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AA Bronson makes ArtLyst's 2022 'Alt Power 100'
Press
AA Bronson makes ArtLyst's 2022 'Alt Power 100'
Galleries West January 7, 2023

The British art information website ArtLyst has named Toronto-based artist AA Bronson to its 'Alt Power 100' list for 2022. The annual compilation acknowledges artists and curators from around the world who work to "enrich our communities." Bronson was a member of General Idea, an artist collective that also included Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal. They produced over 100 solo exhibitions, countless group shows and public art projects focused on themes related to queer theory and AIDS activism, amongst others. ArtLyst cited the retrospective last year at the National Gallery of Canada for General Idea, active from 1969 until 1994, when both Partz and Zontal died of AIDS. The exhibition, which Bronson played a key role in organizing, explored the group’s 25-year history as it evolved from humble beginnings producing videos, photos, posters and mail art to its later days of tackling the AIDS crisis through paintings, sculptures and installations.

Dan Adler on General Idea at the National Gallery of Canada
Press
Dan Adler on General Idea at the National Gallery of Canada
Artforum January 6, 2023

Curated with sensitivity and wit by Adam Welch, this comprehensive survey of General Idea, the largest to date, began in an unexpectedly understated way: Visitors traversed a small octagonal space, whose walls were adorned with a faint pattern in green, orange, and white. It took the viewer a moment of repose to find the titular acronym repeated throughout White AIDS Wallpaper, 1991—its ironic design based on Robert Indiana’s LOVE insignia—and, in the process, (re)consider how that disease affected the many communities and publics in which the collective operated, sometimes through subtle infiltration rather than splashy provocation. Rightly refusing to give in to sentimental memorializing, the exhibition treated the illness—which claimed two of the group’s three members, Felix Partz (1945–1994) and Jorge Zontal (1944–1994)—as a thing meant to be sliced and diced by the Cuisinart of their imagination, turning the word into a specious brand logo, a punching bag, and a semiotic treasure trove.

17 Shows to See in Europe in 2023, From a Survey of Yayoi Kusama’s Inflatables to the Largest Showcase of Vermeer’s Work Yet
Press
17 Shows to See in Europe in 2023, From a Survey of Yayoi Kusama’s Inflatables to the Largest Showcase of Vermeer’s Work Yet
Artnet News January 2, 2023

The Stedelijk will lend its spotlight to the collective, made up of Canadian artists Felix Partz, Jorge Xontal, and AA Bronson, who were active under the moniker between 1969 and 1994. The exhibition is the most comprehensive retrospective on the trio to date, and charts the group’s witty and eccentric output through more than 200 works. From major installations such as the 1987 AIDS sculpture, which riffs on Robert Indiana’s “LOVE” motif—both Xontal and Partz contracted HIV in the 1980s—to archival materials, publications, painting, and sculpture, the exhibition showcases the group’s playful commentary and critique on mass media, consumer culture, social inequality, queerness, and the art economy, tracing its impact on both their own moment and milieu.

The 10 most remarkable and memorable artworks at Canadian galleries in 2022
Press
The 10 most remarkable and memorable artworks at Canadian galleries in 2022
The Globe and Mail December 7, 2022

From provocative video installations to engaging virtual-reality exhibits, Kate Taylor takes the pulse of the visual-arts scene across the country. Best Retrospective: General Idea at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. Revisiting the career of General Idea, that cheeky trio of the 1980s and early 90s, proved to be the year’s most refreshing experience. In an era where the visual arts are filled with earnest sermons, GI’s work about the AIDS crisis reminded viewers that AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal kept their satirical edge to the bitter end. Meanwhile, their earlier assaults on art world celebrity proved as pertinent as ever.

