GENERAL IDEA: ART, AIDS AND THE FIN DE SIECLE (Annette Mangaard, Canada). 50 minutes. Friday (May 16), 5:15 pm, ROM. Rating: NNNN
This portrait of T.O.’s talented art triumverate is more tribute than exploration. It doesn’t, among other things, include the debate surrounding General Idea’s tendency to downplay their gayness in the 70s – but it does demonstrate why they made such an impact.
The work is gorgeous, and the artistic stance is consistent. A.A. Bronson (the only living member and the centrepiece of the film), Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal never wanted to be art stars. They did choose artistic strategies – especially those poodles – that went against the artistic grain and played the irony for maximum effect, until AIDS took over their work and then took the lives of Partz and Zontal.
Art scenesters of the 80s will love the footage of the Miss General Idea pageants. You may even see yourself in the frame.