TABLE OF CONTENTS

Collection Summary

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Organization of the Collection

Restrictions

Index Terms

Administrative Information

Contact Information

Series Level Descriptions

1 - Projects, 1968-1995

2 - Invitations and Gallery Press Releases, 1969-2002

3 - Audio, Film, and Video Works, 1969-2000

4 - Drawings and Production Materials, [ca. 1968-1969]-1994

5 - Photographs: Miscellaneous, 1964-1996

6 - Photo Postcards, [ca. 1971]-1981

7 - Polaroid Photographs, [ca. 1975-1982]

8 - Exhibition Copies, 1969-1997

9 - Performance Props, 1969-1994

10 - File Megazine, 1971-1989

11 - Prototypes, 1975-1994

12 - Rubber Stamps, [ca. 1969-1993]

13 - Photographs: Exhibitions Documentation, 1973-2001

14 - Photographs: Miscellaneous Travel, [ca. 1971]-1993

15 - Colour 35 mm Slides, 1972-1992

16 - Negatives, [ca. 1964-1969]-1994

17 - Manuscripts, 1969-1993

18 - Notebooks, 1960-1994

19 - Scrapbooks, 1957-1988

20 - Correspondence (Business), 1969-1996

21 - Correspondence (Personal), 1970-1996

22 - Bibliographic Reference Publications, 1977-2000

23 - Press Clippings, 1970-2001

24 - Jorge Zontal's Photographic Portraits, [ca. 1977]-1988

25 - Jorge Zontal's Drawings Series, [ca. 1970]-1993

26 - Personal Papers (Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal), 1965-1994

27 - Pre-General Idea Series (Ron Gabe and Jorge Saia), 1962-1994

28 - Pre-General Negatives Series (Jorge Saia), [ca. 1964-1969]

National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives

General Idea fonds:

Finding Aid



Collection Summary

Title:General Idea fonds.
Dates:– 1964-2002.
Quantity: – 35,342 photographs and other material.

Administrative History

The internationally celebrated artist collaborative General Idea (active 1969-1994) produced a vast body of work in a large variety of media: performance, installation, painting, sculpture, and photography. The group had an extensive output of low-cost publications and multiples, and were pioneers in video art. In their 25 years together, they held 123 solo exhibitions and were included in 149 group exhibitions internationally, including the Paris, Sydney, Sao Paulo, and Venice biennales and Documenta.

General Idea first came together as a casual relationship between AA Bronson, Felix Partz, and Jorge Zontal when they each separately gravitated to the counter-culture underground in Toronto in the late 1960s. By 1969 they were sharing a house, found common interests in mass media and popular culture, and began their legendary 25-year association. Early on, the three principals assumed noms de plume to reflect new identities as collaborators: Michael Tims (b. Vancouver, British Columbia, June 18, 1946) became AA Bronson; Ronald Gabe (b. Winnipeg, Manitoba, April 23, 1945; d. Toronto, Ontario, June 5, 1994) became Felix Partz; and Slobodan Saia-Levi (b. Parma, Italy, January 28, 1944; d. Toronto, Ontario, February 3, 1994) became Jorge Zontal. In direct opposition to the popular myth of the artist as a solitary genius, General Idea purposely obliterated their individual identities, starting around 1972, and worked under a corporate name reminiscent of General Motors. General Idea focused their creative energy on understanding how the artist, the creative process, the museum, the media, and the audience interact to form culture. To explore these phenomena, General Idea created a fictional narrative: Miss General Idea and The 1984 Miss General Idea Pavillion (sic). From 1970 to 1978, General Idea created performances and installations centred on the construct of the beauty pageant as a simulacrum and critique of the art world. As the moment for the ultimate 1984 Miss General Idea Pageant approached, General Idea destroyed their fictional pavilion and became "archaeologists" (1979-1987), searching the ruins for "artifacts." Their work now focused on the object, and performance vanished. By 1987 General Idea shifted focus to the AIDS pandemic. Appropriating Robert Indiana's iconic LOVE painting of 1967, General Idea created the AIDS logo and began a publicity campaign for the disease. Over the next seven years (1987-1994) they mounted over 50 temporary public art installations, projects, and gallery exhibitions internationally. Related work followed, including the installation One Year of AZT and One Day of AZT, and Fin de siècle.

