General idea - miss general idea

DEFINITION

A Toronto-based collaborative art movement founded in 1968 by George Saia, Ronald Gabe, and Michael Tims, it lasted until the deaths of Saia and Gabe in 1994. Each man took a new name to use as an artist, and these names are respectively Jorge Zontal, Felix Partz and AA Bronson. Working as a trio to be freed "from the tyranny of individual genius", they functioned artistically as a single entity called Miss General Idea. Their intent was to make fun of contemporary art, media promoting it, and museum exhibitions. Their mediums were installation sculpture, films, performances, photographs and publications including their own magazine called "File". In the 1980s, AIDS was a major focus of their efforts, and Miss General Idea created and distributed mass-produced (multiples) posters, billboards, stamps, lottery tickets and other electronic images. They also did cynical commentary works about pharmaceutical companies' research methods for AIDS medications. Spreading their messages, the creating of Multiples was a key component, and in 1974, Miss General Idea established a multiples distribution center called Art Metropole. Included in their multiples were humorous and sardonic references to modern art. They also kept a regular exhibition schedule. After Zontal and Partz died of AIDS, Bronson felt as though he had lost his own identify and produced many works dealing with death, survival and moving on in order to rebuild himself with a new self image. In 2003, the Galerie Frederic Giroux in Paris hosted an exhibition of his work, "AA Bronson Healer". In January 2003, a traveling exhibition titled "General Idea: Editions, 1967-1996" was organized by Barbara Fischer for the Blackwood Gallery of the University of Toronto at Mississauga. Source: Peter Gallo, 'The Enduring Ephemera of General Idea', "Art in America", March 2005, pp. 81-83.

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