2021 art fair calendar already in flux after Taipei Dangdai moves from January to May

Delay and cancellation of events early next year prompts the question: will Frieze Los Angeles still take place in February?

The crowded isles of Taipei Dangdai in 2019 Courtesy of Taipei Dangdai

The crowded isles of Taipei Dangdai in 2019 Courtesy of Taipei Dangdai

The art fair calendar for early 2021 looks almost as unsettled as this year’s schedule as Taipei Dangdai in Taiwan becomes the latest fair to shift its dates, moving from January to May. The Melbourne Art Fair, due to be held in February, has been postponed until 2022; all eyes will now be on Frieze Los Angeles which is still scheduled to take place next February.

The decision to postpone the Taiwan fair was made “in light of the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 and ongoing quarantine and travel restrictions”, say the organisers; the third edition is due to take place at Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center from 21 to 23 May.

Galleries are still invited to apply with applications open until November. “We are aiming to announce a full gallery list in February 2021,” says a fair spokeswoman. The last edition in January drew Western heavyweights such as David Zwirner and Gagosian as well as an array of established mid-size and smaller galleries from across Asia.

“We are already receiving applications and strong interest from both returning galleries and new applicants from around the world, who are keen to engage with this important market.” says Magnus Renfrew, the co-director of Taipei Dangdai, in a statement.

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac has confirmed to The Art Newspaper that it hopes to exhibit at the postponed event. Meanwhile, Joanna Strumpf, co-owner of Sullivan+Strumpf gallery in Sydney, says: "We have enjoyed the last two editions of the fair and if it is feasible, and we are allowed to travel freely, then of course we would want to participate. It has proved itself so far to be a high calibre fair, we have made important connections through it and Taiwan has such a long tradition of engaged collectors."

Several new initiatives will be announced in the coming months to provide “opportunities for galleries and collectors to connect”, the organisers add. The fair’s conversation programme, known as Ideas Forum, will take place both online and offline.

The latest report published by Art Basel and UBS cast doubt on the resurgence of art fairs in 2021 with most collectors saying they did not plan to travel to art events until the second half of next year. Marc Spiegler, the global director of Art Basel, believes Art Basel’s Hong Kong show, the bellwether fair in Asia, will go ahead in March 2021. “Our assumption is it will happen—if you stop working on it, it won’t happen,” he says.

Fairs in France, meanwhile, are the exception to the rule; the modern and contemporary Art Paris fair is currently running at the Grand Palais (until 13 September) with 112 participating galleries. “There’s a good vibe but few sales,” says an anonymous French journalist. Crucially, the next edition of Fiac is still scheduled to take place from 22 to 25 October at the Grand Palais according to the fair website, but the organisers are expected to make an announcement about whether they will actually proceed imminently.