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 with a wide range of media including photography, sculpture, painting, mail art, video, installations, multiples, and performance. 

Many General Idea fans are surprised to learn of the trio's origins in the experimental theatre realm. One of their earliest projects from 1970 was the ambitious Miss General Idea Pageant. Through various objects and performances, The Miss General Idea Pageant would endure for nearly two decades. 

In the following year, it became a formal event or an ongoing multi-media project that included mail art, installation, performance, and some elements of a contest. Thirteen artists were invited to compete and were sent a kit containing instructions on how to participate. The requirements included photographing themselves in an identical brown taffeta dress.

One artist sent the package back with the inscription "Chauvinist Pigs". Her feedback was displayed and considered as her entry. This and the other contestants' contributions were first exhibited at A Space (a Toronto artist-run center) before the "event" which occurred at the Art Gallery of Ontario a week later. 

This extremely rare print was the advertisement for the exhibition and the "Grand Awards Ceremony".  While around 250 unnumbered prints were created on white paper, there was a limited edition of 10 salmon paper which were signed, rubber-stamped and numbered. 

As with "The Artist's Conception", (which was included in the mail art 'application" of this project), this work includes found imagery created by Canadian artist Glen Lewis. This element of photographic appropriation was done almost a decade earlier than similar works by artists such as Barbara Kruger and Richard Prince.  

"The 1971 Miss General Idea Pageant" is represented in the permanent collection at the National Gallery of Canada and has been included in numerous international exhibitions over the years. It goes without saying that this is an important and early artwork from the genesis of General Idea. 

Questions about this piece? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720.

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“The 1971 Miss General Idea Pageant” 

Canada, 1971

Photo screenprint on salmon wove paper

Signed (rubber-stamped) and numbered

From an edition of 10

40"H 26"W (work)

43"H 29"W (framed)

Framed with museum glass

Very good condition 

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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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Yes, we guarantee everything we sell. We can provide both a digital and printed version of our certificate of authenticity. 

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