Art Basel Cancels Its 2020 Miami Beach Edition Due to Pandemic

Due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic, Art Basel has cancelled its Miami Beach Fair that was scheduled to be held in the coming December. As 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Art Basel, the organiser had planned an ambitious contemporary art project with individual facets unfolding at all three fairs in Hong Kong, Basel and Miami Beach. But the physical editions of all three events have now been cancelled due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

Art Basel Miami Beach is a highly-anticipated art event in the industry every year

Art Basel in Miami Beach was scheduled to take place from 3-6 December 2020. However, the pandemic continues to impact South Florida and other parts of the country, as well as many other countries. Florida reported 3,198 new cases on Friday. Together with the limitations and uncertainty about the staging of large-scale events, international travel restrictions and bans, as well as quarantine regulations within the United States and internationally, Art Basel has decided to cancel the 2020 edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach.

Noah Horowitz, Director Americas, Art Basel said: ‘It is with great regret and disappointment that we announce the cancellation of our December show in Miami Beach, as we know how crucial our show is for our galleries, as well as for the greater Miami arts community and economy. We thank everyone who shared their perspectives and insights with us over the past months and weeks and look forward to returning to Miami Beach next year to deliver a successful show.’

Several satellite fairs set to run concurrently with Art Basel Miami Beach, including Art Miami, NADA Miami, Aqua Art Miami, and CONTEXT Art Miami, have also been cancelled.


Maurizio Cattelan’s Comedian, a banana duct-taped to the wall, grabbed media attention when it was showcased at Art Basel Miami Beach fair last year

David Datuna ate the banana as an act of ‘art performance’

Art Basel Miami Beach 2019 recorded an overall attendance of 81,000 and brought together 269 galleries. The most notable artwork of the 2019 fair was a banana duct-taped to the wall, an artwork titled Comedian created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. Two editions of the work were sold for US$120,000 each on the first day the work was exhibited. During the exhibition, American artist David Datuna ate the banana as an act of art performance dubbed ‘Hungry Artist’. The artwork and the performance garnered major media attention.

Art Basel’s Online Viewing Rooms

Art Basel brought the fair to its virtual platform after the cancellations of all three editions: Hong Kong (March), Basel (June) and Miami Beach (December). The Online Viewing Rooms were first launched in March 2020 as an additional platform for exhibitors to showcase artworks intended for the cancelled Art Basel Hong Kong 2020. The second instalment was live from 19-26 June.

The Online Viewing Rooms give visitors the opportunity to browse thousands of artworks presented by Art Basel participating galleries. The exhibiting gallery can then be contacted directly for sales inquiries.

Similar to the arrangements for the Hong Kong and Basel editions, the Online Viewing Rooms will be open to all galleries accepted to Art Basel Miami Beach 2020. It is set to take place in December, but details are yet to be released. The next edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach will take place from 2-5 December 2021.

Here is Art Basel’s exhibitor-fee refund policy for the three fairs:

  • Hong Kong: Exhibitors were refunded 75%, with 25% rolling over to 2021 at any of the three fairs
  • Basel: Exhibitors were fully refunded
  • Miami Beach: Exhibitors will not be charged any participation/booth fees for the December show and application fees will be rolled over to 2021 for accepted galleries.

It is still uncertain whether major art events will be held as scheduled next year. Please stay tuned for more details.