The CAFA Art Museum (CAFAM) in Beijing has pushed back the opening of the inaugural edition of the CAFAM Techne Triennial, which was supposed to begin welcoming visitors on January 18, due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. In a statement issued by the museum on Thursday, organizers said that the decision to postpone the event was made on the advice of the Chinese ministry.
“To reduce mass gathering amid the outbreak of the coronavirus, CAFA Art Museum (CAFAM) will postpone the CAFAM Techne Triennial 2020 and has suspended its preparations for the exhibition, CAFA Art museum director ZHANG Zikang said. “We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this change, and hope that you understand the unexpected and complex situation we are facing.”
Titled “Topologies of the Real,” the two-part exhibition invited more than 130 artists from twenty-eight countries to countries to participate. Curated by Zhang Ga, a professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, the triennial aimed to spotlight current advances in media art and also intended to explore the intersection between art and technology.
The announcement comes on the heels of the closure of museums and other public spaces in China and Hong Kong including the Beijing Palace Museum, the National Museum of China, and the Guangdong Art Museum.
According to the New York Times, the coronavirus has reached every province in China—more than 7,700 cases have been confirmed and at least 170 people have died. The illness has also spread to eighteen countries including the United States where five cases are confirmed. In an attempt to contain the virus, China has barred people from traveling to and from Wuhan, where the illness was first reported and airlines have begun to reduce flights to the country.
“I think the next four to five weeks are going to be critical. It’s either going to start peaking and go into a downturn, or it’s going to explode into a global outbreak,” said Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases—an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services—in a podcast produced by the Journal of the American Medical Association.