Arts & Entertainment

Spain holds first in-person art fair since start of pandemic

Madrid, Apr 8 (efe-epa).- Estampa cautiously opened its doors on Thursday, becoming the first physical art fair to be held in Spain since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The fair’s 28th edition, which was postponed in November, allows a maximum of 3,548 people at a time in its wide corridors and airs the place every 20 minutes. Upon entry, visitors will be handed face masks and will have their temperature taken.

“The level of enthusiasm and demand is very high,” said fair director, Chema de Francisco, who opened Estampa along with the country’s Minister of Culture José Manuel Rodríguez-Uribes.

“We found that culture is safe and you can go to museums, theaters, or concerts. We must do it and we can do it, because culture is necessary, it is a right, we have to do everything possible to keep it active,” Rodríguez-Uribes said.

The minister hoped Spain’s most important art fair ACRO, which has been delayed to July, can be held as well.

ACRO was the last fair to take place in Spain before the country entered lockdown last year, and one of the reasons Covid-19 initially spread in the country, according to the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).

The contemporary art sector has been one of the most impacted by the pandemic because of the lack of international fairs, as all major events have been canceled due to the restrictive measures in place.

Alberto de Juan, director of the Max Estrella contemporary art gallery in Madrid and a regular at international fairs, expressed his “great enthusiasm” at Estampa’s opening.

“The situation (in recent months) has been very difficult, how could it be otherwise,” he said.

“Turnover has plummeted and this fair is a step forward to try to recover normality,” he added.

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