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General Idea

The Canadian group General Idea was founded in Toronto in 1969 by AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal and operated as an internationally active artist collective until the mid-90s. Both Partz and Zontal died in 1994 of AIDS-related causes.

General Idea took a critical approach to the institutional structures of the art world, media culture and consumerism. Their involvement from the early 1970s onwards in arenas such as media theory, queer theory and AIDS activism brought them international acclaim. Their performance and media work occupied the forms of the beauty pageant, television talk shows and trade-fair pavilions. Over the course of their career, in their artistic identities as architects, archaeologists and later, with the advent of the AIDS crisis, activists, they produced a diverse oeuvre of installations, photography, prints, works on canvas, and drawings as well as magazines, multiples, editions, postcards, posters, wallpapers and more.

General Idea were pioneers of early conceptual and media-specific art, and key figures in the early conceptual art scene. The group is widely recognized as a model for artist-initiated activities and continues to this day to influence younger generations of artists.

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