Art Moscow, Russia’s oldest art fair, has been canceled this year. Scheduled to take place from September 17–21 at the Central House of Artists, the fair was scrapped for a variety of political and economic reasons. In early September, the Art Newspaper reported that the fair was already in turmoil. According to Vasily Bychkov, the chief executive of Expo-Park Exhibition Projects (which runs the fair), organizers of the fair feared that the sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU and the US would impede the fair, since the half of the applications were from international exhibitors from countries including the US, the UK, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Italy, and Mexico.
“We made this decision in the winter, around when the Olympic Games closed,” Bychkov told the Art Newspaper. He also noted that fair organizers were expecting the mounting tensions in Russia to create an “unfavorable” backdrop that would exacerbate the fair’s internecine strife. “We decided to relocate the resources usually employed for Art Moscow—people, money—to another project. We did not want to make it public unless our prognosis was confirmed.”
Maria Baibakova, founder of Moscow’s Baibakov Art Projects, who also reported the closing of the fair, stated on her blog that the issues, as per several Russian publications, ranged from “politics (by now its hardly surprising that some galleries and artists could boycott a fair in Russia) to economics (the art market in the country is not exactly booming) to good old-fashioned censorship.”
The fate of the fair’s future remains uncertain.
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