Haute Culture: General Idea Exhibition – The Art Gallery of Ontario

Today I visited the Art Gallery of Ontario to view the first comprehensive retrospective exhibition devoted to the General Idea collective. The exhibition is organized around five themes, each central to the trio’s production: “the artist, glamour and the creative process”; “mass culture”; “architects / archaeologists”; “sex and reality”; and “AIDS.”

General Idea was founded in Toronto in 1969 by Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal and AA Bronson, and came to an end in 1994, when Partz and Zontal died of AIDS. They initially worked in Toronto, and then from 1986 through 1993 they divided their time between Toronto and New York before returning to Toronto for the last few months of their time together.

Curated by Paris-based independent curator Frédéric Bonnet who said the following about the exhibition,“Through a prolific creation, General Idea’s body of work reveals a complex combination of reality and fiction, and of parody and rigorous cultural critique,”. He continued, “Treating the image as a virus that infiltrates every aspect of the real world, the group set out to colonize it, modify it and so present an alternate version of reality. Their visionary influence has only become more apparent with the passage of time.”

Below are some photos of my favourite pieces at the exhibit.

The exhibition takes place on the 4th and 5th floors of the AGO from July 29, 2011 – January 1, 2012.

More information about General Idea can be found at http://www.aabronson.com.

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