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Tag : coronavirus

Living in Unusual Times

We are currently living in a world where self preservation has taken on an urgency not seen in my lifetime.

The toilet roll saga has lead to empty shelves of anything related to soft papers for delicate body areas.

It has expanded to a hunter gatherer mode where shelves that once held pasta, rice, flour, sugar and other deemed staples are emptying at express rates.

Over one hundred countries checking their options to lock down in self preservation against a microscopic bug.

All major venues closing until further notice and/or one month at the minimum.

World renowned museums and galleries are in shut down and most importantly YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Art at St. Francis is closed until further notice. The current significant exhibition namely: Marks in Time – my exhibition on a world scale cannot be viewed. it is with SINCERE APOLOGIES that I advise all that the best way to see my work is via the attached images.


Art Basel Cancels Hong Kong Fair

Amid Coronavirus Scare and Ongoing Protests, Art Basel Cancels Hong Kong Fair

An article by Alex Greenberger

Senior Editor, ARTnews

After a tumultuous period in Hong Kong marked by continuing protests and fears of a coronavirus outbreak, Art Basel has called off its fair in the city. The fair had been due to run from March 19 to 21. In a release about the fair’s cancelation, MCH Group, the holding company that owns Art Basel, said that the coronavirus and “severe logistical challenges” limiting travel were among the “numerous factors” that had influenced the decision. The ongoing protests were not mentioned in the release.
“Our thoughts are with those affected by the recent coronavirus outbreak all around the world,” Marc Spiegler, the global director of Art Basel, said in a statement. “We are acutely aware of the important role that the fair plays within the region’s cultural scene and for our galleries, both in Asia and around the globe. Our team dedicated extensive time and effort to ensure our show in March would be a success over the course of the past year. Unfortunately, the sudden outbreak and rapid spread of the novel coronavirus radically changed the situation.”

Adeline Ooi, Art Basel’s Asia director, promised that the fair would return in 2021. Next year’s edition is currently slated to run from March 25 to 27.
Shortly after Art Basel called off its Hong Kong fair, Art Central, another event of the sort in the city, followed suit. “The uncertainty has made it increasingly untenable to guarantee the safety and well-being of the public,” Art Central said in a statement. “Acting on its obligation to deliver a successful event which is ever dependent on a strong audience, the fair’s organizers today concede to the simultaneous myriad challenges.”
The Art Basel cancelation comes after the fair tried to console exhibitors worried about showing in Hong Kong while protests raged on. The fair had previously said in December that it would offer discounts on shipping and lodging because “we deeply value our relationship with our gallerists.” A representative for the fair said exhibitors would get a 75 percent refund on their booths.
The discounts offered originally by the fair in January proved to not be enough for some of the fair’s 240-plus exhibitors. Luxembourg & Dayan, SCAI the Bathhouse, and Tyler Rollins Fine Art dropped out of Art Basel Hong Kong in January, and days later, 24 enterprises with plans to exhibit there called on the fair to do more to alleviate its exhibitors’ concerns about a volatile market in the city. Dealer Richard Nagy followed with his own letter to Art Basel in which he said that the fair was “now commercially on artificial life support.”

Getting there was also proving increasingly difficult for exhibitors, due to travel restrictions put in place amid the spread of the coronavirus. Cathay Pacific and British Airways were among the airlines that had canceled flights over the course of the coming month, and U.S. officials urged people to avoid traveling to China for non-essential reasons.
An unlikely combination of factors has led art spaces to close for varying periods of time over the past month. In November, with protests taking place in Hong Kong’s streets, Hauser & Wirth postponed a planned opening of an Annie Leibovitz show; the exhibition still has yet to go on view in Hong Kong. And in January, public art institutions shuttered in the city as officials worked to contain the coronavirus, which has sickened more than 4,600 in China alone. At the time, Art Basel said it was “closely monitoring” the situation.
Last week, two Beijing institutions also postponed major events that were set to occur there. The CAFA Art Museum postponed the opening of its CAFAM Techne Triennial, which had been slated to open in October, and the X Museum, a new private museum founded by collector Michael Xufu Huang and businesswoman Theresa Tse, called off its inauguration. This week, the He Art Museum followed suit and delayed its opening, scheduled for March 21, for an as of yet unannounced date. Beijing Art Weekend postponed its 2020 edition to April, leaving open the potential for cancelation if conditions did not improve by mid-April.  And on Thursday, February 6, with the death toll exceeding 500 from the coronavirus in China,  the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art said three exhibitions slated to open in February and March would not open on their expected dates.
Some have cast doubt on whether the protests had impacted the art market in Hong Kong. Dealer David Zwirner, whose mega-gallery operates a space in Hong Kong, told ARTnews in December that the market in the city remains “alive and well.” He wound up canceling a Luc Tuymans show that had been slated to happen at his Hong Kong gallery this year.
This is not the first time Art Basel has canceled a fair. In 2001, following 9/11 and an anthrax scare, Art Basel postponed the inaugural edition of its Miami Beach art fair. The deposits paid by exhibitors that year were put toward the following edition.

