The Art Angle Podcast: What Does an Art Scene Look Like Under the Coronavirus?
This week, reporter Vivienne Chow calls in from her home in Hong Kong to share her experience living in a region ravaged by the COVID-19 virus.
Welcome to the Art Angle, a podcast from Artnet News that delves into the places where the art world meets the real world, bringing each week’s biggest story down to earth. Join host Andrew Goldstein every week for an in-depth look at what matters most in museums, the art market, and much more with input from our own writers and editors as well as artists, curators, and other top experts in the field.
Usually, the first weeks of March are intensely busy ones for the international art community, as they lead up to the Art Basel Hong Kong art fair: an unmissable event that galleries, museums, and even other cultural sectors in the region have used as an anchor to present their own very best programming to visitors from around the globe. This year, though, the staggering impact of the novel 2019 coronavirus has forced Art Basel to cancel its Asian fair, beginning a long cascade of postponed and canceled art events around the globe.
For the residents of Hong Kong, life has been turbulent for much of the past year, ever since pro-democracy protests began roiling the city and its art scene in late March 2019. Although Hong Kong has been praised by the World Health Organization for its rapid and effective response to the virus—it harbors only about 115 cases of COVID-19 at this time, including just three fatalities—its ace public-health infrastructure has not exempted the city from an economic crisis first sparked by the demonstrations, then accelerated by the measures taken to protect its citizens from infection.
Where does this latest upheaval leave Hong Kong’s artistic community? Roughly two months after joining the Art Angle to discuss the effects of the protests, reporter Vivienne Chow calls in to this week’s episode from her home in Hong Kong, where she and her fellow residents have been self-isolating for weeks. She provides a front-line view of both the challenges and the opportunities presented by the coronavirus, from the eerie reality of museums, art galleries, and auction houses devoid of people, to the ingenuity and resilience shown by the many businesses launching virtual exhibition and selling platforms to compensate for the loss of face-to-face interactions with collectors, curators, and enthusiasts.
As the rest of the world tries to cope with the ever-changing conditions of the epidemic, Chow’s account provides perspective, and even a measure of hope, for how life and culture can weather the crisis.
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