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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.

  • 2019

  • 2017

  • 2013

  • 2011

    • Solo Exhibition
      General Idea – Haute Culture: General Idea, A Retrospective, 1969-1994
      Feb 11

      Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, France; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada
  • 2009

  • 2008

    • News
      20 Years // MAI 36 GALERIE // 1988-2008
      Oct 25, 2008
  • 2006

    • Solo Exhibition
      General Idea – Found Formats
      Nov 11

      Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland
  • 2005

    • Solo Exhibition
      General Idea
      Sep 15

      Vienna Secession, Austria
  • 1996

    • Solo Exhibition
      General Idea – One Day of AZT / One Year of AZT
      Jan 01

      Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
  • 1994

    • Solo Exhibition
      General Idea – Infe©ted Duchamp, Infe©ted Indiana, Infe©ted Mondrian, Infe©ted Rietveld
      Jun 09

      Mai 36 Galerie, Zurich
    • Dissolved in 1994
      The group was dissolved with the deaths of Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal in 1994.
      Jan 01

    • Solo Exhibition
      General Idea – Drawings 1989-1994
      Jan 01

      Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 1993

    • Solo Exhibition
      General Idea – Fin de siècle
      Jan 01

      The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada; The Wexner Center for the Visual Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, USA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA
  • 1989

    • Solo Exhibition
      General Idea – Nightschool
      Jun 16

      Mai 36 Galerie, Lucerne
  • 1987

    • Solo Exhibition
      General Idea – The Armory of the 1984 Miss General Idea Pavillion
      Jan 01

      Setegaya Museum, Tokyo, Japan
  • 1986

    • Solo Exhibition
      General Idea – P is for Poodle
      Jan 01

      Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1979

    • Solo Exhibition
      General Idea – Colour Bar Longue
      Jan 01

      Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 1968

    • Established in
      1968 by AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal
      Jan 01

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