General Idea


General Idea was formed in Toronto in 1969 by artists Felix Partz, Jorje Zontal, and AA Bronson.

Their pioneering conceptual art practice critiqued mass culture using appropriation and satire.

Their 'Test Pattern Placemats' represent the SMPTE color bars familiar to TV viewers of earlier generations. Building on the collective’s 1979 video piece Test Tube (a comical meditation on the collapse of popular and high culture through the mass media), Test Pattern reproduces the TV screen to comment on the ubiquity and dominance of television at the end of the 20th century. One could add that this work is a nod or a critique of the concept of TV-dinner. 

The initial impetus to create Test Pattern came from the exhibition venue itself, Spiral, in Tokyo, Japan. Established in 1985 by the Wacoal Corporation, Spiral is an arts center that includes exhibition spaces, a restaurant, a gallery shop, and a cutting-edge video production facility.

General Idea was intrigued by the concept of a place where you can "look, shop, and eat" and thus produced a work that could participate in all three while featuring the prevailing image of Japanese life, a video monitor.

This is a fantastic and iconic example of General Idea's work. It can be found in numerous museum collections including the MoMA, the Walker and the Stedelijk (Amsterdam) amongst others. 

Questions about this product? Call us at +1.416.704.1720

"Test Pattern Placemats"

Medium Offset lithograph with plastic laminate

Signed, dated, and numbered by the artist verso

11.6"H 15.8"W

From an edition of 100

Very good condition

Free USA and Canada shipping when purchased online

- 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).


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