General Idea/ Selected Retrospective

General Idea/ Selected Retrospective

Project Arts Centre

January 27, 2006

General Idea/ Selected Retrospective
28 January – 11 March 2006.

Curated by Paul ONeill and Grant Watson in collaboration with
AA Bronson

Opening: 27 January 2006, 6pm.

Project Gallery,
39 East Essex Street,
Dublin 2, Ireland,
T 353 (1) 8819614,
email info [​at​]

Project is proud to present the first Irish exhibition of the seminal artists group General Idea (1968 1995) in January 2006. Established by AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal, for almost thirty years this group worked with wit, theoretical sophistication and formal precision to critique and challenge the norms of both high and low culture. Earning them a place within the cannon of the late 20th Century avant-garde.

Carefully selected key pieces from General Ideas oeuvre are shown at Project in the gallery and foyer, on the poster site outside the building and distributed as mail art. For example, the minimal and elegant Luxon V.B. (1973) an early work in the form of a Venetian blind with mirror slats, has been reconstructed and installed in the window at the front of the building.

This selected retrospective includes rare and previously un-exhibited archival material, documenting General Ideas early conceptual and performance-led practice at a time when the group worked in the context of experimental theatre. This provides a unique opportunity to see formative projects such as What Happened (1970) the groups free flowing interpretation of Gertrude Steins play, which gave rise to the infamous Miss General Idea Pageants.

Also on display in the archive is the complete set of FILE Megazine (1972-89) which appropriates the format of LIFE magazine and became the main platform for the groups ideas and numerous curatorial collaborations with other artists.

In the mid-1980s General Idea responded to the AIDS epidemic by focusing their practice on the semiotic and social implications of the disease and married this to a form of political activism. A classic work from this period is General Ideas appropriation and conversion of Robert Indianas famous LOVE emblem into the AIDS acronym to produce a logo used both in the gallery and in the public domain. Perhaps their most well known work, the AIDS logo wallpaper is installed floor to ceiling in Projects gallery creating a formal background to the presentation of the archive material, displayed in a structure designed by artist Anthony Gross.

A selection of GI early video works: Pilot (1977); Hot Property (1978/80) and Shut The Fuck Up (1985) will be screened alongside unseen footage from Luxon Video (1973/74).

AA Bronson currently works as a solo artist. His first independent work made after the death of Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal in 1994: Felix, June 5, 1994 (1994-99) is shown outside the gallery as a billboard. Bronson has also made a new artists edition especially for Ireland, based on Joseph Beuys Bruno Cora Tea (1974). This is exclusively for sale at Project for the duration of the show, alongside General Idea multiples and publications from Art Metropole, Toronto (a centre for publishing and distributing artists editions established in 1974 by General Idea). The overall project is the result of extensive research by Paul O Neill and Grant Watson who co-curated the exhibition in consultation with General Ideas remaining member AA Bronson.

Project would like to thank the Arts Council of Ireland; the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives, Ottawa, Canada; Dublin City Council/ Baile Atha Cliath; Shutters of Ireland, Dublin; AA Bronson and Fern Bayer.

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Project Arts Centre
January 27, 2006

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