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Minor Canon

General Idea/FILE tee

Regular price £18.00 GBP
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General Idea (1969–1994) remain some of the most influential artists to have emerged from Canada. After meeting in Toronto in the 1960s, Felix Partz (1945–1994), Jorge Zontal (1944–1994) and AA Bronson (b. 1946) went on to live and work together in a queer art-and-life partnership for twenty-five years.

As pioneers of early conceptual and media-based art, their collaboration became a model for artist-initiated activities and continues to be a prominent influence on subsequent generations of artists—especially through their role in founding Art Metropole, a non-profit space dedicated to artists' books, multiples, video, audio and electronic media, and FILE Megazine (published 1972–1989), an artists' magazine that emerged out of the mail/correspondence art scene.

General Idea's work inhabited and subverted forms of popular and media culture, including boutiques, television talk shows, trade fair pavilions, mass media, and beauty pageants. Their The 1971 Miss General Idea Pageant allowed for both male and female artists to send in pictures of them wearing the taffeta dress provided. Their work was often presented in unconventional media forms such as postcards, prints, posters, wallpaper, balloons, crests and pins. Self-mythology was a continuous strategy that informed their work. They created a fictional system that self-referenced and self-legitimized, claiming a space for their local art scene in Canada. Their intent was to reach a greater audience and so their work moved from art galleries and museums to newsstands. General Idea initially portrayed themselves as an ambiguous group, but soon realized it was causing confusion with the public. This led to a series of self-portraits.

This shirt reproduces GI's Self-Portrait with Objects of 1982, a work made during a period when the group had begun to attract international recognition, including their first solo museum exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and appearances at the 1980 Venice Biennale (at a group show in the Canadian Pavilion) and 1982 Documenta 7 in Kassel. The objects featured with Bronson, Zontal, and Partz are representations of General Idea’s key works and iconography to date: FILE Megazine; a V.B. Gown; a poodle, and the cocktail holders Liquid Assets, Architectonic, and Magic Palette. This portrait demonstrates the self-reflective direction that General Idea’s works took in the mid-1980s.

This shirt also features a small FILE logo as a rear label.

From 1987 through 1994, General Idea addressed the AIDS crisis, with work that included some 75 temporary public art projects. General Idea ceased activities in 1994, with the untimely deaths of Partz and Zontal from AIDS-related causes.

Further reading:

• 100% combed and ring-spun cotton
• Fabric weight: 4.2 oz/yd² (142 g/m²)
• Pre-shrunk fabric
• Side-seamed construction
• Shoulder-to-shoulder taping
• Blank product sourced from Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, Honduras, or the US


Size guide

XS (inches) 27 16 ½ 31-34
S (inches) 28 18 34-37
M (inches) 29 20 38-41
L (inches) 30 22 42-45
XL (inches) 31 24 46-49
2XL (inches) 32 26 50-53
3XL (inches) 33 28 54-57


XS (cm) 68.6 42 78.7-86.4
S (cm) 71.1 45.7 86.4-94
M (cm) 73.7 50.8 96.5-104.1
L (cm) 76.2 55.9 106.7-114.3
XL (cm) 78.7 61 116.8-124.5
2XL (cm) 81.3 66 127-134.6
3XL (cm) 83.8 71.1 137.2-144.8