After Art Basel canceled its 2020 Hong Kong fair due to the novel coronavirus, the organisation has figured out a solution to allow the public to view the curated works: a digital stand-in.
“While the online viewing rooms cannot replace our 2020 fair in Hong Kong, we firmly hope that it will provide a strong support to all the galleries who were affected by the cancellation of our March show,” Adeline Ooi, the Asia director for Art Basel told artnet.com. “We are delighted to be able to premiere this new initiative now.”
Not unlike the art museums across Asia and France, Art Basel’s digital viewing will allow patrons to peruse the curated collection from the comfort of their computer screen. The organisation has released the full list of dealers participating in its inaugural online viewing rooms, which turns out to be just over 90 percent of the dealers involved in the original show and will include nearly 2,000 pieces of art worth over US$250 million.
“While nothing can replace the experience of seeing art in person,” said Ooi, “we hope that this initiative can bring some support and visibility to all the galleries and their artists affected by the cancellation of our March show.”
While the online viewing rooms will eventually be available to the general public, like Art Basel proper, the digital experience will stagger its viewings based on prestige levels. The highest VIP clients will have the first selection from March 18 to 20; with the general public garnering access from March 20 to 25.
“As the art market continues to evolve, Art Basel has continually investigated how new technologies can give us new opportunities to support our galleries,” said Marc Spiegler, the global director of the fair, in a statement, adding that the platform marks the beginning of “a further possibility for engaging with our global audiences, complementing the essential personal interactions that continue to underlie the art market.”