Art Basel cancels $15k per ticket Abu Dhabi summit just two months after its launch

Art Basel has cancelled what was to be the first Art Basel Inside summit planned for February 2020 in Abu Dhabi.

Art Basel Inside was pitched as “a multi-faceted cultural experience offering thought leaders from diverse fields and industries the opportunity to share visions and engage with the issues facing the world today.”

A “carefully composed” group of around 300 “leading entrepreneurs and change makers” would have forked out $15,000 a ticket to attend the three-day summit that was to address topics such as sustainability and artificial intelligence.

Activities promised included tours of the Louvre Abu Dhabi led by professional dancers in what was a “move away from traditional fair settings” alongside “dynamic dialogues and workshops with visionary guest speakers from the worlds of technology and science”.

Announced in September, Art Basel Inside was a joint venture between Art Basel’s parent company MCH Group and Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism. The programme was to be curated by Marc-Olivier Wahler, the director of Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Geneva.

“Art Basel Inside in Abu Dhabi in February 2020 was always an ambitious project on quite a short timeline,” Art Basel said in a statement.

“Despite a lot of excitement for the project, support from our partners, and incredibly hard work by the team, we were not able to move forward with Art Basel Inside.”

The ticket would have included luxury accommodation and chef-prepared meals, but not flights.

“From the feedback and the level of interest we received, we don’t believe the price point was an issue,” the Art Basel spokeswoman said.

The event clashed with Frieze Los Angeles 2020, which was due to take place over the same weekend. The statement said there were no plans to host Art Basel Inside in another location but they “remain committed to innovation and will keep exploring new initiatives in the future”.