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.

General Idea was both prolific and multi-disciplinary long before it became de rigueur. Together, they worked with photography, sculpture, painting, mail art, video, installation, multiples, and performance. The group also made a significant number of unconventional editioned works and was inspired by the idea of the anti-art object. 

Thematic continuity was a key element in General Idea's work. Early on they introduced talismans or logos that they would revisit and re-envision, including skulls, ziggurats, and poodles. 

They were particularly interested in (European) crests used for centuries to represent a city, district, or even a creative or professional guild. General Idea both appropriated and reinterpreted existing crests (often by replacing a lion with a poodle) as well as creating ones that were entirely of their own imagination.  

Between 1988 and 1989, General Idea created 8 chenille crests with some of their most iconic motifs. These crests combined their traditional European antecedents and the aesthetics of high-school sports teams and varsity jackets. 

"Down the Drink" is a cobalt crest featuring three horizontal cocktail glasses, all tipped over, with their contents spilling out in a cascade of voluminous droplets. The droplets pour over into a body of rolling waves, where their peaks are disguised (or possibly reveal themselves) as threatening shark fins. (This motif also appears as a screenprint in the "Fear Management" series.)

No stranger to double entendres, General Idea uses the phrase "Down the Drink" to describe disposing of the liquid, rather than joyously consuming it. It is worth mentioning that the idea of beverages and consumption make repeated appearances in General Idea's oeuvre including "Nazi Milk", "Magic Palette", and "Test Tube". 

While these crests were intended to be an unlimited edition, according to the General Idea Editions catalog raisonné, less than 100 were produced (because the manufacturer went bankrupt). In 2010 AA Bronson would reissue these crests, however, the quality was far inferior to the originals and the colors used were significantly reduced. Serious collectors pursue the original crests, offered here. 

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"Down the Drink"

USA, 1988

Chenille, embroidery on crest-shaped felt

From an unrealized edition, less than 100 produced

9"H 8.25"W (crest)

12.25"H 11.5"W (framed)

Newly framed with museum glass

Very good condition.

- 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.

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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. 

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