Basel/Miami Beach will not pay any fees for the stands associated with the fair planned for 2020. (For the fairs cancelled earlier, exhibitors in Basel were reimbursed in full, while those in Hong Kong were reimbursed 75 per cent, with the remaining 25 per cent being shifted to participation fees for any of the three fairs planned for 2021). All the galleries that have joined the 2020 fair will have access to virtual stands in the online version of Art Basel Miami Beach: for the autumn two online exhibition halls have been announced: ‘OVR:2020’, dedicated to works of art created during 2020 (to be held from September 23 to 26), and ‘OVR:20c’, which will present works created between 1900 and 1999 (to be held from October 28 to 31). Other online viewing rooms will follow in December and will be open to all galleries accepted at the 2020 edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach. Further details will follow in the coming weeks.

Pre-cobenvion Art Basel, 2019

Following the statement made by Noah Horowitz regarding the cancellation of Art Basel/Miami Beach, the production company that manages some satellite exhibitions including Art Miami Show Group, officially announced the cancellation of the 2020 editions of Art Miami including CONTEXT Art Miami and Aqua Art Miami. We can bet that the other fairs will follow in the wake of the cancellation of the event that Miami Art Basel/Miami Beach is the glue for, even if Design Miami/Basel has not yet made a statement while the next edition of the luxurious FLIBS, – Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show- that for the moment has declared its participation in the 2020 edition – seems to be taking place (outside the artistic context but with a great economic and social impact). Instead of Miami Art Week, however, the organizers have promised the launch of Miami Art City, an initiative that will take place online on the original dates of the fair, December 1-6. The initiative promises “a technology to replicate the experience of the online art fair in a community of unparalleled virtual art fairs”, as was the recent Untitled initiative that launched an entirely new virtual platform.  

“We look forward to coming back next December to celebrate Miami Art Week and the 18th edition of Art Basel/Miami Beach in person with you all,” said Art Miami Show Group President Nick Korniloff in a statement.

The NADA-The New Art Dealers Alliance’s approach – another Miami Art Week art fair – stands out from other online fairs because instead of creating a digital facsimile of their grid stand, participating galleries will be invited to install their aspiring stand in their own gallery or in an alternative space in their city. The video of the “stands” will be simulcast through NADA’s online portal, allowing users to click on several presentations in a single session.

It remains to be assessed now how to approach the fairs planned for the 2020 digital edition. In any case stay tuned with\ Miami Niche, we will keep you informed!

(Greta Thunbergh (Blutköperchen) by Thomas Bayrle’s, 2019. at Art Basel/Miam NIche , 2019)

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