Gallery Weekend Beijing postponed as Covid restrictions tighten in Chinese capital

As pandemic controls intensify in the Chinese capital, Gallery Weekend Beijing has postponed its 2022 edition indefinitely, it was announced yesterday.

“In light of the latest epidemic prevention policies in Beijing”, and discussions with participants and funders, “we have mutually agreed on the decision to postpone the event”, explains its director Amber Yifei Wang. The gallery weekend was scheduled to run from May 27 to June 5.

While Beijing has so far escaped the strict lockdowns in place across much of China, working from home and regular mass PCR testing have become the norm, and domestic travel within China has become nearly impossible. Beijingers have been stocking up on fridges and relief supplies ahead of tighter controls.

This year, the event was, for the first time, to take place near two major Beijing fairs: JingArt and Beijing Contemporary Art Expo, or Beijing Dangdai in Mandarin, initially scheduled for May 26-29 and May 19-22. , respectively. It would have been Beijing’s first stab at a concentrated arts season like Shanghai’s in November. Late last month, Dangdai was postponed from June 30 to July 3, while a JingArt spokesperson confirms that the fair will also be postponed, although no new date has been given.

“We [are due to have] more than 140 exhibitors from all over China and the world, more than 50 are from Beijing and more than 20 are from Shanghai,” a Beijing Dangdai spokesperson said. “So when the pandemic in Shanghai got worse and cases started to appear in Beijing, after careful consideration, we thought it was a responsible decision to delay.” Shanghai has been under a full and comprehensive citywide lockdown since April 1, amid rumors that Beijing is following suit. “We are optimistic about a mid-summer opening as we believe the pandemic will be well controlled and contained – we have in fact chosen to open the fair in mid-summer for the past few years,” adds the spokesperson.

Gallery Weekend, organized by the 798 Art District, plans to host 40 nonprofit galleries and institutions this year, including a number of visiting galleries from other cities. Along with the main sector, Wang says, “if the situation allows, the tour sector should start operating at the end of June, along with a series of our social events.” She anticipates that the online programming will extend beyond the nine days of the in-person event. “Ideally, other art events will overlap with the gallery weekend, so we can celebrate the creative spirit of the city together. However, we will select our new dates independently and respect the choices of other events.

The JingArt spokesperson points out that even with overlapping events, Beijing lacks the municipal government support that facilitates Shanghai Art Week.

Back To Top