Go to:  ARTnews.com

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Vincent Yu/AP/Shutterstock (10169553d)
People stand around an artwork created by South Korean artist Lee Bul at Art Basel in Hong Kong . Art Basel, one of the world’s most prestigious modern and contemporary art exhibitions, is returning to Hong Kong in its seventh edition. The prestige art fair is hosting 242 galleries from 35 countries and territories
China Art Basel, Hong Kong, Hong Kong – 27 Mar 2019

From SARS to nCoV-2019


My first journey to China was in September 2002. My friend Lesley invited me to go with a group to study Fengshui. At that time I was finishing my MFA at RMIT in Melbourne and said yes as the journey was to be in April 2003.
Mid 2002 Lesley contacted me to say that the journey had to be brought forward as we could not travel in April 2003. She did not know why, however, spirit had told her to take the group in September 2002. I was in a dilemma as it was a crucial time in my studies and had to ask for dispensation to take the trip.
The university was not too pleased, however, obliged.
I mention this journey in the Changing Directions blog.
As it turned out in March 2003, China closed its doors to foreigners due to the SARS epidemic. When I spoke to Lesley on this she said that she receives the spirit messages and very strongly needs to follow the directions, hence the outcome and reason for our changed plans was SARS.
The World Health Organization declared the SARS outbreak contained in July 2003, at which time Brian Wallace from Redgate Gallery contacted me and asked if I would like to take a residency with him in August. After four months of lockdown China was accepting foreigners again.
When I arrived at the Shangrila studios in Feijiacun, early August, the road to the studios was barricaded by a boom gate with a guard. Apparently we were the first artists to enter the studios after the opening up after SARS. A knock on the door and Li Gang introduced himself, an artist living in the same compound who spoke good English as he had studied in Australia. Li Gang accompanied us on a walk into the local Feijiacun village. He explained that the villagers knew him well and as we were with him we would then be accepted into the area and they would not be nervous of us.
I spent just under a month at the residency, working in the studio, had my first exhibition, met many artists, saw the famous 798 Art District, a converted munitions factory built in 1953 by Germans and engaged on many levels with all sorts of people.
The Redgate Residency is a superb way for artists to experience China and the very vibrant Art Scene Beijing had to offer.
Here I am late January 2020, GOSH!!! Nearly seventeen years later and about to leave Beijing due to concerns regarding the Coronavirus.
A virus that had its inception in Wuhan Markets in late December and spread rapidly with nearly 2,000 confirmed cases and 50 people dead has caused, as of today twelve Hubei Province cities to be locked down affecting some 62.8 million people.
With the great Chinese New Year migration of people traveling to be with family, many will be caught in areas unable to return to work and school. Wuhan streets are virtually isolated with only service vehicles able to traverse the city, airport and public transport is at a standstill and stores are being emptied of food without replacement.
On 24 January President Xi Jinping declares that it is a grave situation and two new hospitals are currently being built in Wuhan to cater for the casualties.
Any place where crowds would gather has been closed, meaning the Chinese New Year Temple Fairs, Imperial Palace, Shanghai Disneyland, a section of the Great Wall, Starbucks and McDonalds cannot be accessed.
Based in Beijing, and arriving on Wednesday 22, from another friend’s apartment in Xi Mapo,  I am currently staying at Fabio and Abigail’s apartment in downtown Beijing, where I have internet access and a grand view across the city from the 25th floor. My friend Anne Hastie and I in a way have isolated ourselves, keeping a store of the necessities like beer and pasta. As I look across the cityscape I can no longer see the old CCTV tower as ‘haze’ impinges us and the AQI reading of 170 recommends masks, staying indoors and no outdoor activities. We are waiting for wind, as is usual in Beijing, as it will take the ‘haze’ across to the East towards Shanghai, which here is not our concern.
I have followed the reports on the Novel Coronavirus and today decided that it is time for me to depart. As an asthmatic and a disposition towards Bronchial issues it is wise to leave. As I write Anne tells me that Beijing has stopped all Tourist Groups and Buses from coming into the city.
My ticket is booked and paid for to depart on Wednesday 29; I am sorry to leave a place that has been good to me for the past seventeen years. In this year of the ‘rat’ I quietly feel like the rat deserting a metaphorically sinking ship.