Goings On About Town: General Idea
Press
Goings On About Town: General Idea
The New Yorker November 1, 2022

Two hundred and fifty charming, campy yet serious drawings are on view in “Ecce Homo,” a focussed retrospective devoted to this three-person collective, formed by the artists AA Bronson, Felix Partz, and Jorge Zontal, in Toronto, in 1969. (The trio moved to New York City in 1985, where most of these pieces were made.) All the drawings were made by the quick, fluid lines of Zontal’s hand, but they are signed with the initials “GI,” for General Idea, because they resulted from a group process and reflected a common lexicon. Recurring images—poodles, magic mountains, amoebas—are rendered in graphite, watercolor, and gouache. Some display a gestural, cartoony economy; others are constructed from doodlelike scrolls and frenetic crosshatching. The show has a deceptively playful air: the spectre of the AIDS epidemic is ever present. (Both Partz and Zontal died of H.I.V.-related causes, in 1994.) A wall of cockroach drawings, in which the insects seem to crawl over speckled abstractions, had a special significance for Zontal: they represented the floaters that impaired his vision as he went blind. Intimate and born of a daily practice, the material in “Ecce Homo” is a profound counterpart to the trio’s better-known works, notably their activist update of Robert Indiana’s iconic red, green, and blue “LOVE” statue, reimagined to read “AIDS.”

AA Bronson’s Lifetime of Gay Joy and Provocation
Press
AA Bronson’s Lifetime of Gay Joy and Provocation
The New York Times Style Magazine October 28, 2022

“I’m finding it difficult to be 76 and busy,” says the artist AA Bronson from his Berlin studio, where he also lives. “The two don’t really go together.” Though he’s not currently focused on producing new works, Bronson, who has devoted his career to pushing against negative queer representation through the production of confrontational, easily reproducible art, has been spending much of his time planning international exhibitions of his unapologetically political oeuvre. General Idea, the collective he formed with his late life partners Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal — together, the three Canadians were responsible for some of the most striking AIDS-related compositions of the late 1980s and the 1990s — is currently the subject of its biggest retrospective to date, at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

Revolutionary Queer Art: General Idea HIV Exhibit at National Gallery of Canada until November 20, 2022
Press
Revolutionary Queer Art: General Idea HIV Exhibit at National Gallery of Canada until November 20, 2022
Apartment 613 October 4, 2022

Throughout the pandemic years, Queer art has become a lifeline for the Queer community. In my opinion, one of the best examples of Canadian Queer art is the General Idea AIDS exhibit currently on display at the National Gallery of Canada. It takes the dark and deadly history of the HIV epidemic and turns it colourful. It’s a breath of life that tells the story of the victims of the HIV plague. General Idea was made up of Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal, and AA Bronson. These three Canadian artists invoked change worldwide by challenging controversial queer ideals from 1969-1994. Important themes included throughout the exhibit are corporate greed, discrimination, and androgyny. “The Great Polystyrene Cold,” “Miss General Idea,” and “Pharmaecology” are the three pieces that stood out for me regarding these themes. These pieces encompass androgynous themes, which is essential when discussing a multi-faceted issue like HIV.

15 LGBTQ art shows that are spicing up global museums this fall
Press
15 LGBTQ art shows that are spicing up global museums this fall
NBC News October 4, 2022

If variety is the spice of life, the world’s museums are perfectly seasoning things this fall with an expansive range of exhibitions from LGBTQ artists, exploring myriad motifs like queer motherhood, Afrofuturism, positive indecency, disposable consumerism and gay history. From Miami to Melbourne and from Houston to Helsinki, here are the exhibitions to catch this fall. Canadian trio Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal and AA Bronson, collectively known as General Idea, were witty and wacky provocateurs who challenged the established art world and addressed themes like consumerism, queer identity and the AIDS crisis (complications from the disease took both Partz and Zontal in 1994). This most comprehensive retrospective of their still-influential 25-year career features more than 200 works.

ECCE HOMO: THE DRAWINGS OF GENERAL IDEA, NEW YORK
Press
ECCE HOMO: THE DRAWINGS OF GENERAL IDEA, NEW YORK
Martin Cid Magazine September 27, 2022

The Drawing Center, in partnership with Musée d’art moderne et contemporain Geneva (MAMCO), will bring together the drawings of General Idea authored between 1985 and 1993 for the first time in the United States, and again in Geneva in February 2023. Investigating motifs in the group’s multimedia works such as poodles, stiletto heels, masks, heraldry, and metamorphosed genitalia, these drawings were primarily produced by Jorge Zontal during group meetings. However, given General Idea’s mandate for co-authorship, as well as the circumstances under which they were executed, the drawings are considered to be collaborative. Although they are done entirely by hand, the repetition of specific motifs follows a viral logic that is akin to General Idea’s own penchant for mass reproduction. Seen together, these drawings are a fascinating window into General Idea’s distinct artistic vision as well as their unique notions of collaboration and co-authorship.

