Following a Safe and Successful Hong Kong Fair, Art Basel Confirms That Its Marquee Swiss Edition Will Take Place This September

The fair will proceed—with new safety protocols in place.

Art Basel 2015 in Basel, Switzerland. Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images.

The (art) show will go on.

Art Basel directors confirmed via a letter sent to VIPs on Thursday morning that the Swiss edition of the fair will take place in Basel as planned this September.

According to the letter, the show will be held from September 20 through 26—with some adjustments made for safety precautions. Visitors must provide either proof of full vaccination, a recent negative COVID-19 test, or proof of sufficient antibodies. (Frieze New York adopted a similar approach in May.)

In order to limit crowding, capacity will be capped at 20 percent less than in the past and the VIP opening will be extended by one day. (The Unlimited section, which presents large installations, will open on Monday, September 20; VIP previews run through Thursday.) During public days, the number of tickets sold will be reduced by a third. 

“While the situation surrounding the ongoing pandemic remains vastly different from region to region, the last month in Europe was marked by accelerating vaccination programs and loosening restrictions,” the letter stated.

While other fairs scheduled for the fall, including Expo Chicago and TEFAF in Maastricht, have thrown in the towel due to ongoing uncertainty surrounding travel, Art Basel organizers cited the success of their recent edition of Art Basel Hong Kong, which featured more than 100 galleries and welcomed 30,000 visitors “despite extreme travel restrictions.” (No word yet on whether we can expect hologram dealers or “ghost booths” to appear at the Swiss fair, as they did in Hong Kong.)

Art Basel traditionally takes place every June; last year’s edition was cancelled due to the pandemic. The fair announced in January its intention to postpone the 2021 edition to September. Participating galleries will be announced in early July, according to organizers.

For those who can’t make it to the Messeplatz, Art Basel promises robust virtual programming, including live virtual VIP walkthroughs of the IRL fair as well as the traditional online viewing rooms.

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