GENERAL IDEA “PLA©EBO SILVER (PIN)”, 1991
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.
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.
At the onset of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, the illness (and the apathy/ignorance toward it) became a dominant motif in their work.
Perhaps their most iconic series is their appropriation of Robert Indiana’s “LOVE”. General Idea subverted his iconic work to read "AIDS" using the same font and bold color arrangement of red/green/blue as the original.
This trio of colors became a mainstay in General Idea’s work, ultimately becoming a recurring palette that would "infect" their artwork and signify the power and ubiquity of the AIDS pandemic.
“Pla©ebo (Pin)” is a small but impactful emblem from General Idea’s PLA©EBO series, exhibited in Toronto, Cologne, and Paris in 1991. Shaped like a pill, the pin commemorates the introduction of General Idea's pill motif, a recurring trope in their critique of the response to the AIDS crisis.
This pin, in chromed silver, is from the second iteration of this work released in 1996.
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“Placebo (Pin)” (Silver)
Enamel on metal lapel pin
From an edition of 295
0.5”H 2.5”W (pin)
5"H 5.75"W (framed)
Framed with museum glass
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