What to See Across the Americas in September
Press
What to See Across the Americas in September
Frieze September 16, 2022

It has been more than half a century since General Idea – the irreverent collective consisting of Jorge Zontal, Felix Partz and A.A. Bronson – came onto the art world stage in 1969 with their zany, pop-inflected socio-political critique and tongue-in-cheek antics. Organized in collaboration with Bronson (General Idea’s sole surviving member) some 28 years after they were last active, the National Gallery’s retrospective – and its hefty accompanying catalogue – encapsulate a quarter century of the collective’s influential practice as post-modern pioneers whose work integrated high-minded conceptualism with mass culture and new media.

Hyperallergic Fall 2022 New York Art Guide
Press
Hyperallergic Fall 2022 New York Art Guide
Hyperallergic August 31, 2022

To understand the real beauty of New York, look no further than its inclusiveness. There is something for everyone in this great metropolis. My suggestion is to go out and see it all! This guide is focused on the art institutions that help make this city great, and it highlights the breadth of venues throughout the boroughs, as well as a few beyond in the Greater New York region for those adventurous enough to go on a day trip. Art in New York is truly unlike anything else in the world. Founded in Toronto in the late 1960s by AA Bronson, Felix Partz, and Jorge Zontal, General Idea was a collective guided by a radical queer politics and a performative orientation. Drawings executed in the spirit of mass reproduction between 1985 and 1993 spotlight motifs like poodles, stilettos, and masks.

The Irreverent Advocacy of General Idea
Press
The Irreverent Advocacy of General Idea
Frieze August 23, 2022

It has been more than half a century since General Idea – the irreverent collective consisting of Jorge Zontal, Felix Partz and A.A. Bronson – came onto the art world stage in 1969 with their zany, pop-inflected socio-political critique and tongue-in-cheek antics. Organized in collaboration with Bronson (General Idea’s sole surviving member) some 28 years after they were last active, the National Gallery’s retrospective – and its hefty accompanying catalogue – encapsulate a quarter century of the collective’s influential practice as post-modern pioneers whose work integrated high-minded conceptualism with mass culture and new media.

How Legendary Queer Canadian Art Group General Idea Predicted Meme and TikTok Culture
Press
How Legendary Queer Canadian Art Group General Idea Predicted Meme and TikTok Culture
Artnews July 11, 2022

When General Idea first started making art in the 1960s, the older generation was already getting its share of shock from the sex, drugs, and rock and roll that defined the era. But nothing could prepare them for what was coming courtesy of artists AA Bronson, Felix Partz, and Jorge Zontal. In a first, the National Gallery of Canada is acknowledging the group (don’t call them a “collective,” Bronson, the only surviving member, said) with a massive survey of their work from its very beginnings. After its run in Ottawa, the show is set to head to the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. What started as an experiment grew into a powerful force in the Canadian contemporary art milieu. Up to that point, no one talked much about non-normative sexual and gender identity. General Idea wanted to talk—and so they did, starting a conversation that might not otherwise have happened in polite, middle-class society.

General Idea's AA Bronson on Q: A visual companion guide
Press
General Idea's AA Bronson on Q: A visual companion guide
CBC June 27, 2022

General Idea was a collective of three Canadian artists — AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal — that formed in 1969. The trio was anti-establishment, queer and punk. Most importantly, they made art with a wink and a smile, becoming known for cheeky projects like staging a beauty pageant for artists and sending strangers mail with intimate questions. General Idea proved that art could be provocative and fun while still tackling issues that matter, like the AIDS crisis, which had a huge influence on their work. Sadly, AIDS led to the deaths of two of the group's members. Bronson is the sole surviving member of General Idea. He joined Q's Tom Power from his home in Berlin to discuss the National Gallery of Canada's massive new retrospective celebrating the group. Follow along with the conversation using this visual companion guide.

