General Idea

Esther Schipper

About halfway into his twenty-five-year collaboration with Jorge Zontal and Felix Partz, AA Bronson described one major reason why the three came together in Toronto in 1969 to form the group General Idea: the absence of their own visibility or self-representation within a national art scene. “We forgot that we, ourselves, were real artists, because we had not seen ourselves in the media—real artists, like Frank Stella, appeared in Artforum magazine,” Bronson wrote. This exhibition presented a selection from the collective’s production through 1977 and consisted largely of ephemera documenting the group’s primary preoccupation during those early years: the construction of a myth that addressed the anxiety of geographic marginality, in tandem with a sophisticated deconstruction of mass media and the culture industry.

The earliest piece here was a silent 16-mm black-and-white film, God Is My

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