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Prairie Modern (Frieze Magazine)

Saskatoon, the largest city in the vast prairie region of Saskatchewan, Canada, does not seem a likely stop on the international art world circuit. There are no direct flights from New York or Los Angeles. Yet it is now the home of Remai Modern, a new museum of modern and contemporary art, that recently opened in a spacious CAD$100 million building there, with an endowment matched only by Canada’s largest institutions. Situated on the bank of the South Saskatchewan River in Riversdale, a historically low-income neighbourhood once plagued by a 46 percent commercial vacancy rate, the museum is emblematic of Saskatoon’s dramatic transformation in recent years; Riversdale now boasts a symphony orchestra, a major theatre, several smaller art spaces and plenty of hip dining and retail spots. Remai Modern’s riverside plot was designated by a 2004 municipal development plan as the site of a ‘future destination centre’ – an icon to draw tourists in, and a cultural anchor from which development would expand.

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