AA Bronson on the radical, enduring legacy of General Idea
Press
AA Bronson on the radical, enduring legacy of General Idea
Wallpaper* June 18, 2022

General Idea, an art group that pioneered a queer aesthetic, is celebrated in a retrospective at the National Gallery of Canada (opened during Pride Month and running until 20 November 2022). Surviving member AA Bronson speaks about their origins, and impact on art and social justice.

General Idea Get Retrospective At National Gallery Canada
Press
General Idea Get Retrospective At National Gallery Canada
Artlyst June 2, 2022

Formed as part of the 1960s Toronto counterculture, General Idea was a radical artist-led group founded in Toronto by AA Bronson (b. 1946), Felix Partz (1945–1994) and Jorge Zontal (1944–1994). Together they invented a ground-breaking and provocative multi-disciplinary practice that challenged social and artistic norms and altered the development of postwar art over 25 years – from the group’s formation in 1969 to the deaths in 1994 of both Partz and Zontal from AIDS-related illnesses. This major retrospective of General Idea will bring together more than 200 works, including installations, paintings, drawings, videos, sculptures, publications and archival material, to explore the crucial role General Idea played in developing art and activism in Canada, the United States and Europe. The exhibition will also chart General Idea’s influence on future generations of creators, informing new ways of reimagining and changing our world through art.

In the studio with… AA Bronson
Press
In the studio with… AA Bronson
Apollo Magazine May 31, 2022

The Canadian artist AA Bronson was one of founding members of the art collective General Idea along with Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal. The artists lived and worked together for twenty-five years, exploring themes ranging from mass media and popular culture to queer identity and the AIDS epidemic. Since the death of Partz and Zontal in 1994 from AIDS, Bronson has become increasingly interested in the practice of healing and often incorporates healing processes into his artworks, focusing on specific historical and contemporary traumas. The work of General Idea is the subject of a retrospective at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, from 3 June to 20 November. 

Subversive Canadian art collective General Idea go mainstream with major Ottawa show
Press
Subversive Canadian art collective General Idea go mainstream with major Ottawa show
The Art Newspaper May 30, 2022

The eclectic Canadian trio General Idea, who attained international acclaim during their 25 years of practice (1969-94), are about to hit the heights again as the subject of a blockbuster exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. The show, opening this week, will feature around 200 works, including major installations, publications, videos, drawings, paintings and sculptures. Although the exhibition’s curator Adam Welch admitted surprise that such a retrospective had not come until now at the National Gallery (Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario did stage one a decade ago), the group has hardly gone unnoticed in the Ottawa-based museum. As Welch told The Art Newspaper: “We have outstanding works in the collection and this exhibition has allowed us to delve much more deeply into those holdings, and, of course, to engage in close research with AA Bronson.”

AA Bronson’s Treatise on Art and Grief
Press
AA Bronson’s Treatise on Art and Grief
FRIEZE December 15, 2021

In our current state of ever-evolving social and ecological catastrophe, we find ourselves needing not just inspiration, but examples of best practice – and the septuagenarian performer, installation artist, healer, zine publisher and activist AA Bronson weighs in on both counts. As one of the founding members of the art collective General Idea, Bronson was an important early responder to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Then, following the deaths from AIDS in 1994 of his life partners and General Idea co-members, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal, he has had to find ways of making work that make sense within the context of ongoing and devastating grief.  

FOUR GALLERIES TEAM UP TO DEBUT MONUMENTAL AIDS WORK BY GENERAL IDEA AT ART BASEL UNLIMITED
Press
FOUR GALLERIES TEAM UP TO DEBUT MONUMENTAL AIDS WORK BY GENERAL IDEA AT ART BASEL UNLIMITED
FAD Magazine September 17, 2021

On September 20th at Art Basel Unlimited, Mitchell-Innes & Nash (New York), Mai 36 Galerie (Zurich), Maureen Paley (London) and Esther Schipper (Berlin) will jointly present AIDS Cross (1991/2021), the most recent of General Idea’s history of AIDS works in various media. All four galleries will additionally present works by General Idea in their respective fair booths, alongside a suite of works by their other represented artist.

