FIAC Has Canceled Its 2020 Fair in Paris, Saying It Could Not Meet the ‘Legitimate Expectations’ of Visitors

Exhibitors will receive full refunds, the fair’s organizers announced.

The Foire Internationale d'Art Contemporain (FIAC) at the Grand Palais, in Paris, during the press opening on Octobre 18, 2017. Photo by Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images.

For those hoping that some semblance of the international fair circuit might be salvaged this fall, there’s another piece of bad news: The 2020 edition of FIAC (Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain) has been canceled.

The 47th edition of the fair, heretofore scheduled to take place at the Grand Palais in Paris October 22–25, now will not take place until October 2021. 

Fair organizers said they felt “great disappointment” in a statement announcing the news.

“Despite our efforts and our deep determination to organize FIAC,” fair director Jennifer Flay and head of institutional relations Charlotte Ardon said in a statement sent to the fair’s VIP list, “in 2020, we are not in a position to offer you an event that meets your legitimate expectations.” Flay declined to comment further.

Exhibitors will be reimbursed in full for the money they already put toward the canceled 2020 event. This year’s exhibitions of outdoor artworks through FIAC’s “Hors les Murs” program have also been called off. Recent editions have seen between 190 and 199 participating exhibitors.

The timing of FIAC’s announcement comes just days after another French fair, Art Paris, opened at the Grand Palais to relative success. Despite capacity limitations, the four-day, socially-distanced fair—one of the first major art in-person events held in Europe since lockdown—welcomed more than 55,000 visitors, prompting speculators to label the outing as a sign of life for the art market. 

But for FIAC, it seems, those signs came too late. 

Next year’s expo was already shaping up to present unique challenges for FIAC’s organizers. While the Grand Palais undergoes a three-year renovation in preparation for the 2024 Paris Olympics, FIAC will move to the Grand Palais Éphémère on the Champ-de-Mars, a temporary 10,000-square-foot space at the base of the Eiffel Tower.

Though it previously suggested that public gatherings of more than 5,000 people could resume at the end of August, the French government later extended the ban until October 30.

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