Jan 31 2020

How the Coronavirus is Impacting Cultural Institutions

by ArtAsiaPacific

*Last updated February 19, 2020

The exterior of the newly reopened and renovated Hong Kong Art Museum, now closed until further notice due to the Hong Kong government’s emergency response to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Photo by ArtAsiaPacific.

The spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) from Wuhan to cities across mainland China, and into special autonomous regions of Hong Kong and Macau, has disrupted the operations of cultural institutions during the Chinese Lunar Year holiday. As governments attempt to restrict large-scale public gatherings to limit contagion, public museums have been ordered to close, and many private museums, galleries, and independent art spaces have followed suit. Here’s a rundown on the situation with art museums, cultural institutions, and galleries.

ArtAsiaPacific’s editors will update this page as more information becomes available.


On January 23, on the eve of the Lunar New Year holiday, also known as the Spring Festival, the Beijing Palace Museum announced it would close the Forbidden City complex beginning Saturday, January 25, until further notice. Many other cultural institutions followed suit, including the National Museum of China. 


National Art Museum: closed since January 24.

UCCA and UCCA Dune: reopening postponed indefinitely. The exhibition “Immaterial / Re-material” (February 22–May 5) has been postponed to a later date. A solo exhibition by Yan Xing (March 8–June 16) will be rescheduled.

M Woods and M Woods Hutong: closed until further notice. On February 13, M Woods launched an online exhibition platform curated by Victor Wang.

X Museum: opening of the new museum and its inaugural exhibition postponed until April.

Beijing Gallery Weekend (March 13–20): postponed to mid-April if the situation is contained. If not, the event will be canceled this year. Organizers to announce final decision by March 15.

798 Art Zone: most galleries have not announced plans for reopening yet. 

Techne Triennial at CAFA Museum: postponed indefinitely

Red Brick Art Museum: extended New Year closure (January 20–31) until further notice. 

Today Art Museum: closed until further notice.


Yuz Museum: closed until further notice.

Tank Shanghai & Qiao Space: closed indefinitely.

Long Museum: closed indefinitely.

Shanghai Center of Photography: closed indefinitely.

West Bund Art Museum: closed indefinitely; public educational program suspended.

Rockbund Museum of Art: closed for renovations until September 2020.


Guangzhou Art Museum: closed indefinitely from January 24.

Guangdong Times Museum: closed since January 23.

He Art Museum: the new platform’s opening has been pushed back, with no date announced yet.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department suspended operations at all sports and cultural facilities beginning on January 29 and will remain shuttered until at least March 2. 

The Hong Kong Museum of Art: closed since January 29, and will remain shut until at least March 2.

M+ Pavilion: closed from January 29 until at least March 1. The winners of the inaugural Sigg Prize and Sigg Fellowship for Chinese Art Research, originally scheduled to be revealed on March 19 during Art Basel, will be announced later.

Tai Kwun Contemporary: closed from January 29 until at least February 23. The next exhibition, due to open on February 15, has been postponed with no new dates yet announced.

Para Site: the space remains closed through February 23.

Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile (CHAT): galleries closed from January 28 until February 23; public programs and workshops in February and March are cancelled or rescheduled. The exhibition period of “Sudo Reiko: Making NUNO Textiles” is extended until March 1.

Asia Art Archive: AAA library open since January 29.

K11 Musea: “the Silicon Valley of Culture” is still open for business. 

Hong Kong Arts Centre: Wan Chai building and theater open. 

Asia Society Hong Kong: building and galleries open; some programs postponed.

Sun Museum: currently closed for preparation of upcoming exhibition, “Chinese Tradition in Western Oil,” opening on February 21.

Art Basel Hong Kong (March 17–22): cancelled. Next edition is scheduled for March 2021.

Art Central (March 18–22): cancelled. Next edition is scheduled for March 2021.

Hong Kong art galleries: many galleries are open, or open by appointment only, while others are running on a limited schedule. Check social media or call ahead to confirm.

Hauser & Wirth: Lorna Simpson’s solo exhibition, originally scheduled to open in March, has been postponed. Plans are underway for a digital gallery that “will showcase key moments from the Hong Kong gallery’s exhibition history along with newly commissioned content.”

Massimo De Carlo: Jim Hodges’ solo exhibition, originally scheduled to open March 16, has been postponed. The current exhibition, John Armleder’s “Clown’s Way,” is open by appointment (contact hongkong@massimodecarlo.com).

Sotheby’s Hong Kong 2020 spring auction series (April 3–8): continuing as planned.

Poly Auction Hong Kong has postponed its spring auction series (April), with details forthcoming. The auction house told AAP that the sales will likely take place in May.

China Guardian Hong Kong announced on February 18 that its spring auction series (April) will be delayed to late May, with details forthcoming. 

Bonhams Hong Kong announced on February 11 that its spring auction series (March) will be rescheduled, with details forthcoming.

Christie’s Hong Kong has delayed its inaugural March 20th Century and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, now slated for May during its spring auction series.


In Macau, the Cultural Affairs Bureau announced the closure of all government-run cultural spaces beginning on January 25 for an indefinite period to prevent the spread of the epidemic. 

Macau Museum of Art: closed since January 25. 

Ox Warehouse: the January 30 exhibition opening has been postponed until further notice.


Most of the cultural institutions in Taiwan are operating under a series of precautionary measures. Museum staff members are required to check their body temperature; wear masks; and be sanitized before going on duty. Public visitors will also have to follow the precautionary measures before entering the venues. Anyone with a body temperature higher than 37.5 degrees Celcius will be denied entrance. The institutions also promises to clean the public spaces more frequently throughout the day.

Taipei Fine Arts Museum: precautionary measures adopted since January 29.

MOCA Taipei: precautionary measures adopted since January 29.


As of February 11, Singapore has the second highest number of confirmed cases outside of mainland China. The Ministry of Health raised its risk assesment of the epidemic to orange, the same warning it issued for SARS, and has recommended cancellations of large-scale events. Despite this, public museums and most galleries remain open.

NUS Arts Festival 2020: cancelled.

ShanghArt Gallery: closed to the public, viewings by appointment only.

National Gallery Singapore has adopted precautionary measures, including temperature taking, as well as travel and contact history declaration for all events.

NTU Centre for Contemporary Art: the February 27 benefit, “A posthuman night,” is canceled. The exhibition “The Posthuman City. Climates. Habitats. Environments” has been extended until March 15. The Centre has also adopted precautionary measures such as temperature taking and obtaining travel history and symptom declarations from visitors.

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