General Idea: Art, AIDS and the fin de siècle
General Idea: Art, AIDS and the fin de siècle is an hour long documentary about the internationally acclaimed Canadian artists collective called General Idea. They produced art that targeted and mimicked the media, consumerism and celebrity, and revolutionized a new spirit of art-making. 1969, Toronto is the meeting place for a trio of young artists who change their names and adopt new personas to become Jorge Zontal, AA Bronson and Felix Partz. They are gay, they are irreverent, and through “The Miss General Idea Pageant” they ‘investigate’ the nature of glamour and celebrity. In Europe, in the seventies General Idea become celebrities, treated like rock stars and exhibited in major museums in Amsterdam, Berlin, and Paris. Into the 1980’s and the first cases of AIDS. General Idea responds by, in an unforgettable coup appropriating the well-known “LOVE” painting by Robert Indiana and replacing the letters with AIDS, for the now world-famous logo. By 1989, the “AIDS” piece has infiltrated New York, San Francisco, Berlin, Amsterdam. Then, in 1994 the trio is devastated by the loss of first Jorge, then Felix from the AIDS virus. AA Bronson is left alive and HIV negative. Seen through the eyes of AA Bronson, the film is a poignant tale of love, fame, overwhelming loss and ultimately of renewal.