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General Idea

49th Parallel

Will 1984 be the year of Orwell’s Big Brother or of the Miss General Idea Pageant—or are they somehow in cahoots? General Idea is a group of three Canadian artists—AA Bronson, Felix Partz, and Jorge Zontal. General Idea, we are told, is for them the artist; Miss General Idea is their art and muse; a “Pavilion” (reconstructed from show to show) is their museum; a magazine they publish, called FILE, is their mass media; and the Pageant, which can mediate nearly any information, is their format. There have been several such projects; the Pageant itself is scheduled for 1984. So much for the artist alone with his canvas—art as total spectacle is (again) here. But, whose totality is it?

The latest edition of the Pageant included projects from 1975 to 1980. One is a long series of “showcards,” each with illustration and text, that act as “sketch records” scenarios or skits for the Pageant.

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