The poodle as emblem in the subversive multimedia works of the influential Canadian collective
Founded in Toronto in 1969 by AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal, General Idea implemented media critique and queer theory in paintings, posters, photographs, installations, videos, magazines and other multiples.
Known for "its wit, pampered presence and ornamental physique," the poodle arrived into the visual lexicon of General Idea in the early 1980s and quickly became a vehicle by which the group addressed issues ranging from sexual stereotypes to the commodification of contemporary art. However, beyond its use as an agent of subtle yet substantive political and social critique, the poodle also served as a kind of heraldic device--an emblem for the mythology of General Idea and its processes of mythmaking. Through its various incarnations of the poodle, General Idea strived for a metanarrative that skirted the boundaries between artifact and artifice; history and fantasy; truth and fiction.