General Idea


General Idea was founded in 1967 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.

Their work combines both provocative and banal imagery with wit, irony and camp, creating subversive cultural critiques on a wide range of topics from the role of the artist in society to the AIDS crisis. 

This work is an iconic variations of one of General Idea's signature motifs. After adopting the poodle as their mascot at the very beginning of the 1980's, it became a reoccurring subject explored throughout the decade. The poodle acted as a vehicle to both mock art history and embellish the legend of General Idea through heraldic display.

While historical European crests portrayed heroic beasts like lions, horses and dragons, GI used an animal that was seen as fey and fancy or decorative rather than brave, if not blatantly homosexual. 

The design of "Fur Flies" appears in several variations throughout the decade, notably the chenille crests from 1988. Here, in the first iteration of the design, looping neon-pink lines form the outline of a poodle rearing up on it's hind legs, however it looks more fancy then ferocious. 

Both the composition and subject reference classical depictions of majestic war-horses and mythical griffins rearing-up on their hind-legs as they prepare for battle. Sharp blue claws and a horn-like object added near the poodle's mouth hint that this pink poodle is battle-ready...even if the battle is taking place on a runway. Perhaps each of the three yellow trees represents a member of General Idea...or are these stylized mushroom clouds, another motif explored by GI.  

This is a fantastic and iconic example of General Idea. To our knowledge this is the first example available on the secondary market in many years. 

Questions about this piece? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720

Additional images available by request.

Signed, titled, dated, and numbered by General Idea.

'When The Fur Flies'

Paris, 1986

From an edition of 100

Offset on paper

29"H 22"W (work)

Excellent condition

Published by Galerie Montenay-Delsol, Paris

Literature: General Idea (2003). General Idea: Editions 1967-1995. Canada: Blackwood Gallery. pp. 170.

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