General Idea were also active in promoting and disseminating work by other artists. They published 26 issues of FILE Megazine (1972-1989), which centred on artists' projects. In 1974 they founded Toronto's Art Metropole as a publishing and distribution centre for artists. As a result of these activities, they assembled a large collection of artists' books, multiples, video and audio works, mail art, exhibition catalogues and other publications, printed ephemera, and archival material, which became known as the Art Metropole Collection. This collection was donated to the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives in 1999 by Jay A. Smith of Toronto.

Over the course of their career, General Idea were honoured with many awards, among them the Lifetime Achievement Award, City of Toronto (1993); the Jean A. Chalmers Award for Visual Arts, Toronto (1994); and the Bell Canada Award for Video Art, Bell Canada and the Canada Council, Ottawa (2002). AA Bronson now works as a solo artist and continues to exhibit internationally.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The fonds contains primarily General Idea's professional and working materials of their many projects and works. The series consists of textual records, including scripts for performances and video works, as well as correspondence; graphic material; audio and video tapes and film reels, and reels by other artists, mostly of General Idea performances; video and audio tapes of General Idea interviews; drawings and production material for works; sculptural maquettes; source material; rubber stamps used for works; photographs, negatives, colour transparencies, and slides; working material and documentation for projects; notebooks and scrapbooks; original paste-up sheets and other production material for all the issues of FILE Megazine; art works by other artists submitted to FILE; objects such as props used for performances or photo works; some re-fabricated works for exhibition purposes; and prototypes for multiples.

Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of fonds.
Immediate source of acquisition: Records are on loan to the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives, courtesy of AA Bronson.
Terms governing use and reproduction: Permission to reproduce or publish material from the General Idea fonds must be obtained from the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.
Finding aids: Series and file level descriptions available.

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Organization of the Collection

This collection is organized into 28 series.
Series 1 - Projects, 1968-1995.
Series 2 - Invitations and Gallery Press Releases, 1969-2002.
Series 3 - Audio, Film, and Video Works, 1969-2000.
Series 4 - Drawings and Production Materials, [ca. 1968-1969]-1994.
Series 5 - Photographs: Miscellaneous, 1964-1996.
Series 6 - Photo Postcards, [ca. 1971]-1981.
Series 7 - Polaroid Photographs, [ca. 1975-1982].
Series 8 - Exhibition Copies, 1969-1997.
Series 9 - Performance Props, 1969-1994.
Series 10 - File Megazine, 1971-1989.
Series 11 - Prototypes, 1975-1994.
Series 12 - Rubber Stamps, [ca. 1969-1993].
Series 13 - Photographs: Exhibitions Documentation, 1973-2001.
Series 14 - Photographs: Miscellaneous Travel, [ca. 1971]-1993.
Series 15 - Colour 35 mm Slides, 1972-1992.
Series 16 - Negatives, [ca. 1964-1969]-1994.
Series 17 - Manuscripts, 1969-1993.
Series 18 - Notebooks, 1960-1994.
Series 19 - Scrapbooks, 1957-1988.
Series 20 - Correspondence (Business), 1969-1996.
Series 21 - Correspondence (Personal), 1970-1996.
Series 22 - Bibliographic Reference Publications, 1977-2000.
Series 23 - Press Clippings, 1970-2001.
Series 24 - Jorge Zontal's Photographic Portraits, [ca. 1977]-1988.
Series 25 - Jorge Zontal's Drawings Series, [ca. 1970]-1993.
Series 26 - Personal Papers (Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal), 1965-1994.
Series 27 - Pre-General Idea Series (Ron Gabe and Jorge Saia), 1962-1994.
Series 28 - Pre-General Negatives Series (Jorge Saia), [ca. 1964-1969].

