[February 20 2011]
With a penchant for the anarchic, the influential art collaborative General Idea pierced through the system with the activism of its vision – manipulating wit, image, and the very system we are born to, to use it against itself. The remaining member of General Idea, artist and healer AA Bronson, co-curates the first retrospective of their oeuvre at the Musée D’Art Moderne. The Toronto-based collective of General Idea, consisting of Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal and AA Bronson, formed in 1969 for 25 prolific collaborative years ending with the death of Partz and Zontal from AIDS in 1994, a theme boldly conscious in their later work. Amongst an extensive body of work, the Seventies saw the launch of the cult FILE Magazine, their subversive response to the outside world, or the search for “an alternative to the alternative press”. Their fetish concept-muse of Miss General Idea enjoys her tribute, whilst their satire of Yves Klein’s Anthropometries (1958) includes paint splattered poodles and 3 giant X’s whereby the poodles were used as living brushes dipped in International Klein Blue. Seeking an alternative from reality through art, the image was always treated as “a virus”: infiltrating culture and influencing its texture, General Idea’s agenda was never only an artistic one – but a social one.
Haute Culture: General Idea, A retrospective, 1969-1994 runs through 30 April at the Musée D’art Moderne de La Ville de Paris, 11 avenue du Président Wilson, Paris. Photo and text Sophie Pinchetti