General Idea Editions

Black and gold graphic bar
 Mar. 1, 2005

Julie Joyce
Luckman Gallery
(323) 343-6608



Cal State L.A. 
Office of Public Affairs 
(323) 343-3050 
Fax: (323) 343-6405

For immediate release:
Luckman Gallery announces
on view
March 19, 2005 – May 14, 2005

*U.S. debut of internationally traveling exhibition*

The Luckman Gallery at California State University, Los Angeles announces its presentation of the exhibition, General Idea Editions: 1967-1995, a survey of the complete editions produced by the renowned Canadian collaborative team known as General Idea (AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal). Exhibition dates are March 19, 2005 – May 14, 2005. Admission is free of charge.

About the exhibition:
General Idea Editions: 1967-1995 features over 300 prints, postcards, posters, photo-based projects, multiples, serial publications, flags, crests and other items. Curated by Barbara Fischer and organized by the Blackwood Gallery at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, the exhibition has been touring since March 2003 throughout Canada. Its presentation at the Luckman Gallery in Los Angeles represents the debut of the U.S. leg of the tour, and is only the second, non-profit based “solo” exhibition for General Idea in the greater Los Angeles area in nearly twenty years.

About the artist(s):
General Idea was formed by Jorge Zontal, Felix Partz and AA Bronson, three Toronto artists who, in 1969, joined forces to merge their personal destinies and artistic identities into a collective-based practice. General Idea both embraced and critiqued the corporate model at a time when such actions were virtually prohibited in the realm of high art. Stimulated by the international Fluxus movement of the late 1960s, their artwork was involved with everyday promotional culture (business cards, press releases, magazines) and evolved into high gloss advertising forms (posters, balloons, and pins). Works by General Idea were most often produced as multiples, which they saw as an integral part of their media-conscious “viral” activity.

Masters of appropriation, General Idea bent popular icons to their own needs, transforming bastions of Americana such as LIFE Magazine, the Miss America Pageant, or even works by famous artists into vehicles for subverting the culture’s reigning values. Their irrepressible design-driven aesthetic forayed into the nooks and crannies of everyday living previously unexplored by an arts sensibility: soap, drinking glasses, clothing, shopping bags were all transformed from the ubiquitous to the emblematic, presaging the following decades’ explosion of visual culture and corporate advertising platforms. The work of General Idea was also disseminated through its own magazine, FILE Megazine (1972-1989).

Further exploring the connections between commerce and art, General Idea presented its work in exhibitions that were also boutique environments, such as Boutique from the 1984 Miss General Idea Pavillion (1980), which were designed to both entice and disturb the viewer. Central to the group’s role as agent provocateur was its advocacy of William Burroughs’ ideas about the image as virus: the image’s infectious nature would ideally cause it to travel freely through the mainstream of the host culture’s already established advertising and communication systems.

In 1987 General Idea arrived at perhaps its most famous piece, AIDS, a screenprint that appropriated its design from the Pop artist Robert Indiana’s famous “Love” painting from the 1960s. The image from this seemingly simple piece was disseminated by the group and eventually others on a massive scale, becoming an international logo that instantly and poignantly brought home to the general public a crisis from which many had remained detached. In its scope and diversity the work remains highly relevant to contemporary arts and popular culture, and is represented in the exhibition through objects and in large expanses of wallpaper (over 90 running feet of AIDS wallpaper serves as a partial backdrop for works in the exhibition at the Luckman Gallery).

General Idea Editions: 1967-1995 is accompanied by a 320-page, color-illustrated exhibition catalog of the same title published in 2003 by the Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto at Mississauga. It features an introduction by curator Barbara Fischer, and essays by Jean-Christophe Ammann, AA Bronson, Lionel Bovier, Joshua Dector, Mike Kelley, John Miller, and others.

General Idea Editions: 1967-1995 was organized by the Blackwood Gallery (UTM) with the financial assistance of the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Andy Warhol Foundation. The circulation of the exhibition is made possible by the Museums Assistance Program of the Canadian Department of Heritage. The presentation at the Luckman Gallery is made possible in part through a generous grant from The Broad Art Foundation.

SPECIAL EVENTS: Thursday, May 12, 2005
6:00 p.m. - Artist’s Talk featuring AA Bronson, surviving member of General idea and Acting Director of Printed Matter in New York.
7-9:00 p.m. - Closing Reception

Both events presented in partnership with the Canadian Consulate General, Los Angeles, Cal State L.A.’s TQC - The Queer Connection, and ASI - Associated Students, Inc.

Gallery Hours:
Monday through Thursday and Saturday, 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.

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For further information, please call the Luckman Gallery, (323) 343-6604

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