Sydney Contemporary cancels 2020 edition

Australasia’s largest art fair will return in September 2021.

Words: Camilla Wagstaff

Sydney Contemporary, Australasia’s largest art fair, is the latest to succumb to the uncertainly of COVID-19, announcing the cancellation of its 2020 iteration.

“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, given the uncertainty surrounding public gatherings and restrictions on travel, we have made the decision that Sydney Contemporary will return in 2021,” said founder and co-owner of the fair Tim Etchells in a statement.

The fair’s cancellation comes as another major blow to the region’s commercial arts sector, which is already feeling the effects of the global health crisis.

First presented in 2013 and presented annually since 2017, Sydney Contemporary represents the highest short-term concentration of art sales in Australia annually, according to fair organisers. Each iteration of Sydney Contemporary attracts more than 25,000 visitors, and the last four editions have generated $80 million in art sales for participating galleries and their artists.

In light of fair venue Carriageworks announcing voluntary administration this month, it is unclear whether the fair will return to the impressive inner-city Sydney space next year.

“Sydney Contemporary has proudly called Carriageworks home since our first fair in 2013, which I believe to be one of the best venues in the world for an art fair,” says Etchells. “Carriageworks remains our primary choice and we very much hope to return in 2021. We wish Carriageworks every success as they see themselves through the upcoming period.”

Image: Sydney Contemporary exterior. Photo: Zan Wimberley.


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