Melbourne Art Fair Cancels 2021 Edition
By Ariana Heffner
Melbourne Art Fair (MAF) announced on September 8 that it will not hold its next event in early February 2021 as planned due to ongoing disruptions and complications from the Covid-19 pandemic. The next edition of the biennial fair is now scheduled to take place from February 17–20, 2022, at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Despite the possibility of the loosening of social distancing measures before Feburary 2021, Melbourne Art Foundation CEO and fair director Maree Di Pasquale explained that the fair was postponed for another year because “Although we remain positive for the future of our sector, far too many uncertainties remain to go ahead as planned next February,” according to the press release. The announcement also stated that the fair will continue to work with artists and galleries to produce online content during the interim period, though details were not specified.
The 2020 MAF was originally scheduled for mid-June of this year, but was delayed on March 17, during the country’s first wave of Covid-19, to February 4–7, 2021. The 2016 edition was also canceled due to the withdrawal of numerous high-profile galleries.
Melbourne was placed under a second lockdown during early August after the state of Victoria was hit with another wave of Covid-19 cases, averaging 100 plus daily cases by mid-August. Premier Daniel Andrews announced on September 7 that Stage 4 restrictions will be extended to September 28, with gradual easing of measures to come on October 26 and November 23.
Australia has extended its international travel ban for citizens and permanent residents until at least December 17. The ban, which came into effect in March under the Biosecurity Act, requires those intending to leave the country to apply for governmental permission. The country has reported a total of 26,465 cases to date.
This news comes as more international art fairs have been canceled in the past week. Art Basel Miami Beach announced on September 2 that its physical event will be replaced with an Online Viewing Room (OVR) in December. On September 7, Korea International Art Fair (KIAF) announced that it will also run a virtual fair instead from September 23 to October 18 due to social distancing measures imposed by the government.
Ariana Heffner is an editorial intern of ArtAsiaPacific.
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