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 four decades, 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 across a wide range of media including photography, sculpture, painting, mail art, video, installations, 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.

Thematic continuity was a key element for General Idea, who utilized longevity as an avenue to delve deeper into, build upon, and evolve with the complex and nuanced subject matter they took on.

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

“Going Thru the Motions” was staged as a ‘rehearsal’ for the Miss General Idea beauty pageant. This conceptual parody 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 1970s 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 piece? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720. Visit our Toronto gallery on Thursdays or by appointment.

"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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