General Idea Editions: 1967-1995

General Idea Editions: 1967-1995

The Andy Warhol Museum

October 27, 2005

General Idea Editions: 1967-1995
Expanded, exclusively at The Warhol, with a selection of the groups major installations and unique works
Through December 31, 2005

The Andy Warhol Museum

Organized and circulated by the Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto at Mississauga and curated by Barbara Fischer.
Additional works curated by The Warhols John Smith.
The Andy Warhol Museum
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

The Warhol presents the retrospective exhibition, General Idea Editions: 1967-1995 now through December 31, 2005. The internationally-touring exhibition features more than 200 mass produced objects including prints, postcards, posters, photo-based projects, multiples, serial publications, flags, and crests produced from 1967 to 1995 by Canadian-based art collective General Idea.

Exclusively at The Warhol, the exhibition has been doubled in size to include several of the groups major installations and many unique works, in order to illuminate the group’s use of mass-produced and multiple elements.

General Idea was formed by Jorge Zontal, Felix Partz and AA Bronson in 1969 in Toronto and came to international attention for their incisive interventions into the media environment of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Says Bronson in the exhibition catalogue, the collective emerged in the aftermath of the Paris riots, from the detritus of hippie communes, underground newspapers, radical education, Happenings, love-ins, Marshall McLuhan, and the International Situationists. We believed in free economy, in the abolition of copyright, and in a grassroots horizontal structure that prefigured the Internet.

Pioneers of media-based practices, General Ideas work involved everyday promotional culture and evolved into high gloss advertising. General Idea editions form a discourse that established the groups broader themes: the role of the media, the dissemination of marginalized identities, and the devaluation of originality and artistic genius. Masters of appropriation, General Idea bent popular icons to their own needs, transforming bastions of Americana such as LIFE Magazine and beauty pageants into vehicles for subverting the cultures reigning values.

In addition to the works in General Idea Edition: 1967-1995, The Warhol is presenting three major installation works by General Idea. One Day of AZT (1991) and One Year of AZT (1991.) were based on the daily dose of AZT taken by people living with AIDS at the time. Five gigantic pills, each large enough to hold a body, and 1,825 oversized pills, assembled like a calendar, describe life in an era of pharmaceuticals, not only for those suffering from AIDS, but for the elderly and the chronically ill in this consumer culture.

Pla©ebo (Helium) was first exhibited in Vienna in 1992. Over 5000 red/green/blue pill-shaped mylar balloons were exhibited in a public atrium in the city center. As the balloons lost their helium and descended, the public took them home and the piece was thus dismantled and spread into the city. Similarly at the Warhol, as the balloons descend they are available to be taken by visitors.
Mondo Cane Kama Sutra is a series of 10 oversized canvases, day-glo geometric self-portraits that describe the life of the artists as a metaphorical coupling of poodle triplets. This major installation has not been exhibited since 1985, when it was featured at the Kunsthalle Basel, the van Abbemuseum Eindhoven, and the Art Gallery of Ontario.
In connection with the exhibition, The Warhol is presenting a series of education programs and workshops that focus on collaborations with local artists and organizations and explore contemporary notions of social activism. On November 30, The Warhol will present SILENT|LISTEN, a special World AIDS Day performance/dialogue with Los Angeles-based art/activist group Ultra-red.
General Idea Editions: 1967-1995 has received generous financial assistance from the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the support of Foreign Affairs Canada. Additional support was provided by the Canadian Consulate General. This exhibition and related programs at The Warhol are presented in remembrance of the late Dr. Samuel W. Golden.

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The Andy Warhol Museum
October 27, 2005

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