Why Berlin is an alluring home for Canadian artists
Press
Why Berlin is an alluring home for Canadian artists
CBC Radio August 13, 2021

AA Bronson: We moved here eight years ago, on Valentine's Day 2013. I was invited to participate in something called the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program (German: Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD), which is a fellowship program by which they invite artists to come and live and work in Berlin for a year. They give you a studio and allow you to bring your family, whoever that might be. It's an amazing program.

COULDN’T MAKE IT TO FRIEZE NEW YORK? HERE ARE 10 OF OUR FAVORITE ARTWORKS
Press
COULDN’T MAKE IT TO FRIEZE NEW YORK? HERE ARE 10 OF OUR FAVORITE ARTWORKS
Elle Decor May 12, 2021

After more than a year without art fairs, Frieze New York is back. But this highly anticipated pandemic-era edition looked a little different. Rather than setting up shop in the usual sprawling tent on Randall’s Island, some 60 international galleries occupied the Shed, the multidisciplinary performing arts space in Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s West Side.

Frieze New York, First Live Art Fair in a Year, Kicks Off at the Shed
Press
Frieze New York, First Live Art Fair in a Year, Kicks Off at the Shed
The New York Times May 6, 2021

Founded in 1969 by the artists AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal, the collective General Idea made heady but playful work that dealt with sex, art, money, and the AIDS crisis. This solo presentation offers a scattershot but substantive introduction to the group’s oeuvre. Their signature poodles appear both in cheerfully self-aware drawings with mounds of pasta-like curls and on canvas in a discreet ménage-à-trois.

The 10 Best Booths at Frieze New York 2021
Press
The 10 Best Booths at Frieze New York 2021
Artsy May 6, 2021

The cross-Atlantic partnership between New York’s Mitchell-Innes & Nash and Berlin’s Esther Schipper has resulted in an excellent booth devoted to the output of 
General Idea, the collective formed in 1969 by AA Bronson, Felix Partz, and Jorge Zontal. The presentation features some of their most distinctive works, like their paintings and drawings of frollicking, frilly poodles (priced between $15,000 and $168,000), and their darkly comic 1992 group self-portrait Playing Doctor (priced at $150,000). The work was created at the height of the AIDS crisis that would ultimately claim Partz’s and Zontal’s lives. The booth’s centerpiece is the set of nine abstract panels El Dorado Series (1992), an abstracted interpretation of 18th-century Spanish caste paintings that sought to establish a hierarchy among ethnic groups in South America.

When the Magic Bullets Fall: AA Bronson on General Idea’s Installation at MoMA
Press
When the Magic Bullets Fall: AA Bronson on General Idea’s Installation at MoMA
MoMA Magazine April 14, 2021

Thomas J. Lax: AA, Thank you for speaking with Christophe and me. Can you tell us where you are—and, perhaps a more complex question—how are you?

AA Bronson: Greetings, always a pleasure! I am in Berlin, with my husband Mark, in our rambling Berlin apartment on Fasanenstrasse—before the Wall came down, and even before that, this was the heart of Berlin’s art and culture world, but now it is pleasantly old-fashioned, with gas street-lamps, small auction houses and galleries, spreading chestnut trees, and a generous population of Russian expats. And despite the pandemic and the almost constant lockdown, we are okay here. To be truthful, my life—as an old man—has not changed that much. Except that my occasional forays into Berlin nightlife regretfully have come to an end.

AA Bronson reflects
Press
AA Bronson reflects
AGO Insider June 16, 2020

Much of our current global situation feels unprecedented. However, COVID-19 is not the first disease to send shockwaves through our communities. The AIDS epidemic of the ‘80s and ‘90s, like COVID-19, hit indiscriminately but affected vulnerable members of society the hardest. At the time, amidst an inadequate public response largely rooted in homophobia, many artists felt compelled to create work aimed at raising critical awareness about the crisis. With AIDS (Installation), General Idea did this with a resounding impact, which continues to echo today.   

