• gerard van weyenbergh

Major art fairs are postponing events until next year.

The new rules make it very difficult to plan large events. Several fall fairs prefer to cancel.

Already very weakened by confinement and then the establishment of regulatory gauges and broken down international travel, the organizers of major events must now deal with the “second wave” and very limited rules. The new criteria announced by the government on September 23, which determine five alert levels to which specific constraints are subject, are now evaluated every week, and the measures taken are applicable for a period of fifteen days.

Three daily indicators that everyone can follow in real time on the government website are now considered to classify a department:

  • the number of new cases of COVID(incidence rate calculated per 100,000 inhabitants),

  • the number of new cases among the elderly,

  • the percentage of Covid patients in intensive care units.

Paris and several large cities in the regions have been classified in the “Enhanced alert” zone, while Marseille has been classified in the “Maximum alert” zone, the last stage before “State of health emergency” (the classification is likely to be modified in the future).

In principle, museums, art centers, galleries, and theaters and cinemas can remain open in departments on heightened and even maximum alert because they have health protocols ensuring the protection of the public and employees.

This is not the case with bars and restaurants, which have attracted all the media attention. But in its desire to give more control to the "territories", the government allows the prefects to adapt the local situation measures. Fairs, exhibitions, and other gatherings are subject to a gauge. Forbidden in departments on high alert, they cannot accommodate more than 1,000 people in high alert departments, including Paris.

Uncertainty does not mean unpredictability, however. The kinetics of the indicators are not good. This is what led the Salon Art Élysée , which was to be held during the Fiac from October 20 to 26, to ignore this year, everything such as the International Cultural Heritage Fair initially scheduled for the end of October and Paris Photo, which was to take place in mid-November. In theory, if the trend reverses in the next few weeks, to the point that Paris goes back to simple alert, they could hold on. A bet that the organizers rightly do not want to take.

On the other hand Galeristes ,International Paris , Asia Now , Art Shopping , Private Choice , Outsider Art Fair ), with a smaller capacity, hope that Paris will not go on maximum alert and have maintained their dates. In Spain, where the situation is worse than in France, we are already planning next year: the Madrid Arco fair, which is traditionally held in February, has announced that the 2021 edition has been moved to July. It is not reassuring. Le Journal des Arts