It is back to school — but not as we know it — for the art market this week. As for most industries (and indeed schools), the next few months look far from normal while cases of Covid-19 are closely monitored around the world. The latest in-real-life art fair cancellations stretch from the already-postponed Photo London and Liste in Basel, to South Africa's FNB Art Joburg and — announced this week — Art Basel in Miami Beach, the franchise's third cancellation of 2020. Fiac in Paris — determinedly due to take place on October 22-25 — could yet get hit by further lockdowns in France. A decision on the Paris fair is expected next week.
Smaller-scale events look the most secure just now. Laurent Mercier, managing partner of Belgium's Maruani Mercier gallery, has therefore pulled together 11 of the city's respected galleries for a new mini-fair, Warehouse (November 12-15). "When Art Brussels got cancelled [in April], it seemed a pity not to have a local rendez-vous for this city's important collectors," Mercier says. He is offering (free of charge) his 1,900 sq ft space in Zaventem, very close to Brussels airport. Participating galleries include Templon, Mendes Wood DM and Sorry We're Closed. When it comes to the thorny issue of where in the building each gallery gets its slot, Mercier has found the perfect solution. "We pulled names out of a hat," he says.