After four years of construction, Canada’s new modern and contemporary art museum, the Remai Modern, is set to open its doors on October 21. Named after the local philanthropist and its head patron, Ellen Remai, the nearly one-hundred-and-twenty-four-thousand-square-foot building is located along the river in Saskatoon, a growing city in the Canadian Prairies, a western region of Canada comprising the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
Designed by Canadian architect Bruce Kuwabara, the museum will boast of flexible galleries, spaces for public gatherings, and a 150-seat theater. Construction costs have amounted to $71 million, but the final cost of the project has yet to be determined. The museum will house eight-thousand works that were inherited from the Mendel Art Gallery, which was established in 1964 by a collector who fled Nazi Germany. The extensive collection includes 406 of Pablo Picasso’s linocuts as well as works by other leading modern artists including Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Dennis Oppenheim, and Nancy Spero.
The museum aims to be a leading center for contemporary indigenous art and discourse. “The art museum’s biggest challenge now is how to adapt to the massive changes resulting from the continuing aftershocks of colonization, climate change, globalization, and technological advances. The relevancy of the art museum depends on its response,” the executive director and CEO, Gregory Burke, said in a statement.
Its inaugural exhibition, “Field Guide,” will present works from the museum’s collection alongside contemporary pieces by Canadian and international artists. Curated by Burke and the director of programs and chief curator, Sandra Guimarães, the exhibition will feature an on-site project by Thomas Hirschhorn and a collaboration between the Ontario-based indigenous artists Tanya Lukin-Linklater and Duane Linklater. According to Hannah McGivern of the Art Newspaper, Burke and Guimarães curated this exhibition in hopes of it being seen as “a primer to introduce the program’s direction.”