AA Bronson Reflects on Rochdale College, His Family’s Colonial History, and General Idea
By Dorian Batycka
AA Bronson Reflects on Rochdale College, His Family’s Colonial History, and General Idea
Hyperallergic November 27, 2018

There are few artists I have more reverence for than AA Bronson. In 1969, with fellow artists Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal, Bronson co-founded General Idea, the legendary Toronto-based art collective that helped pioneer Relational and Mail Art. Over the course of their decades-long collaboration, General Idea’s multidisciplinary conceptual practice helped establish bold new directions for art in Canada and abroad.

The Estate of General Idea
Press
The Estate of General Idea
The New Yorker January 8, 2018

This show introduces viewers to the group's less well-known paintings: hard-edged, fluorescent geometric abstractions that evoke the pixelated silhouettes of eight-bit video games. They also allude to the mystical and political significance of stepped architecture in ancient societies, from Mesopotamia to the Mayans, where such structures were thought to lead to the gods. Exhibited alongside the paintings are plans for the "The 1984 Miss General Idea Pavilion," an absurdist beauty-pageant venue that, per the artists' lore, had burned to the ground, leaving only the footprint of the ziggurat. 

"The Estate of General Idea: Ziggurat"
By Joseph R. Wolin
"The Estate of General Idea: Ziggurat"
TimeOut January 4, 2018

The real surprise of the show is a series of paintings in the main gallery. Covered in allover patterns of interlocking ziggurats, two rectangular compositions from 1968–69 neatly combine stain painting with systemic minimalism. Nearly textbook examples of avant-garde abstract painting concerns of their day, these canvases split the difference between seriousness and burlesque.

THE ESTATE OF GENERAL IDEA: Ziggurat
Press
THE ESTATE OF GENERAL IDEA: Ziggurat
artnet December 1, 2017

 The importance of the ziggurat to General Idea’s practice cannot be understated. It is a central and repeated symbol in General Idea’s vocabulary, appearing (either implicitly or explicitly) in paintings, drawings, performances, photographs, sculptures, prints, videos and costumes spanning the group’s existence. An ancient Mesopotamian architectural structure of steps leading up to a temple, the ziggurat symbolizes as a link between humans and the gods. The symbol can be found in cultures ranging from Mesopotamia to the Aztec to Navajo Nation. General Idea appropriates this symbol of power and theism, utilizing the form as a framing device to examine questions of branding, architecture and spatial politics. 

Defying Time and Play-Acting Glamour With AA Bronson
By Emily McDermott
Defying Time and Play-Acting Glamour With AA Bronson
SLEEK October 2017

This summer and autumn, General Idea has posthumous exhibitions at MAMCO, Geneva’s museum of contemporary art, and Mitchell-Innes & Nash in New York. Next spring, Esther Schipper and KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin will showcase works by Bronson and his collective, as well those created under his pseudonym ‘JX Williams’. Outside of the gallery and institutional sphere, Bronson is compiling the group’s catalogue raisonné with Fern Bayer and developing a performance project at the Siksika Nation Aboriginal reserve in Canada.

Mitchell-Innes & Nash Now Represents the Estate of General Idea
By Alex Greenberger
Mitchell-Innes & Nash Now Represents the Estate of General Idea
ARTnews June 13, 2017

“They reinvented the idea of artist activism,” Lucy Mitchell-Inness, a co-owner of the gallery, told ARTnews. “They took on ideas—those often demonized or ignored—with a boldness that was unheard of at the time. [General Idea] came of age in a period that saw pivotal changes in queer conceptualism and postmodernism. They led the charge in decentralization and intervention within the institutional framework.”

Asked & Answered | AA Bronson of General Idea
BY PIERRE ALEXANDRE DE LOOZ
Asked & Answered | AA Bronson of General Idea
T Magazine October 14, 2011

General Idea’s now highly collectible magazine File dedicated its 1981 issue to the theme of success, with a contribution by Warhol and a dollar sign sculpture of their own contrivance on the cover. But by then General Idea had already experimented with new forms of retail like pop-ups and courted the international fashion set from their home base in Toronto for over a decade.