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IN A DOWNTOWN-TORONTO DUMP for demolition refuse, in the summer of 1981, General Idea fashioned a vast installation entitled Toronto’s Fault, the First Tremors: The Ruins of the Silver Bar Lounge of the 1984 Miss General Idea Pavillion. This monumental piece was made by the three-man team (plus friends) scrambling over the rubbish heaps and decorating pieces of urban industrial trash with silver paint, transforming the dump into an artifice of disaster. It was a melancholy acre of broken pediments, forlorn appliances, silvered bricks, and reminders of the gala Pavillion half buried under tons of rubble.

This junkpile Pompeii invited many interpretations, but it symbolized one national fact everybody knew: that Canada’s rehearsals for the promenade down the art world’s runway of stars were over—and the smiling land had not even gotten to be Miss Congeniality. Once again artists were talking

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