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Coronavirus puts major Chinese museum

The Tadao Ando-designed He Art Museum will now open at a later date. Image Courtesy of the museum.

Amah-Rose Abrams, The Openings of Two Major New Chinese Museums Have Been Put on Hold Because of the Coronavirus, ArtNet, 4 February 2020

The X Museum and the He Art Museum have postponed their grand openings as China grapples with how to put a lid on the virus.

Organizers behind the new He Art Museum in Foshan, China, have decided to delay the institution’s scheduled opening due to the global outbreak of the coronavirus.

“The health and safety of [the museum’s] staff, construction workers, artists, future visitors, and international collaborators are of top priority,” the museum said in a statement quoted by the Art Newspaper.

The private institution, which is supported by He Jianfeng, the founder of the Midea electronics company, said it was “closely following measures from the Chinese government and World Health Organization.”

Site tours have been cancelled, and a scheduled press event in London has also been postponed.

The Tadao Ando-designed museum, originally slated to open on March 21, is roughly a 12-hour drive from Wuhan, where the outbreak originated. At least 420 people have died in China from the virus, and more than 20,000 cases have been confirmed by the Chinese government, according to the New York Times.

Last week, the scheduled opening of the X Museum in Beijing was postponed because of the outbreak, and the Design Shanghai fair has also been pushed back. It is now scheduled to take place from May 26 to 29.

“I want to do it well, so I don’t need to force [the] opening [of the] X Museum in March with so many uncertainties,” Michael Xufu Huang, the museums’s cofounder, said in a statement to the Art Newspaper. The institution is now scheduled to open in April.

Chinese authorities also closed off access to parts of the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City. The fate of Beijing Gallery Weekend, which is scheduled for March, is still undecided.

Hong Kong, which now has 15 reported cases of the coronavirus, has also closed attractions and placed restrictions on migration to and from the mainland. Museums, stadiums, and other public gathering places are all currently off limits.

There are also big questions hanging over Art Basel Hong Kong, which is due to open on March 19. While international exhibitors are urging fair organizers to cancel the upcoming edition, local dealers in Hong Kong are demanding that organizers do exactly the opposite.

Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Lynley Crosswell, Museums Victoria, GPO Box 666, Melbourne VIC 3001, © CAMD 2023
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