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Use

At the request of the donor, access to records contained in the General Idea fonds is subject to the Federal Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

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Index Terms

Names:
Bronson, A.A., 1946-
Partz, Felix, 1945-1994
Zontal, Jorge, 1944-1994
Organizations:
Art Metropole
General Idea
Document Types:
Albums.
Artists' books.
Clippings.
Collages.
Correspondence.
Mail Art.
Multiples.
Negatives.
Objects.
Photographs.
Printed ephemera.
Slides.
Sound recordings.
Technical drawings.
Transparencies.
Video recordings.

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Administrative Information

Custodial History

Records are on loan to the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives, courtesy of AA Bronson.

Preferred Citation

[Title of item], General Idea fonds, Library and Archives, National Gallery of Canada.

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Contact Information

Cyndie Campbell
Head, Archives, Documentation and Visual Resources
Library and Archives
National Gallery of Canada
380 Sussex Drive
P.O. Box 427, Station A
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 9N4
 
T 613-990-0597
F 613-990-9818
 
ccampbel@gallery.ca 


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Series Level Descriptions

Projects. – 1968-1995. – 2,701 photographs and other material.

Series consists of working materials for various General Idea projects, realized and unrealized, and includes the following: source and inspirational images or text; textual and graphic records; photographic working prints; some drawings, sketches, and production materials; notes and correspondence; performance photographic documentation, mostly by General Idea; and other materials. These working materials were retained by General Idea in project files to be used as reference sources or to be consulted to at a later date. The term project was used by the artists to define a work of art in any medium, including ideas for projects to be developed later. The Projects Series begins with Felix Partz's Ziggurat Paintings Project (1968-1994) and continues through to their last book work, XXX Voto: for the Spirit of Miss General Idea, published in 1995. Some of the very early projects (from 1969 to ca. 1972) are clearly identified as works authored by each individual artist, but from 1972 on, the art works produced were identified as being by General Idea, the personal identity of the artist remaining submerged.
The files for some of the projects contain only photographic records: AA Bronson's Mirror Sequences (1969-1970) and Evidence of Body Binding (1971); Felix Partz's Photo-Booth Hands (ca. 1969-1970) and Canvas Weaving (1970), both early "actions"; and Jorge's Island Bottle Project (1969). Other projects, such as Bronson's early chain letter or early mail art projects (1969), or later General Idea mail art projects, such as The Great Canadian Split Project (1972), contain the actual mail art works produced at the time. Some files, such as those for Zontal's Corset (a.k.a. Jorge's Girdle Project) (1970), include source images for the work. The series contains valuable documentation on General Idea's early performance collaborations with Toronto's Theatre Passe Muraille, An Evening with the Maids and Laundromat Special # 1 (1969). The files contain documentation for General Idea performances/events, such as What Happened and The 1970 Miss General Idea Pageant (1970) and the Line Project (1970). Extensive photographic records can be found for Blocking (1974), Going thru the Motions (1975), and Hot Property and Towards an Audience Vocabulary (1978). The documentation for various participatory projects, such as The 1971 Miss General Idea Pageant, Manipulating the Self (Phase 1 - A Borderline Case) (1970-1971) and Orgasm Energy Chart (1970-1972), includes the respondents' original submissions. Files of General Idea's responses to other artists' requests, for example, Jorge's Underwear Project for Image Bank Favorite Underwear Project (1970), are included. The series contains a few objects, for example, the 1950s Dinky Toy of a futuristic car, which was the inspiration for The 1984 Spirit of Miss General Idea Vehicle (1973), and a mold of a skull used for the plaster Pavillion [sic] Poodle Fragment Series (ca. 1981-1984). A small amount of material on General Idea's project of the archive and artist-run centre Art Metropole is also included. The series contains working materials for many photo-based works, such as The Audience Experiences Positive and Negative Reactions Visualizing the Spirit of Miss General Idea (1978-1979), as well as documentation for General Idea's video works, including video production stills for Test Tube (1979) and layouts of the textual material that were part of The Sequel: Shut the Fuck Up (1992). The artists designed several record album covers for the rock band Rough Trade (1980-1983); this material is also found here, as are some manufacturer's samples, for example, a custom-shaped and printed balloon for the installation Pla©ebo (Helium) (1992). Extensive files on General Idea's numerous self-portraits are also included, beginning with their first, Self-portrait (Velvet Underground) (1969), through to their last, Fin de siècle (1990).
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Physical description: Other material includes: 627 items of graphic materials, 479 items of textual records, 195 drawings, 77 collages, 25 objects, 6 albums, 5 audio discs, 3 prints, and 1 sculpture.
Arrangement: Series is organized alphabetically within chronological order.
Related material: Negatives for the photographs in this series are found in the Project Negatives file or in other files, as noted, all in the Negatives Series.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Invitations and Gallery Press Releases. – 1969-2002. – 368 items of textual records.

