The Chinese art world faces the crisis

How is the Chinese art world reacting to the whole world being alarming about the coronavirus? The epidemic broke out the last December in Wuhan and became a global emergency within a few weeks. The Chinese art world is now finding solutions and taking preventive measures to permit museums and cultural institutions to remain open.

The Chinese art world in alarm

Many events and remarkable projects were expected this year. From the Art Basel Hong Kong, scheduled from 19 to 21 March, to “Techne”, the first edition dedicated to the interactions of technology, art, and culture in the artistic creation processes of contemporary society in Beijing.

The Chinese art world in alarm because of the coronavirus
Art Basel Hong Kong 2019 ©

Surely the situation is now tense. However, despite the momentaneous closure of many Chinese institutions, technology and the Internet are supporting local fairs and museums. In particular, the Chinese art world is using online platforms that allow visiting exhibitions and museum collections virtually.

For example, Art Basel created a digital platform that will be usable starting from march 20th. “Viewing Rooms” will permit users to view and discover the many galleries participating in the event. This won’t replace the Basel and Miami fairs but it is a plus that will take place simultaneously with those.

Marc Spiegler, Global Director of Art Basel said:

The online observation rooms will offer galleries a further opportunity to interact with our global audience. We want to integrate the essential personal interactions that continue to be the basis of the art market“.

We are glad to be able to preview this new initiative now,” said Adeline Ooi, Asia Director of Art Basel. “Although Rooms cannot replace our Hong Kong 2020 fair, we firmly hope that they will provide strong support to all the galleries that have been affected by the cancellation of our March event.”

Beijing Triennia postpones the inaugural edition

The alarm of the epidemic in the Chinese art world hit also one of the most expected events of this February: “Techne” at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. In particular, the first edition of the event seemed to have all the credentials to become an authoritative appointment with art in Asia.

The Chinese art world faces the crisis: Beijing Triennia postpones the inaugural edition
Hito Steyerl, Leonardo’s Submarine, 2019. © Andrew Kreps Gallery

Zhang Zikang, the museum’s director, said in a statement:

To reduce mass gathering amid the outbreak of the coronavirus, CAFA Art Museum will postpone Techne 2020. And has suspended its preparations for the exhibition. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this change, and hope that you understand the unexpected and complex situation we are facing.

For now, the curators of the event didn’t announce a new date for the exhibition.

The participants expected for Techne are among the most important names of contemporary art. Many of the participants are pioneers and visionaries who have changed the path of art history in the last century. Among others, were expected works by Bruce Conner, Dan Graham, Zhang Peili, Mike Kelley, and Thomas Feuerstein. Other remarkable artists expected were Micol Assaël, Liu Xiaodong, Alex da Corte, Jayson Musson, and Hito Steyerl.

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