What comes to mind when you think of the art world and the Coronavirus? Contracts

I had a conversation recently with another attorney on whether the Coronavirus and its “side-effects” could trigger a “force majeure” clause in a written agreement. This was brought on by the ongoing debate concerning Art Basel Hong Kong. Sure enough, this article via The National Review gives a brief overview of “force majeure” and thus a good starting place to ponder such “art world” hypotheticals. Or not. The article is based on English law.

Too often terminology will be used in a contract without any thought or appreciation as to what that actually means in practice. Force majeure provisions which refer to “pandemics” or “epidemics” are only likely to succeed if the World Health Organisation designates Coronavirus as such. Isolated or limited outbreaks of a disease wouldn’t therefore be caught by expressions such as these.