Gregory Burke resigns as Remai Modern CEO

One year into Remai Modern's life, CEO Gregory Burke has announced he's moving on.

Burke says he's accepted a new gallery job in his New Zealand hometown

Remai Modern CEO Gregory Burke's last day at the museum will be March 15, 2019. He announced his resignation on Wednesday. (James Hopkin/CBC News)

The man who led the transition from Saskatoon's Mendel Art Gallery to the Remai Modern Art Museum has resigned.

Gregory Burke announced Wednesday he's accepted a job as director of Auckland Art Gallery in New Zealand.

"I'm leaving with very mixed feelings," he said. "I've very much enjoyed my time here. I feel that Saskatoon is home. But Aukland was where I was born and raised. It took me a bit by surprise but I have a lot of support there to go back."

Burke began as executive director and CEO of Mendel Art Gallery in 2013, before overseeing the construction of the $84.6-million Remai Modern Art Museum on Saskatoon's riverfront.

The new museum opened in October 2017 and saw more than 450,000 people go through its doors in its first year — more than double the museum's initial projections.

Burke said attending the museum's public opening was one of the happiest days of his life.

The city stated around the time of the opening that the museum's sponsorship and fundraising targets "will continue to be a challenge." 

"Our donations are doing very well," Burke said on Wednesday. 

'It will need strong leadership'

Burke said Remai Modern has seen four staff members leave in the last year, not including him.

"[That's] out of a team of over 60 people," he said. "That is hardly beyond the norm."

Burke's last day at Remain Modern will be March 15, 2019.

"It will need strong leadership," said Burke when asked what the museum will need to remain successful. "And I think that it needs to continue to be bold and to be ambitious. Go big or go home."

About the Author

Guy Quenneville

All-platform journalist for CBC Saskatoon

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