General Idea



General Idea formed in 1967 in Toronto and over the next 30 some years, the trio made a remarkable and inimitable 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, installations, multiples and performance. 

This early and iconic screenprint was created in tandem with a 1975 performance  at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in Toronto.

“Going Thru the Motions” was staged as a ‘rehearsal’ for the General Idea beauty pageant. This conceptual parody, which was a 20 year running concept that was realized in various mediums or iterations. Classified as a “rehearsal,” a pageant queen roamed the isles of the AGO, directed by a mysterious offstage presence, commanding “action” and “cut.” An unknowing (?) gallery audience acted as a studio audience during the performance’s cinematic proceedings. “Going Thru the Motions,” was a performance, a pseudo film, and an exhibition poster...a truly multimedia work. 

General Idea works from the early 1970's are exceptionally rare. Several elements in "Going Thru the Motions" appear in future works in their oeuvre notably the "wavy hand" (aka "Hand of the Spirit") and the woman's leg in lace up stiletto. It appeared again in 1975 on the cover of the Glamour issue of “File Magazine,” GI's parody version of Life Magazine. 

General Idea wrote in 1975 "Glamour replaces Marxism as the single revolutionary statement of the twentieth century"

Questions about this artwork? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720

"General Idea's Going Thru the Motions"

Screenprint on paper  

From the signed edition of 70

(Total edition was 300, only the first 70 were rubber-stamped signed and numbered)

49"H 33"W (work)

51"H 36"W (framed)

Newly framed with plexiglass

Very good condition. Detailed condition report by request. 

Literature: "Glamour is Theft: A User's Guide to General Idea", Monk, pg. 44 (2016)

"General Idea: Editions 1967-1995", Fischer, pg. 102 (2003)

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Occasionally we will recommend that an artwork be removed from its frame for shipping. Larger framed works are typically framed with plexiglass. We export over 80% of what we sell, so we are comfortable shipping anywhere. 

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