The Art Basel Hong Kong contemporary art fair, scheduled for March 19-21, has been cancelled. In reaction to this, auction house Christie’s has moved its 20th Century and Contemporary Art evening sale and the wine sale in Hong Kong from March to May, to coincide with its spring sales series at the Hong Kong Convention Centre.
In New York, Christie’s has decided to postpone its spring Asian Art Week sales from March to June. However, its South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art sale will proceed as planned on March 18 in New York.
A Christie’s spokeswoman said: “We believe these are the right decisions to take now to ensure the best sale environment on behalf of our consignors and our clients.”
Auction house HotLotz Singapore has postponed a planned auction of Asian art. Its second sale of Chinese works of art from the collection of Quek Kiok Lee, which had been planned for March 2, has been delayed. The first took place in November 2019.
Art Basel said it felt it had “no option but to cancel” after the situation was declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation.
Marc Spiegler, global director at Art Basel, said: ‘Our thoughts are with those affected by the recent coronavirus outbreak. The decision to cancel Art Basel Hong Kong was an extremely difficult one for us. We explored every other possible option before doing so, gathering advice and perspectives from many gallerists, collectors, partners and external experts.”
HotLotz Singapore managing director Mathew Elton said: “It’s disappointing to have to postpone any sale, but we would not do justice to this outstanding collection by marketing it at this time. The necessary travel restrictions in place in Singapore will restrict the ability of Chinese buyers to view the sale, so it's sensible to wait.”
Many countries have issued travel bans on travellers who have been to China recently to stem the spread of the virus that developed in Wuhan, Hubei Province, in China in late December.
The next edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong will take place from March 25-27, 2021.
A spokeswoman for Asia Week New York said: “Though the auction houses will reschedule their sales, Asia Week New York will proceed as scheduled from March 12-19 with its 38 gallery exhibitions and talks.”