The Inaugural Edition of Paris Photo in New York Is the Latest Art Fair to Be Postponed Amid the Coronavirus Outbreak

Organizers tell exhibitors and collectors to stay tuned for further dates.

Elliott Erwitt, New York (1955). ©Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos, courtesy of Augusta Edwards Fine Art.
Elliott Erwitt, New York (1955). ©Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos, courtesy of Augusta Edwards Fine Art.

The much-anticipated inaugural edition of Paris Photo in New York, the top-flight photography fair meant to debut at Pier 94 in early April, is the latest art event to be called off amid concerns about the global coronavirus epidemic. After the World Health Organization announced this morning that it would officially designate the outbreak as a pandemic, fair organizer Reed Exhibitions announced it would push the fair to a later, to-be-determined date.

Organizers said they came to the “difficult decision” after “careful consideration” and “comprehensive discussions with galleries and partners.” The new date, they added, would be announced as soon as possible. The fair did not immediately respond to an inquiry about how much dealers would be refunded for booth fees already paid.

Reed Exhibitions took the measure in consultation with the Association of International Photography Art Dealers, its partner in the event, and “in alignment with advice from US public health authorities, regarding travel to and from impacted countries.” The organizers said they are convinced the postponement is in the best interest of galleries, collectors, and art enthusiasts alike.

“We were all very excited to launch this first edition of Paris Photo New York in March, and to build another bridge in the art scene between our two continents,” said Michel Filzi, president of Reed Expositions France, in a statement. This first edition “has had an overwhelming welcome from the photo art galleries and editors.”

Just last month, the organization unveiled an exciting lineup of 126 galleries and 47 publishers from 24 countries. Art critic and author Antwaun Sargent was tapped to guest curate the “[RE]Emergence” sector, which was to focus on emerging talent.

Paris Photo is the world’s biggest dedicated photography fair. Founded in 1997, it launched a Los Angeles version in 2013. Fair owner Reed Exhibitions cancelled the fourth LA edition just months before it was due to open, citing lackluster sales. With a new location in America’s photography capital and the backing of AIPAD, expectations for the New York event—which was to replace the long-running Photography Show—were high.

Reed Expositions France “will be doing our utmost to help all our customers and their partners to prepare for the upcoming edition.” Filzi said.

Moving forward, all eyes are on other spring New York fairs to see whether they will follow suit. Frieze is taking a wait and see approach for its upcoming New York fair. Asked about plans for the upcoming edition, a representative emailed  a statement.

“Our top priority is the health and safety of our gallerists, attendees and staff. We are proceeding with our preparations for Frieze New York while monitoring the situation closely in partnership with local, state and federal health officials,” a rep for the fair said. “We are also following CDC guidelines closely to ensure a safe environment for everyone involved in the fair.”


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