The New York Antiquarian Book Fair, Which Coincided With the Armory Show, Has Been Called Off Due to Delta Concerns

The fair is now set to return in April 2022.

Attendees at the 2013 New York Antiquarian Book Fair. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Attendees at the 2013 New York Antiquarian Book Fair. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The organizers of what was to be the 61st edition of the New York International Antiquarian Book Fair (NYIABF) have called off the event due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus. After a summer that marked the return of many in-person events, it is also the first New York fair to attribute its cancellation in part to concerns about the Delta variant.

The show, which would have hosted around 200 exhibitors at the Park Avenue Armory in New York from September 9–12, was upended by cancellations from 30 American booksellers and the inability of 70 others from Europe to travel for the event.

“We, like you, are disappointed that the fair cannot go on, but for everyone’s safety—our exhibitors, staff and public—we have made the difficult decision to cancel,” said Sanford Smith, the show’s organizer since 1979.

“The Delta variant of COVID-19 has become a concern and the U.S. travel ban made it difficult, if not impossible, for over half of the exhibitors to join us. This decision was not made lightly.”

Exhibitors will have the choice to receive a refund for their booth fees immediately or roll them over to next year’s event.

The cancellation raises the specter that other U.S. art fairs scheduled for the coming months—including the Armory Show, Independent, and Art on Paper, all scheduled for roughly the same dates as the book fair—could also be postponed.

The New York International Auto Show, which shares its Javits Center venue with the Armory, cancelled its 2021 edition, which was set to open August 20, last week in response to the recent spike in COVID cases.

New York mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced plans to introduce a vaccine mandate in mid-September for anyone attending restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters in the city. The rule thus far does not apply to art fairs, museums, or galleries.

Representatives for the NYIABF say the event will return in April 2022, with exact dates still to be confirmed.

A representative for Smith said another of his Park Avenue Armory fairs, Salon Art and Design, remains on the calendar for November 11 to 15. That fair, which usually has around 60 dealers so far look to have around 47 this year.


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