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Minor Canon

General Idea FILE/Glamour 1975 tee

Regular price $26.00 USD
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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 a central image from the 1975 "Glamour" issue of FILE Megazine, one in which the group re-introduced itself to the public as a cohesive unit, refining their self-branding and taking stock of their career thus far. The issue’s central article is “Glamour,” a dense fourteen-page manifesto written by the artists. It opens with a portrait of the trio as architects. With characteristically campy flair, they wrote:

“This is the story of General Idea and the story of what we wanted. We wanted to be famous, glamorous and rich. . . We knew that if we were famous and glamorous we could say we were artists and we would be. We did and we are. We are famous, glamorous artists.”

This shirt's left sleeve also features the FILE logo. On the right sleeve, the word "Glamour" appears in the same script as the 1975 editorial.

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.

• 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