The impact of Covid-19 within the art world.

May 14, 2020
Retro Regard (April 2020)  by Olivier Matuti - C print - 80cm x 80cm
Retro Regard (April 2020) by Olivier Matuti - C print - 80cm x 80cm

Art Basel Hongkong, Art Dubai, Art Paris Art Fair, Art Brussels, Miart, Drawing Now, PAD (Pavilion of Arts and Design), Art Up, Paris Photo New York… There are countless spring art fairs postponed or cancelled following the spread of the coronavirus. The powerful Art Basel is thinking of shifting its dates from June to mid-September. A complete upheaval for an industry which, according to the Art Basel UBS report, represented $ 16.6 billion (14 billion euros) in 2019. Francis Bacon’s 1981 three-part oil painting, “Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus,” was supposed to feature in Sotheby’s marquee contemporary art evening auction in New York on May 13, where it was estimated to sell for at least $60 million. The live auction was postponed and put online in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Following representations by the British Art Market Federation (BAMF) and the Society of Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers (SOFAA) to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) the decision has been made to remove auction houses from the list of business that must remain closed. According to DCMS statement, art and antiques dealers should be able to open premises from June 1. The re-opening plan applies to all auction houses (not just fine art firms) in England only at this stage and any reopening is conditional and based on the government’s Covid Alert System which tracks the reproduction rate of the coronavirus and new infection rates. Like companies all over the world, auction houses now find themselves in uncharted territory, trying to find a way to keep their businesses afloat even as the future of buying art looks as if it may be forever changed. Like most players in the various professional sectors, this situation also has a direct impact on artists. Without these activities, their income is directly affected. Despite this, by nature of their profession artists often thrive in times of adversity and many of them have used this time and experience to find other ways to connect with the art loving public by publishing their latest creations through social media channels Among the artists linked to Demif Gallery, Claudy Khan based in France, who had just participated in a series of exhibitions in Central Africa at the beginning of this year, has just finished two paintings including "Open your mind". Olivier Matuti, based in Germany who we approached, has already produced 4 paintings which were inspired “unconsciously or directly from the pandemic of Covid-19” according to his own statement. Angela Franklin, participant in the Stained Glass Initiative residency at Xavier University Ohio during the lockdown has produced 4 pieces. For their part, Aza Mansongi who is currently in Douala in Cameroon, Mumpasi in Luanda, Bouvy Enkobo in Kinshasa or Angela Franklin in the United States are also working each in their own univers.

About the author

Didier Demif

Add a comment