Curator Gregory Burke Named Director of $71M Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan

The Mendel Art Gallery, and the future Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan, announced today the appointment of Gregory Burke as executive director and chief executive officer. The news breaks nearly two years after Burke left his director post at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. He has been working independently since then.

Development on Saskatoon’s Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan began a few years ago, with the significant financial support and collection donations of its namesake, philanthropist Ellen Remai, and an acknowledgment that Saskatoon’s idiosyncratic and historic museum had outgrown its institution.

Gregory Burke.

Burke’s appointment certainly signifies that the museum is intent on developing itself as an international brand. A native of New Zealand, Burke is a former director of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, the countryʼs largest contemporary art museum, and former assistant director and chief curator at the Wellington City Art Gallery, in addition to his post at the Power Plant, where he worked from 2005 until 2011. Burke also served as curator for New Zealand’s inaugural pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2001, was commissioner for New Zealand’s pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2005, and served as a curator for the Site Santa Fe International Biennial in 2008. Burke is currently co-curating the 2013 Montreal Biennale, “Lʼavenir (looking forward).”

“Although I have enjoyed working independently, the opportunity to help realize the vision of the Remai was simply too attractive to pass up,” said Burke. “It is a rare chance to be able to work with visionary donors, a go-ahead city, an ambitious and committed Board, and a great architect to establish a major institution from the ground up. This is an important moment for the new gallery and Canadian art. I am thrilled to be part of it.”

“Gregory is an institution builder,” said Jason Aebig, president and chair of the Board of Trustees of the Mendel and the future Remai. “His rare combination of insight, experience, and understanding will help position the gallery locally, nationally, and internationally,” he said. “Gregoryʼs strong connections and credibility in the sector will help Saskatoon take its place among Canadaʼs most culturally important and creative cities.”

— Sky Goodden

(Images courtesy the Mendel Art Gallery and the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan.)