GENERAL IDEA, “GHENT SCARF”, 1984
General Idea formed in 1967 in Toronto and over the next nearly 30 years, the trio made a remarkable contribution to post-modern art.
With their subversive approach and interest in parody and appropriation, General Idea addressed a broad range of social and art-world issues including consumerism, media consumption, the cult of the artist and AIDS.
General Idea was both prolific and multi-disciplinary (way before it became de rigueur) creating works in a wide range of media including photography, sculpture, painting, mail art, video, performances, installations and (perhaps most notably) artist multiples.
‘Ghent Flag’ was created in 1984 to coincide with a General Idea exhibition at the Museum Van Hedendaagse Kunst, Gent. The boxed work contains their version of the city of Ghent's flag. However they replaced the lion with a poodle, a recurrent symbol in General Idea’s practice that is both cute and subversive.
The reception of this work was controversial. One of the artists, AA Bronson, explained, “City hall is in an uproar—the mayor has made a public statement in favour of poodles (poodles are alert while lions sleep)—the papers love it—today the Minister of Tourism was caricatured in the paper as a General Idea poodle. Today 50 full-size flags go up around the city.”
The box also contains two sheets with a short text in English and in Flemish by Jan Hoet, the founder of the S.M.A.K. in Ghent, Belgium.
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Ghent Scarf, 1984
From an edition of 500
Signed and numbered by the artist
Screenprint on nylon, 2 title sheets (offset on paper)
Black card box with gold hot-stamp lettering
10"W 10"H (box)
30"W 30"H (scarf)
Published by Museum Van Hedendaagse Kunst, Germany
Produced to accompany the exhibition General Idea, Gent, 24 November 1984 – 6 January 1985, and reproduces General Idea’s Ghent flag in miniature.