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 across 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. This work, with it's stylized cartoon skull (with copyright symbol eyes) is one of these logos or mascots that make several appearances in their oeuvre. Click here to see another example of this skull. 

General Idea was particularly interested in (European) crests used for centuries to represent a city, district, or even a creative or professional guild. They both appropriated and reinterpreted existing crests in addition to creating ones entirely of their own imagination.  

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

"Eye of the Beholder" features a single stylized skull completed in General Idea's signature palette of crimson red, black, and white. The skull motif epitomizes their campy, cartoonish, or absurd emblems. 

While these crests were intended to be an unlimited edition, according to the General Idea Editions catalog raisonné, less than 100 were produced. In 2010 AA Bronson would reissue these crests, however, the quality was arguably inferior to the originals. Serious collectors pursue the original crests, offered here. 

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

Visit our Toronto gallery on Thursdays or by appointment.

"Eye of the Beholder"

USA, 1989

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)

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.

- 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