General Idea Editions 1967-1995

General Idea Editions 1967-1995
East Gallery
June 2 – August 5, 2007

Artist Lecture w/ AA Bronson TONIGHT, 7PM
Members FREE/$10 General/$6 Students & Seniors

Those of us who grew up watching Health Ed. videos of dancing t-cells teaching us about the many different ways you can’t get AIDS (toilet seats, straws, hugs, etc.) know General Idea as the guys behind

General Idea 1998 silkscreen poster, Hart House collection, University of Toronto

The group’s self-proclaimed “AIDS era” is all Seattle has seen of the group too. Since GI formed in 1967, their only piece to be placed on a gallery wall in Seattle is that logo. And only twice. And to scathing reviews.

When the City of Seattle’s “In Public” program plastered it on the sides of Metro buses in 1991, the Seattle P.I. slammed the move as an “inherently confused, slippery piece of public discourse, a timid, tepid, graphic arts parasite riding on the back of a plague.” Ouch.

Seattle 1991 - Image Virus: Aids Logo,

When the same image joined the “From Media to Metaphor: Art About AIDS” exhibition at COCA in 1992, the Seattle Times said, “This isn’t art, it’s just resume-writing — or advertising.”

So the fact that General Idea has such a negative standing in Seattle’s collective memory is a bummer, because the truth is, while the “AIDS era” was a major portion of GI’s work (…not to mention that two of its three members died in 1994 of AIDS-related causes), these guys have twenty-years worth of non-AIDS-related work. And it is weird and hysterical and smart.

P is for Poodle, 1983 Nazi Milk, 1979

So the HAG is reintroducing General Idea to Seattle, starting  June 2 through August 5, and this time giving GI its full props, as the kids say.

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