GENERAL IDEA “PLA©EBO (PIN)”, 1991
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 an intimate emblem produced for 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 work is from the first edition, published in 1991, and is distinguished by the gold-colored backing. (As opposed to the second edition released in 1996 on a silver background).
In 1994, two of the members, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal died of AIDS. General Idea's surviving member, AA Bronson, continues to practice as an independent artist and oversees the representation, exhibition, and reedition of General Idea’s work internationally.
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Enamel on metal lapel pin
From an edition of 300
0.5”H 2.5”W (pin)
5"H 5.75"W (framed)
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