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Art in the time of Corona Virus

The coronavirus has spread to over 100 nations, including the U.S., Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea, since the outbreak began in Wuhan City in the Hubei Province of China in late January — and its impact is being felt across myriad industries.

The beginning of the month has been, for NYC and all the USA, a break even point for the art scene. Starting from a lower concentration of visitors, to a (little) decline in sales, and a lot of event cancelation of post-posing.

The virus — which has affected roughly 121,000 people and caused 4,366 deaths as of March 10 — is now the cause of a number of other cancellations and postponements in other industries, including tech conferences such as SXSW and music festivals, and the Ultra Music Festival and Coachella.

From museums and galleries to theaters and concert venues, it’s an unavoidable fact that some of the most moving experiences of art often involve being in crowded spaces. COVID-19, labeled a pandemic by the World Health Organization, has thus posed a special challenge to art institutions around the world, and their efforts to contain its spread are impressive.

Institutions have adopted a variety of creative tactics to help avoid becoming sites for disease transmission. At the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the maintenance workers have doubled the number of times per day that they clean door knobs, railings and other surfaces. The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles has its staff opening doors so that visitors don’t have to touch anything; still so many events needed to be canceled in order to prevent the spread of diseases.

  • The New York-based nonprofit Visual AIDS sent an email announcing its office would be closed until March 20 and sharing a helpful article for those living with HIV and worried about the virus. “We recognize that many people in our community are living with HIV and AIDS, chronic illnesses, and disabilities, and that many of us are at higher risk of acquiring the coronavirus,” said Visual AIDS’s statement.

  • Following days of pressure and a petition with nearly 50,000 signatures, the City College of New York (CUNY) and State University of New York (SUNY) will begin moving to online classes starting March 19. All CUNY schools will also have a five-day instructional recess from March 12 to 18 to allow students and staff time to transition to the new model.

  • A joint exhibition of the collection of Donald Marron to be mounted by Pace and Gagosian galleries in New York in April has been postponed. A Pace representative told ARTnews that the exhibition was delayed because it had become difficult to secure loans from institutions and collectors.

  • The first edition of Paris Photo in New York, scheduled for early April, is now also postponed.

  • New York auction houses Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams, Heritage, Doyle, and iGavel have rescheduled their Asia Week sales from March to June.

TvBoy - Italian Street Artist -, L'amore ai tempi del CoronaVirus, Milan, source: Instagram

The spread of the virus has also raised questions about how artists and other staff members of arts organizations would be paid if their events had to be canceled.

A company could invoke a provision of a union’s collective bargaining agreement called “force majeure” in the case of unforeseen circumstances, like a natural disaster, said Len Egert, the executive director of the American Guild of Musical Artists.

We experienced foreign countries concerning the duration of the state of emergency, and till the end of this period, we still can visit museums and art places worldwide thank to the technology, and maybe plan a visit for this summer?


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