Major Paris art fair cancelled after months of speculation

Citing new travel restrictions imposed across Europe and the rise of coronavirus cases in France, Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain (FIAC) will no longer go ahead in Paris next month.  

Despite our efforts and our deep determination to organize FIAC in 2020, we are not in a position to offer you an event that meets your legitimate expectations,” Director Jennifer Flay and Head of Institutional Relations Charlotte Ardon explained in a joint statement. 

FIAC’s decision to cancel the 47th edition of the modern and contemporary fair is yet another major blow to the international art circuit. It was also announced that their outdoor installation at the Grand Palais, known as ‘Hors les Murs’, will be scrapped this year too. 

Anne-Claudie Coric, the Executive Director of Paris’s Templon gallery, said the cancellation was “a great disappointment but not a surprise. We have been waiting for days for a clear answer.” 

Previous FIAC fairs have welcomed between 190 and 199 participating exhibitors. FIAC has since confirmed that this year’s exhibitors who had paid upfront will be reimbursed 100% of the fees. 

Flay and Ardon revealed the decision was not taken lightly and had followed “numerous and constant discussions” with dealers, collectors and other partners. But some have criticised the weeks of uncertainty leading up to the announcement, as well as the final choice to not go ahead with the fair.  

I wish the organisers of FIAC had accepted the challenge and shown more solidarity to its core clients: the French galleries,” Coric remarked. “The Parisian scene is dynamic enough to sustain a great contemporary art fair and everyone would have understood if, for once, it had been less international.” 

Alongside new international travel restrictions, the recent surge of coronavirus cases in France due to people returning to work and school has continued to have a considerable impact on the art market.   

Not all fairs, however, have befallen the same fate as FIAC – Art Paris 2020 tentatively opened earlier this month at the Grand Palais to more than 55,000 visitors. According to Coric, it was an “unexpected success.” She added: “when we started seeing all of our collectors, everyone happy and wearing masks, it was an exhilarating experience.”  

Organisers have postponed FIAC art fair until October 2021.  

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