Art Brussels Is Opening a New Antwerp Art Fair in December, Despite Mounting Coronavirus Cases in Belgium

The fair is slated to take place in December.

Antwerp Expo. Courtesy Art Brussels.

As Brussels closes its museums to mitigate a rising second wave of coronavirus cases across the country, Art Brussels has announced plans to mount a new in-person art fair in the Belgian city of Antwerp in December.

Art Antwerp is being organized with the sister fair’s parent company, Easyfairs, and will include around 60 galleries. The event is scheduled to take place between December 10 and 13 at the Antwerp Expo.

“Art lovers are extremely keen to engage with art despite the context of the Covid-19 virus,” fair representatives said in a statement. Art Brussels itself was cancelled earlier in the year after it was initially moved from its usual spring date to June. The next edition is scheduled for April 2021.

Fair organizers say they will fully align with Covid-19 measures imposed by the Belgian government, adding that the event will take place if those restrictions do not “undermine” the show’s success.

Among the participating galleries are Belgian heavyweights Xavier Hufkens and Axel Vervoordt, as well as Clearing and Baronian Xippas. Other galleries from the surrounding regions including Perrotin and Chantal Crousel from Paris.

Nele Verhaeren (left) and Anne Vierstraete (right), directors of both Art Brussels and Art Antwerp, in the hall of Antwerp Expo.

Nele Verhaeren (left) and Anne Vierstraete (right), directors of both Art Brussels and
Art Antwerp, in the hall of Antwerp Expo. Courtesy Art Brussels.

“We look forward to gathering galleries and collectors at a small-scale fair that is locally embedded alongside a number of strong international players who accepted our invitation,” the fair’s managing director, Anne Vierstraete, said in a statement, adding that the fair’s launch is “of course challenging, but utterly exciting.”

Easyfairs has partnered with the Swiss multinational firm SGS to make sure the fair is Covid-19 safety compliant. The Belgian National Security Council has also given fair organizers the go-ahead, provided they comply with strict sanitary measures.

Visitors will be required to reserve a time slot, fair aisles will be widened to avoid crowding, and there will be two sets of entrances and exits. The number of visitors in the exhibition hall will also be limited. Face masks and social distancing will be mandatory.

“After months of restrictions and cancelled art fairs, it becomes essential to step out of our gallery spaces and connect with our peers and with collectors and art lovers on a larger scale,” a fair committee of Belgian galleries said in a statement.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.