The 2016 Melbourne Art Fair has been cancelled, with doubt cast over the future of the 28-year-old biennial art event.

In a statement released this morning Anna Pappas, chair of the not-for-profit Melbourne Art Foundation, announced the decision to abort this year’s fair, slated for August, due to the withdrawal of a number of high-profile galleries this week.

“The aim of the Foundation is to always showcase the best Australian contemporary art and support living artists and their galleries,” Pappas explained. “With a new and expanded vision planned for the 2016 Fair, we needed the full support of our constituents in order to generate national interest, support satellite events and attract international collectors.

“Whilst this situation is deeply disappointing, the Board understands the economic imperatives of commercial galleries, and the many shifts in the global contemporary art market. A decision as to the future of the Fair beyond 2016 will be made in due course after further careful assessment by the Board.”

The cancellation follows the Melbourne Art Foundation’s severance of its contract with the Tim Etchells–led Art Fairs Australia, the organisation appointed to manage the fair, just 18 months into its 20-year term, in August 2015.

Source: Australia