Home » VoCA loves…A.A. Bronson & General Idea

VoCA loves…A.A. Bronson & General Idea

VoCA recommends General Idea: Art, AIDS and the fin de siecle, a fantastic new film by Annette Mangaard, screening at Toronto’s Hotdocs festival on April 20 and 26, 2008.


General Idea. Image: aabronson.com

It’s a wonderful look at the history of the Canadian artist collective General Idea. Group members Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal and A.A. Bronson were active from 1969 to 1994. After Partz and Zontal died of AIDS, Bronson reinvented himself as A.A. Bronson: Healer.

(‘In me behold the looking glass of life: / Such you will be, for I was what you are’)

aa.jpg
portrait of AA Bronson by Arne Svenson, August 22, 2000. Image: aabronson.com

He had a show, A.A. Bronson’s School for Young Shamans in New York at John Connelly Presents earlier this year, featuring work by Urban Shamans including Terence Koh, the young Winnipeg artist Michael Dudeck and Japanese art personality Item Idem.

n612021894_584926_7835.jpg
Item Idem. Image – nicked from Facebook!

Bronson and Item Idem are in conversation in the current issue of Stimuli magazine.

Click HERE to read the article.

General Idea were pioneers of early conceptual and media-based art. They continue to be highly influential. Perhaps most famous for their infiltration of the media – television – as well as their boutiques, talk shows, beauty pagents and the publication of FILE magazine. General Idea founded Toronto’s Art Metropole in 1974, which is a non-profit dedicated to artist multiples.


General Idea, AIDS. 1987. Image: Lilian Tone

A.A. Bronson is the director of Printed Matter, Inc. in New York.

4 Responses to “VoCA loves…A.A. Bronson & General Idea”

  1. Andrea says:

    And VoCA loves that in the Stimuli conversation, A.A mentions a favorite artist of ours: Paul Thek!

  2. Bill says:

    I saw this documentary last night at the Bloor and highly recommend it. The vintage/archival footage was great to see and it’s a pretty good primer on General Idea’s career, though there is so much more to say (e.g., their founding of Art Metropole wasn’t mentioned). And how can one not love “Shut The F*ck Up”, which was screened before it. General Idea certainly created some of the smartest art to come out of Canada, ever, and the film gives you the sense that there was once a ‘good-old-days’ in the Toronto art scene, which is long past. Oh, and AA Bronson was adorable as a young man! I wanted to ask what Robert Indiana thought about General Idea appropriating his LOVE graphic for their AIDS project, but they didn’t see my raised hand at the back of the theatre…I should’ve yelled…I’m assuming he was fine with it, but does anyone know?

  3. L.M. says:

    The documentary mentioned above is called “General Idea: Art Aids and the Fin de Siècle” It was written, directed and produced by Annette Mangaard. (who’s previous documentaries include one on Arnaud Maggs)

    (I’m so glad she’s getting funding to make work about important Canadian Artists.)

  4. L.M. says:

    Like an idiot I just repeated some of your information in the post above to make that point about funding for representations of our own history. Please excuse that blunder, I didn’t mean to sound pompous.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>