General Idea



In 1967, General Idea was founded in Toronto by AA Bronson (b. 1946), Felix Partz (1945-1994), and Jorge Zontal (1944-1994). Over the course of 25 years, they made a significant contribution to postmodern and conceptual art in Canada and beyond. 

The group was both prolific and multi-disciplinary long before it became de rigueur. They worked with photography, sculpture, painting, mail art, video, installation, multiples, and performance.    

With their subversive approach and interest in parody and appropriation, General Idea addressed a broad range of social (and art-world) issues such as the cult of the artist, mass media, queer identity, and consumerism. 

Until the mid-1980s (when they introduced their iconic AIDS pieces), critics overlooked elements in General Idea's work that dealt with queer identity or sexuality. Despite the lack of acknowledgment, the trio had always peppered their work with gay codes, allusions, and general mischief.

Several of their pieces portrayed General Idea in campy, cartoonish, or absurd renditions of group self-portraits. In the 1980s their playful group self-portraits became an increasingly important part of their oeuvre. 

"ABCs" is an extraordinary example of their self-representation (and outrageous evolution). Here the trio is depicted as a group of babies arranged into what seems to be a menage à trois.

There is something both angelic and perverse about this trio. On one level, the artwork infantilizes General Idea, presenting them as innocent and pure despite their overt sexuality. Simultaneously, it raises questions about the future generation, perhaps hinting at a shift in attitudes and belief systems.

It is also worth highlighting the tactile materials of this piece, as during the 1980s General Idea's output became increasingly sleek.   

Questions about this piece? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720. 

Visit our Toronto gallery on Thursdays or by appointment


Canada, 1984 

Metal leaf on rice paper 

36.5"H 49.5"W (work)  

44.75"H 57.25"W (framed) 

Provenance: S.L. Simpson Gallery, Toronto; Acquired by the present Private Collection, Toronto, 1994. 

Literature: Sarah E.K. Smith, “General Idea: Life & Work” [online publication],

Art Canada Institute, Toronto 2016, page 52

- Where does the inventory ship from?
Our inventory is divided between New York and Toronto. 

- Where do you ship to?
We can ship anywhere. Typically when we ship within North America we prefer to use FedEx or DHL. To Europe, Asia and beyond we generally use DHL. 

- How much does it cost to ship?
For shipments within North America, we typically charge a flat rate fee. Many items on our site will list the rate. For shipping outside of North America, we can easily provide a quote and will look for the most efficient and economical option.

Most of the items on our site can be easily shipped internationally.

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. 

- Are there additional taxes or fees?
When a work is valued above $2,500 usd there is a possibility of tax of 0.35%, but this is applied sporadically. There can similarly be an additional fee for customs brokerage and this can range from $20 - $65. US Taxes, duties and customs brokerage are not included in our flat rate shipping. However most of our shipments to the US enter without any additional fees. 

- Do you provide a certificate of authenticity?
Yes, we guarantee everything we sell. We can provide both a digital and printed version of our certificate of authenticity. 

What is your return policy?
- Caviar20 wants you to be 100% satisfied with your purchase. We have a 7 day no-questions full refund return policy for your purchase. Shipping charges are non-refundable. Return shipping is the responsibility of the customer. After 8 days returns are given a credit note. There is no expiration for our credit notes.

- What payment methods do you accept?

If purchasing directly online, Caviar20 accepts all major credit cards as well as Paypal. If invoiced, Caviar20 accepts all major credit cards on regularly priced merchandise. 

Discounted material must be paid by wire transfer, or with Paypal (if funds are sent as 'friends and family'). There is a 3.5% administration fee for credit cards on discounted material. 

Caviar20 does not accept personal checks or Zelle. 

Canadian clients are welcomed and encouraged to pay with interac.
Please contact us directly at if interested in paying with a cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, Ethereum).


You may also like