Thursday, 10 March 2011
GENERAL IDEA, A RETROSPECTIVE 1964-1994, AT MAM PARIS
Haute culture : General Idea
A retrospective, 1969 - 1994
Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris / ARC
11 February - 30 April 2011
The first retrospective devoted to the Canadian collective General Idea, "High Culture: General Idea" uses a selection of some three hundred works to provide a dynamically comprehensive overview of the œuvre – an œuvre still haunted by Miss General Idea, a fictive character who was at once muse and object, image and concept.
Founded in Toronto in 1969 by Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal ,– both dead in 1994 – and AA Bronson, the trio adopted a generic identity that "freed it from the tyranny of individual genius". Their complex intermingling of reality and fiction took the form of a scathing, transgressive and often parodic take on art and society.
Treating the image as a virus infiltrating every aspect of the real world, General Idea set out to colonise it, modify its content and so come up with an alternative version of reality.
This non-chronological presentation covers the collective's main areas of concern. Themes such as the artist and the creative process, glamour as a creative tool, art's links with the media and mass culture, architecture and archaeology are addressed. Sexuality as the symbol of a social system to be subverted, and AIDS, as explored in the iconic, tentacular project of that name, are also considered.
Paintings, installations, sculptures, photographs, videos, magazines and a TV programme: this exhibition goes to the heart of an authentically multimedia œuvre that has lost nothing of its freshness and can now be seen as anticipating certain aspects of a current art scene undergoing radical transformation.