Visiting Saskatoon for Christmas, I wanted to shake things up this year and try something different. Visiting the new Remai Modern art gallery with my Mom, sister and niece was a great family outing.

We were very curious, as the gallery is controversial. It came with a hefty price tag, replacing the Mendel art gallery, and there is some question about whether it can attract enough visitors each year to return on its investment.

Walking inside the building is immediately impressive. An installation of mini blinds soars up to the sky, with a warm fire and seating area to greet you.

It’s winter and it is cold. We were happy to see a free coat check so we could wander unencumbered.

The building is open and minimalist. The focus is on sky-high windows with beautiful views of the river. Really gorgeous.

I loved the neon wall leading to the third floor (very 80s) and the ceiling covered in clear balloons (looking like cartoon bubble captions).

The most fun we had was clowning around one installation that looked like the outline of a body!

Visiting the gallery sparked some great conversations about art and life. We enjoyed a video installation that showed you different perspectives of the same scene on different screens… the Picasso gallery of lithographs was interesting for my mom and I… and a beautiful installation of shadows on Islamic walls (my sister’s favourite).

While there was a lot we liked about the Remai, there was so much open and unused space that it left us wanting for more… art … to fill it up. it also felt a little cold and not totally inviting.

The Remai Modern is worth seeing if you are in Saskatoon and looking for something new to do. I hope future collections bring something exciting that will draw me in again.

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