A new museum
In 2011, Saskatoon entrepreneur and philanthropist Ellen Remai announced a donation of $30 million to the new museum on behalf of the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation, to support construction and enhance the exhibition program.
In recognition of this generosity—unprecedented in Saskatchewan, and one of the largest private donations to the arts in Canadian history—Saskatoon City Council unanimously voted to name the museum in Ellen Remai’s honour. In 2012, the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation donated 405 linocuts by Pablo Picasso—the most comprehensive collection in the world—to Remai Modern. Art specialist and philanthropist Frederick Mulder complemented the gift in 2014, with the donation of an additional linocut and 23 ceramic pieces by this iconic modern artist.
“Through the Picasso linocuts, Ellen Remai brought something of great significance to Saskatchewan. This gift was foundational to the development of Remai Modern’s vision: to be a stage on which globally circulating knowledge is infused with a locally relevant perspective.” — Gregory Burke, Executive Director & CEO
Gregory Burke was appointed as Remai Modern’s first Executive Director & CEO in 2013, bringing an international perspective and dynamic vision to the museum. Burke is widely respected for his past programming and direction at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Zealand and the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto. In 2015, Sandra Guimarães, previously of the Serralves Museum in Porto, Portugal, was appointed Director of Programs & Chief Curator, rounding out the international experience of the senior leadership team.
Building on the legacy of the Mendel Art Gallery, Remai Modern is setting a new direction for art in Saskatchewan. With increased capacity and a diverse team, Remai Modern is advancing as Canada’s museum of modern art. Remai Modern's inaugural exhibition Field Guide rethinks the idea of “modern” from multiple cultural, geographic, historic and contemporary perspectives including the history of the Mendel Art Gallery, from which Remai Modern inherited a collection of nearly 8,000 works. Civic engagement, progressive politics, and the unique history of abstraction—fostered by Saskatchewan’s Emma Lake Artists’ Workshops—are explored through their enduring influence. Field Guide also signals a new chapter, debuting many key acquisitions reflecting the aspirations and future growth of the collection.
Remai Modern is temporarily closed in an effort to help mitigate risks to the public related to the spread of COVID-19.
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102 Spadina Crescent East
Saskatoon SK S7K 0L3