London Galleries Reopening, but Museums Face Long Fight for Survival
9 June 2020
Closed since the middle of March, galleries in central London will finally reopen to visitors from next Monday.
Exhibition view: James Turrell, Pace Gallery, London (11 February–14 August 2020). © James Turrell. Courtesy Pace Gallery. Photo: Damian Griffiths.
London galleries including White Cube Mason's Yard, Hauser & Wirth, David Zwirner, and Pace will finally reopen to visitors from Monday 15 June, according to a statement shared by the galleries. Visits will be by appointment only, and people are encouraged to wear masks.
'I know that our members are looking forward to opening their doors again after the long lockdown,' said Christopher Battiscombe, Director General, Society of London Art Dealers. 'Much as they have enjoyed doing business online, it will be great for them to be able to meet their customers face to face again and we are confident that this can be done safely while observing all the necessary precautions.'
Other London galleries reopening next week include Thomas Dane Gallery, Luxembourg & Dayan, Holtermann Fine Art, Stephen Friedman Gallery, Gagosian, Goodman Gallery, Annely Juda Fine Art, Simon Lee Gallery, Sprüth Magers, and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac.
Despite galleries reopening in much of Europe, Art Basel cancelled its 2020 edition in Basel, Switzerland, late last week. The fair's Online Viewing Rooms will go live June 17-26, and the physical fair will return June 15-20, 2021.
Museums in the UK face are also facing a long and difficul return to normal operations, according to a new report from Art Fund. A survey of 400 museum directors and professionals found over half of directors were concerned about the viability of their institutions, with 85% concerned about the ability to attract visitors back.
The report found that 'some venues are planning to open in late summer, some in autumn and some in the new year'.
Even after reopening with social distancing measures in place, many museum workers are expecting to adjust their programming, pivoting away from bought-in blockbusters towards collection-based exhibitions.
'The challenge faced by the museum sector cannot be overstated,' said Art Fund's director of programme and policy Sarah Philp. —[O]