GENERAL IDEA, “A POODLE CREATES A PORTRAIT”, 1981
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.
The poodle is one of the defining icons in General Idea’s oeuvre, signifying a multitude of meanings. Like many works in their oeuvre, the poodle is both cute and subversive. While General Idea had used the poodle motif since the early 1970s, in this iteration it becomes graphic, stylized, and vaguely robotic.
GI's dedication to creating multiples was tied to their critical exploration of consumerism and art collecting/shopping. AA Bronson explained, “General Idea was at once complicit in and critical of the mechanisms and strategies that join art and commerce, a sort of mole in the art world.”
This image would also appear on the cover of Parachute, a contemporary art magazine, published for their winter 1981 issue. Throughout the 1980s General Idea would depict stylized poodles in an array of prints and multiples.
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"A Poodle Creates a Portrait of General Idea as Three Pee Holes in the Snow"
Offset and gold hot-stamping on paper
Signed, numbered, and dated by the artist.
12.25"H 12.25"W (work)
From an edition of 40
Published by Parachute, Montreal
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