Since June 2013, a modernist structure has been under construction on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon’s River Landing neighbourhood. Its low, flat topography mimics the surrounding Prairie landscape and its protruding glass wings and copper-coloured mesh exterior distinguishes it from any other building in the city. Designed by Bruce Kuwabara of Toronto-based KPMB Architects, the new Remai Modern (“pronounced ‘ray-me’—as in ‘do re mi,’” says the gallery’s director of marketing, Alison Murawsky) is almost ready for its public launch on October 21, 2017 . Upon opening, it will become an artist-centred institution unlike any the province has seen.
Located in Treaty 6 Plains Cree territory and the traditional homeland of the Métis, the Remai Modern features a welcome sign in both English and Cree on its exterior, and further greetings in six indigenous languages near a fireplace in its reception atrium. Yet despite efforts to emphasize community orientation, the gallery has sustained local criticism. To start, some say it’s visual identity, which sees a lowercase “r” and “m” preceding capitals (“rRemai mModern”) and was developed by New York’s Karlssonwilker studio, looks like a typo. The gallery’s construction process was behind schedule and went over-budget, provoking ire. And then there is the issue of some Saskatoon locals feeling unconvinced an ambitious, ticketed contemporary gallery is really what they want.Return to News