Written on Sunday 26th January 2020, as I watch the night lights brighten an otherwise grey sky.

Post Script:
On Monday (27) Fabio returned home to Beijing, called back from a holiday with his family in Italy and San Diego. He is the chief of WHO in Beijing and walked into the apartment to prepare himself for a meeting with Chinese Health directors and President Xi Jinping on Tuesday. All Taxi and Didi(Uber) transport has been closed within the inner-city of Beijing but Fabio managed to get one from the airport. I walked to Dongzhimen Station where men in white coveralls checked my temperature; the train was virtually empty on both Line 13 and 15. I then took the No. 32 bus and was the only customer. Upon arrival at my apartment in Xi Mapo my friend Jingjing contacted me to advise that the apartment tenants have been urged not to meet people, to stay inside and not to socialize. She tells me that if someone knocks do not answer the door as they are the Community Carers and want to ask questions.
I had planned to go to my storage on Tuesday (28) before departing, informed Hongmei and suggested for her comfort that I do not interact with her while at her house. On the bus going to the site I was informed that Hongmei’s village had been sealed off to people entering and leaving, that I cannot go inside the property. On the walk from the bus stop back to the apartment all restaurants and stores are closed except for the cigarette and alcohol shop. Jingjing reserved a 9am taxi for my trip to the airport, although the flight was at 13:30 I prefered to get there early to avoid any hiccups. Wisely Anne has decided to also abandon her time in China and leave the following Monday. Unfortunately, her commitment was for three months with a paid for studio, power, water, etc.
Wednesday Morning (29) I received a message to say that Carrie Lam is restricting transport between Hong Kong Island and the Mainland, citizens cannot travel across Hong Kong harbour.
I had arranged to meet friends in the four days of my stay in Hong Kong, however they all live on Hong Kong Island. I do not think it wise to stay in Kowloon for four nights; after a call to Cathay Pacific, in Sydney, I was able to change my flight to leave Hong Kong on 30th January. At the Beijing airport many people were wearing masks, I needed to complete a health information form and surprisingly no temperature checks. At Hong Kong Airport arriving passengers needed also to complete a health information form, also much mask wearing and pump containers of sterilizing hand wash are everywhere. The hotel manager checked my temperature after we spent a lot of time going through a procedure with booking.com to waiver the three nights that I will not stay. Staff at the Panorama Hotel are most obliging and it is a very comfortable hotel. I sent emails and messages to family and friends advising my situation and that I am well. My dear sister Carol replied to say “Thank God, I was so worried about you.” Friends and family made contact to check on my travel progress with Karin in Hong Kong ringing on Thursday morning to check that all was going smoothly.
It is not always known to me the impact across many countries and people of the life style that I choose to live, it spreads widely. One does not simply move through this life as a single entity, a life has tendrils that reach far out into the aethers of others lives, that link us inextricably. It is now 3.5 hours until my arrival in Melbourne, I am zooming above the clouds, speeding through the blueness of space in a plane that has no spare seats and an aura of calmness seems to hover within.

The attached Images by Bruce Connolly based in China, look up his Facebook Page.