One of the last remaining major art fairs still on the 2020 calendar has officially been canceled as its host country sees a rise in coronavirus cases. The organizers of the Foire internationale d’art contemporain, more commonly known by its acronym FIAC, said today that they would call off the art event, which was scheduled to take place from October 22–25 at the Grand Palais in Paris.
The organizers of the fair, which ranks among the most esteemed events of its kind in Europe, said in a statement, “Despite its deep determination to organize FIAC–this unique rendez-vous bringing together specialists in the field of modern and contemporary art—in 2020, and its efforts to overcome the difficulties caused by the health crisis, the fair is not in a position to organize an event that meets the legitimate expectations of its exhibitors.”
Recently, France, like other Western European countries that had been able to get the spread of the coronavirus under control, reported a surge in new cases. In the past seven days, the country reported over 56,000 new cases, according to data published by the New York Times. In total, France has had over 387,200 confirmed cases with at least 30,850 deaths from the virus.
Unlike most major European art fairs, FIAC had been firm that its in-person edition would take place. Its cancelation comes after fairs such as Frieze London and Art Basel Miami Beach have called off their editions planned for the fall and winter.
FIAC said that the fair’s cancelation also applied to its off-site activities, collectively titled “Hors les Murs,” which had been scheduled for various major tourist attractions throughout the French capital, including the Petit Palais, the Jardin de Tuileries, the Musée National Eugène-Delacroix, the Place Vendôme, and the Place de la Concorde.
Like most other major art fairs that had called off their 2020 editions, FIAC said that it would fully refund all fees that exhibitors had already paid. (The most notable exception to this was the Dallas Art Fair, which did not reimburse fees and which caused an uproar from some exhibitors.)
In its release, FIAC said that the next iteration of the fair is scheduled to return to the temporary Grand Palais in the Champ-de-Mars, the park that stretches from end of the Eiffel Tower. (The fair’s relocation is planned through 2024 as Paris will host that year’s summer Olympic Games.)
Online viewing rooms have replaced in-person editions of fairs such as Art Basel, SP-Arte, Frieze New York, and many others since the pandemic. FIAC’s missive about the fair’s cancelation did not include details about whether there would be a digital edition in lieu of the in-person one, however. ARTnews has reached out to FIAC to confirm whether it has plans to host online viewing rooms.