News from the Art Market

Photo: Daria Rem

In this article, we’ll look at some of the most important news from the art market in the past week. We’ll comment on how Italian museums began to reopen, International Museum Day, how the Venice Art Biennale will be delayed, the rejection of artists by the British government’s self-employment support scheme, UK galleries putting on virtual shows during the lock-in, US art dealers struggling to survive and how the Met is not expected to reopen before next August. 

Italian museums began reopening

Mole Antonelliana
Mole Antonelliana in Turin, Italy. Photo by Ralf Steinberger

On May 18 after a 55 billion euro government lifeline. The national spending package includes emergency support for state museums, arts organizations, and cultural enterprises. Italian museums have suffered a financial blow in the last 70 days of closure, but the government has thrown them a lifeline with measures included in a 55 billion euro national spending package called the “Decreto Rilancio” (relaunch decree) announced last Wednesday. There was more good news over the weekend. It had been said that the museums could reopen from 18 May, and on Saturday night, Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini gave the green light. 

International Museum Day

Musée du Louvre, Paris
Musée du Louvre, Paris

This year’s International Museum Day has as its theme “Museums for Equality”: Diversity and Inclusion. International Museum Day was celebrated on May 18, an initiative coordinated by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) every May 18 since 1977. Suay Aksoy, president of Icom, says that the museums closed by the Covid-19 closures “need to defend themselves because their survival may depend on it. With thousands of cultural institutions closed due to the Covid-19 closures around the world and isolated from their physical audiences, many have migrated online, launching virtual tours, webinars, and social media campaigns in recognition of the day under hashtags #IMD2020 and #Museums4Equality. 

The Venice Biennale will take place from 23 April to 27 November 2022.


The 59th Venice Biennale will be held in 2022 following the decision of the Biennale’s officials to postpone the Architecture Biennale until May 2021 due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. The most prestigious biennial in the world was initially planned for next year. The move means that the art calendar is in flux again with the art biennial, overseen by Italian curator Cecilia Alemani, now scheduled to take place from 23 April to 27 November 2022. Other important events planned for the summer of 2022 are Documenta 15 in Kassel, Germany (18 June to 25 September), and the Lyon Biennial (September).

Rejection of artists by the British government’s self-employment

Photo by Polina Zimmerman

Many British artists and musicians do not qualify for the British government’s income support program for the self-employed (SEISS). Many British artists and musicians, whose income has been decimated by Covid-19, are not eligible for the UK government’s self-employed income support scheme (SEISS), which was launched online last week and attracted hundreds of thousands of applications. The Musicians’ Union estimates that nearly 40% of its members do not meet all the requirements of the scheme, which stipulates that at least 50% of an individual’s income must come from self-employment and their earnings must be £50,000 or less. 

UK galleries putting on virtual shows during the lock-in

Galleries in the UK are putting on virtual shows at the Bull Run using a new digital tool. The Art UK’s Curations initiative allows “anyone anywhere with Internet access” to create an exhibition using the national image database. A new online tool called Curations allows institutions to put on virtual shows. UK museums and galleries have been given a digital lifeline with the launch of a new online tool called Curations that allows institutions to put on virtual shows during the coronavirus pandemic. Curations, an open-source initiative of the Art UK charity, allows users to create exhibitions from Art UK’s online collection which currently includes more than 250,000 works by 46,000 artists from over 3,000 public institutions.

US art dealers struggling to survive

Art dealers in the US are struggling to survive while a new report projects a 73% loss of income. A survey by the Art Dealers Association of America also reveals a 74% reduction in employment for contractors and freelancers due to the coronavirus. As numerous organizations try to measure the financial consequences of the coronavirus (Covid-19) on the art world, the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) today released its latest findings, revealing that U.S. art galleries are projecting a 73% loss of revenue for the second fiscal quarter. In addition, there may be few resources for the recovery of these businesses and even some forays into financial relief for their artists and staff in the short term. Of the galleries surveyed, 76% applied for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Payment Check Protection Program (PPP) Loan, launched in March by the Trump administration as a financial relief measure; only 28% of galleries were confirmed for the forgivable loan to help cover staff and operating costs and nearly a quarter of applicants have yet to receive any response. About 40% of survey respondents had also applied for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), of which only 11% were approved.

The Met is not expected to reopen before next August

The Met will not reopen until mid-August at the earliest. The museum also cancels visits, lectures, concerts, and events until the end of the year. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has postponed its scheduled reopening date from July 1 to mid-August or “maybe a few weeks later. The museum says its postponed opening is being planned in conjunction with New York State’s cautiously phased plan to reopen the city as coronavirus cases recede. The Met paved the way for many art institutions by closing in response to the growing Covid-19 contagion in New York City on March 12. The museum later proposed a reopening date of July 1. 

Hopefully the coronavirus can be controlled and all kinds of activities around the world can gradually return to normal. From this humble article, we hope that art will find its place again in this society that will surely be changed after passing this hard test. I am sure that artistic expressions will continue to change and adapt, as they always have and always will.

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