As part of the late 1960s Toronto counterculture, AA Bronson (b. Michael Tims, 1946, Vancouver), Felix Partz (b. Ronald Gabe, 1945, Winnipeg, d. 1994), and Jorge Zontal (b. SlobodanSaia-Levy, 1944, Parma, d. 1994) united in 1969 to form the single entity known as General Idea. From their earliest projects, such as the staging of The 1970 Miss General Idea Pageant, to later activist initiatives during the AIDS crisis, General Idea delved into multimedia, conceptual, and performance art as a means of engaging with mainstream culture and its repressions.
Currently touring from the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa to the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Gropius Bau in Berlin, General Idea’s definitive retrospective showcases their groundbreaking work. In addition to their well-known pieces, the group’s drawings have also received extensive recognition, exhibited at the Drawing Center in New York and MAMCO in Geneva.
While most of the group’s drawings have never been seen, they hold a significant place in General Idea’s collaborative and co-authored approach. Created by Jorge Zontal during brainstorming sessions, these drawings bear the “GI” signature, added shortly before Zontal’s death, and are considered to be a joint effort. After the group’s move from Toronto to New York in 1985, their drawings became more regular, reflecting their increasing isolation from the global art scene and the impact of the pervasive AIDS epidemic. As time passed, their initial joy was subdued by the loss of friends, as well as the deaths of Jorge and Felix themselves, which the group had to confront and incorporate into their work.
The hand-drawn nature of these motifs follows a logic reminiscent of General Idea’s affinity for mass production and reflects the virality of their AIDS-centric works. In their ever-changing and persistent nature, these drawings offer a captivating glimpse into General Idea’s unique artistic perspective and unconventional ideas of authorship, exposing the limitations of representation while acknowledging its pressing importance.
http://www.ftn-books.com has now this scarce publication available. It contains five off-set prints