Published by JRP|Editions. Edited by Lionel Bovier, Claire Gilman. Text by Claire Gilman. Interview with AA Bronson.
Focusing on one specific and lesser-known aspect of the manifold practice of General Idea, the Canadian collective founded in Toronto in 1969 by Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal and AA Bronson, this volume highlights their drawing practice, with generous insight into 125 carefully selected drawings realized between 1985 and 1993—the period the collective spent in New York. The publication’s design is inspired by George Grosz’s legendary Ecce Homo album (1922–23) because, as Bronson says, “the anti-Semitism in Grosz’s narrative is mirrored by the homophobia in ours.” Investigating motifs in the group’s multimedia works, such as poodles, stiletto heels, masks, heraldry and metamorphosed genitalia, these drawings were primarily produced by Zontal during group meetings. However, given General Idea’s mandate for coauthorship, as well as the circumstances under which they were executed, the drawings are considered to be collaborative. The repetition of motifs follows a viral logic akin to General Idea’s own penchant for mass reproduction. Together, these drawings are a fascinating window into General Idea’s unique notions of collaboration and coauthorship, and their singular and innovative approach to art and drawing.
Published by Art Gallery of York University. Text by Philip Monk.
From its origins in the mail art movement through to its “destruction” of The 1984 Miss General Idea Pavillion in 1977, the Canadian collective General Idea constructed a comprehensive body of work as a performative fiction. Glamour Is Theft examines this “pageantry of camp parody” through the logic of its mythic system. The book reconstructs this system from statements that were dispersed and disguised within General Idea’s work and writing as a whole, including the publication FILE Magazine. In General Idea’s system, there is one concept: Glamour; one operation: reversibility; one technique: cut-up; one strategy: theft; one tactic: camouflage. Following the collective’s strategies, the book in turn mimics the language of structuralist and semiological publications of the 1970s while also considering the influences of Roland Barthes, William Burroughs, Guy Debord, Claude Lévi-Strauss and Marshall McLuhan on General Idea’s work.