Lecture lauds contemporary art, while gala fundraises for organ transplants

New York-based sculptor Tom Sachs points to his 1996 homage to Mondrian, titled Victory Boogie Woogie, an early work being projected on screens behind him inside War Memorial Hall on the University of Guelph campus. The work is made of tape, a favourite studio material that he quips to the crowd of students filling the hall is "America's idea of craftsmanship." He gets a big laugh; it's the first of many he gets on March 28 during the 12th annual Dasha Shenkman Lecture in Contemporary Art. Bricolage, space exploration (fitting given the institution is the alma mater of Roberta Bondar) and authenticity were just a few of the career themes he talked through. The day also served as a chance for MFA students to open their studios and present their work to visiting art-world movers.

A requirement of all who agree to deliver the Shenkman lecture, which is underwritten by London-based art collector and philanthropist Dasha Shenkman and has welcomed artist Michael Snow and critic Roberta Smith among others, is the commitment to a full day of contact time with MFA students, an invaluable opportunity for young creators heading out into the world. The day was capped off at the Art Gallery of Guelph, where a posttalk reception and dinner was given for supporters of the College of Arts and the School of Fine Art and Music.

Dasha Shenkman, Tate Americas Foundation director Richard Hamilton and Tom Sachs.

Nolan Bryant/the globe and mail

Maryella Leggat.

Nolan Bryant/The Globe and Mail

Power Plant Gallery director Gaëtane Verna.

Nolan Bryant/The Globe and Mail

Back in Toronto on the same evening at the Fairmont Royal York hotel, the Organ Project hosted its second annual black-tie gala. The Ottawa Senators hockey club's owner and chairman, Eugene Melnyk, founded the non-profit organization in 2016 in an effort to end organ transplant waiting lists in Canada – more than 4,000 people are currently waiting for transplants in this county. Sadly for many, because of the long wait times, they will not survive. Funds raised at the gala support the cause's operating costs and the work being done to save lives by making more organs available for transplant. Lending their chords to cause were the Barenaked Ladies, fresh-off their Juno Award reunion and songstress Chantal Kreviazuk.

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Stacey Saunders, Chantal Kreviazuk and Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders.

George Pimentel/the globe and mail

Eugene Melnyk and Catherine Shaw, COO of The Organ Project.

George Pimentel/the globe and mail

Cleophee Eaton and Scott McFarland.

George Pimentel/the globe and mail

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