Art Basel cancels Abu Dhabi event

Art Basel has cancelled ‘Art Basel Inside’ a three-day event planned to take place in Abu Dhabi in February. Neither an art fair nor part of the company's ‘cities’ consultancy strand, little information was ever made public as to what form the event would take. 

The scant details announced in September claimed that 'Thematic journeys, site-specific installations and commissioned performances will be complemented by dynamic dialogues and workshops with visionary guest speakers from the worlds of technology and science, addressing topics such as intelligence, environments, sustainability, and the role of the arts. Smaller break-out sessions will allow for more in-depth conversations and exchanges, with a focus on challenging conventional notions and discussing alternative pathways for the future.'

Art Basel Inside was to be programmed in partnership with Abu Dhabi’s department of culture and tourism by art historian Marc-Olivier Wahler. Artnet reported tickets would cost a hefty $5,000, including accommodation and ‘curated culinary experiences’ but not flights. Now however the company had pulled the plug, telling Art News in a statement ‘Art Basel Inside in Abu Dhabi in February 2020 was always an ambitious project on quite a short timeline. Despite a lot of excitement for the project, support from our partners, and incredibly hard work by the team, we were not able to move forward with Art Basel Inside.’

A dedicated Instagram account has now been deleted.

The dates of the event would have overlapped with rival Frieze Los Angeles. Art Basel’s parent company MCH Group has been undergoing restructuring, announcing in September that is would concentrate on its core fair business, at the cost of scaling back its live event production services. The fairs in Basel, Miami and Hong Kong will run as scheduled, and the company says that the relationship with the city of Buenos Aires, which hosted the first Art Basel Cities Week in September 2018, is ongoing. No new partners have been announced for the 'cities' programme however. 

27 November 2019