Following the coronavirus-induced cancellation of its Hong Kong and Basel fairs, organizers of Art Basel have announced plans to launch two thematic Online Viewing Rooms in September and October.
The initiatives, described as "freestanding, thematic editions," will feature no more than 100 galleries, all of which would have participated in a past edition of Art Basel fairs from 2018 onwards.
Participating galleries will be selected by two newly formed selection committees, which are both composed of prominent gallerists and directors from around the world.
Among the September committee are Sadie Coles, Massimo De Carlo, Mills Morán, Prateek Raja of Experimenter Gallery, Lisa Spellman and Jasmin Tsou.
Meanwhile, the October committee consists of Emi Eu, David Fleiss, Thiago Gomide, Steven Henry, Lucy Mitchell-Innes and Mary Sabbatino.
While galleries participating in Art Basel's new Online Viewing Rooms will be announced in the coming weeks, each of them will present tightly curated exhibitions drawn from their programs, showing up to six works simultaneously.
Unlike previous iterations of Art Basel's Online Viewing Rooms, each gallery will have to pay a participation fee of CHF 5,000 (around $5,500) for each of the new editions.
Additionally, the platform will feature a new live-chat function, allowing collectors and visitors to connect seamlessly with galleries.
"While the art market still faces difficult times, we feel it is pivotal for us to continue exploring different ways of supporting galleries and engaging with our audiences," Art Basel's director Marc Spiegler said in a statement.
The first edition of Art Basel's thematic Online Viewing Rooms, dubbed "OVR:2020," will be dedicated to artwork produced in 2020 and will run from September 23 through 26.
Focusing on works made in the 20th century, "OVR:20c" will then take place from October 28 through 31.
Meanwhile, organizers of Art Basel have also announced that another Online Viewing Room will be launched in December to coincide with the 2020 edition of Art Basel Miami Beach, which is still scheduled to take place in-person.
Although details about the initiative will be revealed in the coming months, organizers acknowledged the uncertainty surrounding this year's iteration of Art Basel Miami Beach, which is scheduled to run December 3-6.