2022 was supposed to be the year when the art world finally got thoroughly back on track when it comes to large art fairs, but already, setbacks are emerging: on Friday, Art Basel announced that they would be postponing the Hong Kong iteration of the fair due to a recent uptick in Covid-19 cases. The fair, which was supposed to unfold in March, will now take place from May 27 to May 29, with preview days on May 25 and May 26. It’s not the first time an Art Basel has been disrupted: in 2020, Art Basel Miami was called off altogether, and in 2020, so was Art Basel Hong Kong.
“Given the current government guidelines in Hong Kong, it has become clear that moving the fair to May is the right decision,” Adeline Ooi, the Director of Art Basel Asia, said in a statement. “We had anticipated this potential scenario in our planning process, and very much look forward to hosting gallerists, collectors, and art lovers at the HKCEC at that time.”
After the last iteration of Art Basel Miami came to a conclusion, several attendees told Observer that appropriate Covid-19 precautions were being taken very sparingly, if at all. Many people also took to social media to relay that they’d returned home from the art fair and tested positive for Covid-19. “The only place that checked vaccination cards was the actual convention center,” one attendee said of Art Basel Miami. “And masks were optional everywhere. Parties were packed. No sanitizer or masks to be seen.”
In comparison, Hong Kong has established a reputation as one of the most vigilant cities in the world when it comes to Covid-19 prevention and detection. In 2021, Hong Kong’s regulations stated that any visitors from abroad had to quarantine for 21 days before moving about the city. At present, the Hong Kong Airport Authority has stated that from January 16 through February 15, transfer and transit through Hong Kong International Airport is being limited to travelers arriving from non high risk places.