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Dasha Shenkman lecture in contemporary art, University of Guelph

War Memorial Hall on the University of Guelph campus was filled with admirers of the artist Michael Snow on March 25. The painter, sculptor, filmmaker and author was the featured speaker at the 9th annual Dasha Shenkman Lecture in Contemporary Art, presented by the university’s School of Fine Art and Music. The lecture series, initiated in 2007, is the brainchild of Dasha Shenkman, the Canadian-born, British– based art collector. Past speakers have included an international who’s who including Dublin-born conceptual artist Michael Craig-Martin, Whitechapel Art Gallery director Iwona Blazwick of London and, last year’s speaker, New York Times art critic Roberta Smith. Snow, who regaled the audience – including many students – with insights into his early inspirations and some of the inventive processes that led to such iconic works as Walking Woman, was the first Canadian to partake in the series. Before the lecture, a cocktail reception in honour of Snow and Shenkman was held, allowing students to mix and mingle with major art-world players. Post-lecture, Franco J. Vaccarino, president and vice-chancellor of Guelph University, hosted a dinner in Macdonald Stewart Hall for patrons and friends of the program; among them were the theatre producer, art patron and current University of Guelph chancellor David Mirvish and his wife, Audrey; artists Tony Scherman and Margaret Priest (a U of G professor emerita) and their daughter, gallerist Georgia Scherman; Sally Hickson, director of the School of Fine Art and Music; Brand Active partner James Burn; Jack and Beverly Creed; The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery director Gaëtane Verna and artists/U of G graduates Martin Golland and Melanie Authier.

(Photos by Ryan Emberley)

A full house awaits Michael Snow’s appearance at War Memorial Hall.

Artists and University of Guelph grads Martin Golland and Melanie Authier attend the post-lecture dinner.

From left, Dasha Shenkman, Margaret Priest and Tony Scherman

Reel Artists Film Festival opening-night gala screening, Toronto

On March 26, the Reel Artists Film Festival, known as RAFF, kicked off its 12th-annual weekend-long festival in Toronto with an opening-night reception followed by the Canadian premiere of Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery. The documentary, which was directed by Arne Birkenstock, explores the mind and work of Wolfgang Beltracchi and his wife, Helene, who pulled off one of the biggest art forgeries of the past century. “We love characters like Beltracchi because they are benevolent,” Birkenstock said before the debut, adding that he wanted to present the couple “as they are … and let the audience decide.” Post-screening, Birkenstock engaged in a discussion with Artnet News critic-at-large Blake Gopnik on the topics of artistic integrity and forgery before opening the floor to audience questions. Among those attending the reception and screening were Rundi Phelan and daughter Jennen; Canadian Art Foundation publisher and CEO Jill Birch; German consul general Walter Stechel; Jennifer Kerbel Poirier of the Corkin Gallery; RAFF 2015 Committee Chair Marc Glassman; Patron Saint director, writer and producer Michael Kainer with the film’s subject, the psychiatrist, art patron and general charmer Janusz Dukszta; Cartoonists: Foot Soldiers of Democracy director Stéphanie Valloatto; Canadian Art editor Richard Rhodes; art critic Sarah Milroy and filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier, directors of the short film Micah Lexier: Finder Keeper, which premiered that night as well.

(Photos by Emma McIntyre)

From left, Artnet News critic-at-large Blake Gopnik and director Arne Birkenstock.

Filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier.

Halifax Chronicle Herald editorial cartoonist Bruce MacKinnon and Jutta Stechel, wife of the Consul General of Germany in Toronto.

Mary Anne Runnalls