Mendel at night

Celebrate 50 years!

Friday, September 26 at 7 p.m.

Everyone is invited to the launch for the fall anniversary season of celebrations. The evening begins with tributes from community members, who will share their Mendel memories.

This is followed by the opening of Modern Visions: The Mendel Art Gallery 50th Anniversary Exhibition, selected from the permanent collection.

Join in a toast to your gallery and enjoy the festivities!

7 p.m. Welcoming Remarks
8 p.m. Reception & Celebration

Visit for more information about related events and celebrations!


The Mendel Art Gallery 50th Anniversary Exhibition
September 27, 2014–January 4, 2015

New, regional cultural centres opened across Canada in the 1960s, many in response to the nation’s centennial celebrations. In Saskatoon, the Mendel Art Gallery opened its doors on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River October 16, 1964. Aspirations for this civic art museum, at that time the largest public art museum in the province, were ambitious and international.

Modern Visions celebrates a half-century of excellence at the Mendel Art Gallery. Curated by Sandra Fraser, Associate Curator, and Lisa Baldissera, Chief Curator, the exhibition recalls the Mendel Art Gallery’s role in the local and national communities over the past 50 years. This exhibition reflects on the touchstones that have given the Mendel its personality and celebrates the gallery through a visual banquet of artworks. There are about 150 works in Modern Visions, drawn from the permanent collection, now numbering more than 7,000 works. Six themes will unfold through all the gallery spaces and the lower level with tiered, salon-style hangings, installations of key works, and video screening areas.

The Mendel Art Gallery has been an instigator, champion, advocate, steward and provocateur at various points in its exciting history. Throughout the exhibition key works have been selected to reveal these sites of engagement, pointing to the gallery’s role as a central force in the city, the province and the country, and its stewardship of visual practices over its 50 years.

The Mendel is grateful to Information Services Corporation and Kramer Ltd. for sponsoring Modern Visions.

Exhibition Themes:

• ‘Early Visions’ features selections from the Mendel family’s foundational 1965 gift of 13 paintings, alongside gems of historical Canadian paintings and European prints, together reflecting the early collecting activities and aspirations of this newly formed art gallery.

• In a related section, ‘Archaeology and Memory’, those now-traditional landscapes and figurative works make way for large-scale, contemporary works evoking how memory is inscribed on the land and in the body. Through these works, we consider the ways in which histories, sites and subjectivities are made visible.

• ‘A Home on the Prairies’ expresses regional mythos, documents and narratives through photography, painting, sculpture and video. In this section, the Prairie is considered as both a physical and psychological space, with its own character and caricatures.

• In ‘Contested Sites’, depictions of the human figure touch on the role of the gallery as a forum for controversial but important discussions about issues such as gender, sexuality, mental health, and death.

• ‘Modern Cosmologies’ showcases outstanding works to look at various strategies and shifts in painting in recent decades by artists from across the country and the province.

• The last section, ‘The Multiple and Me’, includes examples of conceptual practices in printmaking and video from the 1970s to 1990s, articulating an experimental and democratic approach to artmaking and its dissemination through multiples.


Other related events:

Saturday, September 27 from 1 to 5 p.m.

Attend the Open House and Community Celebration and enjoy cake, balloons, facepainting, entertainment, and more. Take an exhibition tour and make art throughout the afternoon. Everyone is welcome.

1 p.m. Cake-cutting and remarks by Gregory Burke, Executive Director & CEO.
Artmaking and entertainment begins
2 p.m. Tour the exhibition with curator Sandra Fraser.
3 p.m. Make Mini-Art Galleries and pARTY Buttons.

Saturday, November 1
Bewitched! The Magic Continues, presented by PotashCorp, is the 50th anniversary gala at the Sheraton Cavalier Saskatoon Hotel. Join us for an evening of fine dining, music, and wonderful Mendel memories with entertainment featuring Jon Ballantyne, Thomas Yu, and Karrnnel. Funds raised by the gala will support the Mendel International Lecture at Remai Modern. This annual lecture will honour the contributions of Fred Mendel and family and the legacy of the Mendel Art Gallery.
Tickets: $300. To reserve your ticket, contact Judy: or 306-975-7669.
6:00 p.m. Cocktails
7:30 p.m. Dinner