In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic like rolling thunder we see the continuous closure of gallery and museum doors and the cancellation of major events across all forms of entertainment the world over in a global bid to slow the spread of this new 21st century contagion.
Fear not the loss of your art fix though! During these tumultuous times, while the call for social distancing takes priority over social gathering, the art world is loading their digital platforms to satisfy our artful hunger.
Take ‘Art Basel’ for one, the world’s largest international contemporary art fair, held annually across three host cities from Basel in Switzerland to Miami Beach in Florida and China’s Hong Kong, who in its 50th anniversary year, was compelled to cancel ‘Art Basel Hong Kong’ in the interest of public health as thousands of artworks were already making their way to the halls of the Convention & Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai for the March 2020 showcase.
And so now ‘Art Basel’ is launching its ‘Online Viewing Rooms’, which will provide an alternative for this year’s exhibitors to continue showcasing their collections as planned in the digital realm with the added benefit of a greater global reach. These ‘Online Viewing Rooms’ will continue to be offered to gallerists as part of ‘Art Basel’ in the future, and is by no means a replacement of the current art fair model but a way for galleries to expand the representation of their artists and curated exhibitions during the fairs.
‘As the art market continues to evolve, Art Basel has continually investigated how new technologies can give us new opportunities to support our galleries. The Online Viewing Rooms will provide galleries with a further possibility for engaging with our global audiences, complementing the essential personal interactions that continue to underlie the art market,’ says Marc Spiegler, Global Director, Art Basel.
Ninety percent of galleries who were planning to exhibit at Art Basel Hong Kong will be featured in the ‘Viewing Rooms’ including Fine Arts, Sydney, Fox Jensen Gallery (Sydney/Auckland), Sullivan + Strumpf (Sydney/Singapore), Yavuz Gallery (Sydney/Singapore) and Jan Murphy Gallery (Queensland) as well as galleries from Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia and Africa.
By registering on the ‘Art Basel’ website collectors and art lovers are invited to take a virtual tour of 231 gallery rooms to explore approximately 2,000 works across varying artistic genres from Modern to postwar to contemporary with an extraordinary selection of paintings, sculpture, drawings, installation, photography, animation, video and digital works, which collectively boast an art value of more than $250 million (US).
Noting the exceptional quality of the works Adeline Ooi, Director Asia, Art Basel said, “I am so pleased that we are able to provide our exhibitors with an alternative platform to show the wonderful work that they had been working so hard to bring to Hong Kong this spring. The work on display is stunning. While nothing can replace the experience of seeing art in person, 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.”
The ‘Online Viewing Rooms’ will be accessible here on the ‘Art Basel’ website and via the official Art Basel App (available on the App Store). VIP preview days will be active from 18 to 20 March and viewing is open to the public from 20 to 25 March. All of the works for sale will be tagged with exact pricing or price ranges and collectors will have direct links to galleries for enquiries.
Register now and be at the ready to immerse yourself in the skill and creativity on show in the inaugural Art Basel ‘Viewing Rooms’ for your chance to add to, or start your art collection or just enjoy the works while showing your support for the visual arts in these uncertain times.
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