Art museums in Shanghai and Shenzhen are closing again as rising Covid-19 cases across mainland China are forcing cultural hubs in the region into yet another pandemic-induced pause.
Prominent institutions located in Shanghai’s West Bund cultural district announced last week that they would temporarily close. Among those announcing closures are Langt Museum, West Bund Museum, Yuz Museum, Museum of Art Pudong, Powerlong Museum, Power Station of Art and OCAT Shanghai. They made the decision to close on March 10, just before the government ordered the closure of regional schools.
An outpost in Shanghai of the Beijing-based UCCA Center for Contemporary Art known as the UCCA Edge had planned to mount an exhibition of works by Thomas Demand on April 2nd. The show is set to be the artist’s first comprehensive study in China, but now it is unclear whether the institution, which opened in May, will be able to hold the exhibition as planned.
Cultural institutions in Shenzhen, a city located in Guangdong province in southeastern China, also closed due to shutdowns imposed earlier this week. The OCT Contemporary Art Terminal and Pingshan Art Museum, located at the Pingshan Culture Quarter, are among the institutions in the city that have also announced temporary closures, according to Artnet News.
As it stands now, museums in cities in southern China, such as Guangzhou and Shunde, remain open to the public.
China has introduced a zero-Covid policy that demands isolation for its citizens. Due to its strict rules, the policy has forced many public spaces to close temporarily, affecting revenue streams in the process.
After largely avoiding the worst of the pandemic in such a long time, Hong Kong was hit hard by the Omicron variant this year, increasing a Covid death toll surpassing that of the United States. According to city officials, Covid-19 infections peaked in Hong Kong in early March. All institutions and public spaces in the city will remain closed until April 20.