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.

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FIAC 2020 It is with great disappointment that we announce the cancellation of FIAC 2020, initially scheduled at the Grand Palais from October 22nd to 25th. This decision is the result of ongoing dialogue between the fair organizers and exhibitors, collectors, visitors and partners over these past weeks. Despite our efforts and profound determination to hold FIAC in 2020, we feel that we are not in a position to produce an event that meets the expectations and ambitions of our exhibitors and public. This has not been an easy decision and we share the disappointment of those of you, who like us, had hoped for a different outcome. We look forward to seeing you next autumn in the Grand Palais Éphémère on the Champ-de-Mars in Paris, to create a renewed FIAC 2021. C’est avec une grande déception que nous sommes contraints d’annuler l’édition 2020 de la FIAC, prévue au Grand Palais du 22 au 25 octobre. Cette décision est le fruit des nombreux et constants échanges entre l’organisation et ses exposants, visiteurs, collectionneurs et partenaires ces dernières semaines. Malgré notre profonde détermination à organiser la FIAC en 2020, nous considérons que nous ne sommes pas en mesure de proposer un événement à la hauteur des attentes et des ambitions de ses exposants et visiteurs. Cette décision a été difficile à prendre et nous partageons la déception de ceux d’entre vous, qui comme nous, ont porté et soutenu jusqu’au bout le projet d’une FIAC 2020. Nous vous donnons rendez-vous à l’automne prochain au Grand Palais éphémère au Champ-de-Mars pour créer ensemble une FIAC 2021.

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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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