With its Hong Kong and Basel editions canceled, Art Basel has moved most of its offerings for 2020 online. Having held online viewing rooms in its Hong Kong edition this past March, the fair claims, it will go even bigger in the fall. Art Basel has now unveiled plans for two new online viewing room events this September and October, which organizers have described as "freestanding, thematic editions."
Previously, exhibitors who would have shown at Art Basel's physical fair were allowed to take their offerings digital free of charge. For these two sets of online viewing rooms, organizers will charge exhibitors a flat fee of CHF 5,000 (roughly $5,500) to present in each edition.
The first set of online viewing rooms, titled "OVR:2020," is scheduled to run from September 23 through 26, and will solely feature works created in 2020. The second, titled "OVR:20c," will run from October 28 through 31 and dedicated to works created in the 20th century. No more than 100 galleries will be able to participate in each edition.
Prospective exhibitors will have to submit a proposal to two newly formed selection committees. Plans for the September edition will be reviewed by dealers Sadie Coles, Massimo De Carlo, Mills Morán, Prateek Raja, Lisa Spellman, and Jasmin Tsou, while the October selection committee consists of dealers Emi Eu, David Fleiss, Thiago Gomide, Steven Henry, Lucy Mitchell-Innes, and Mary Sabbatino.
As of right now, Art Basel's Miami Beach fair is set to take place in December. Regardless of whether that fair happens, however, another online viewing room will launch this winter, with more details forthcoming. Florida is currently among the top three states leading the U.S. in confirmed daily coronavirus cases.
Marc Spiegler, the global director of Art Basel, said in a statement, "While the art market still faces difficult times, we feel it is pivotal for us to continue exploring different ways of supporting galleries and engaging with our audiences. The Online Viewing Rooms' highly-focused September and October editions provide our galleries with new opportunities in this highly dynamic moment."
Daniel Varzari commented on Spiegler's statement, "When you discover you are wrong, that means you've found a greater understanding and toehold on reality. This is always more valuable than holding on to thinking you were right when you weren't. It's a discovery, and we are explorers, so we hope to find higher ground with a broader and more accurate view."