Series consists of exhibition invitations, notices, flyers, gallery newsletters for solo and group exhibitions in which General Idea participated and for exhibitions from 1994 to 2001 that featured their work. In addition, the series includes invitations for performances, lectures, and video screenings in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Japan. Nearly all the items, except for the group exhibition invitations and gallery newsletters, were designed by General Idea. Also included are various announcements and invitations to other events organized by General Idea: concerts, such as Entertaining the Troops and Phil Harmonic Event; parties, such as Mimi Paige at Home, High Profile, and AA Bronson's fiftieth birthday party, celebrated as Hawaii Five-0; travels, such as Antic Across the Atlantic, A European Dance Engagement. No Mean Feet, Club Canasta, and A Bon Voyage Limbo Party. Included in the series are the invitations to various award ceremonies at which General Idea received an award, including the 2002 Bell Canada Award in Video Art. A few General Idea business cards, death announcements, and the invitations to the memorial services for Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal are included. General Idea was conscious of the importance of keeping copies, but the contents of the series do not reflect their entire exhibition history, with many having been lost over the years.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Arrangement: Series is organized chronologically.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Audio, Film and Video Works. – 1969-2000. – 82 video cassettes and other material.

Series consists of raw film and video footage; unedited audio recordings; master and sub-master video and audio tapes; compilation tapes of various General Idea video works; dubs; exhibition compilation tapes; and video documentation of General Idea exhibitions, interviews, parties, and the like. With the exception of Exposé - A Video Device, all their video works (a total of 19) are represented in the series. Unedited material can be found for the following performances: Blocking (1974); Going thru the Motions (1975); Fleshed Out, Hot Property! and Press Conference (1977); and Towards an Audience Vocabulary (1978). Raw footage, masters, and dubs for video works are included for the following: Double Mirror Video (1971), Light On (1972), Interview with Foreman Lamanna (1976), Pilot (1977), Test Tube (1979), Loco and Cornucopia (1982), Shut the Fuck Up (1985), The Sequel: Shut the Fuck Up (1992), and AIDS (animation) (1994). Film reels are included for God is my Gigolo (1969), General Idea's only film, which was never completed. There are also copies of the video work Fire Mirror Video, a collaboration between General Idea and Image Bank (1971). The only record of the uncompleted project Luxon Video (1974) is in the series. Raw film footage is included for a collaboration between Jorge Zontal and Christine Koenig, a project never completed. The series contains audio recordings for the following: Club Canasta , a telephone canasta party held at Toronto's CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) studios (1972); the installation Conversation Piece (1980); and the audio component for Reconstructing Futures, edited from an earlier audio tape known as the Piss Tape for Barbara Rrose . A copy of the Radio by Artists project of 1979 and several home movies of parties, including General Idea's tenth anniversary party (High Profile), are part of the series, as are various compilation tapes of selected General Idea video works. The documentary material on General Idea includes video footage of the following: two Toronto Arts Awards ceremonies; their AIDS Project on the Color Spectacolor Board, Times Square, New York; the Fin de siècle exhibition; television interviews; and a video work by the American artist Michael Smith on Jorge Zontal for screening at Zontal's memorial service in 1994. Also included are an audio tape of an interview with Genesis P-Orridge that was intended for FILE Megazine, but was never used, and a few video tapes of various trips. The series contains a video work made by Felix Partz, A Purse Snatching (1969), and 25 film reels (16 mm) taken by Jorge Saia during his student days.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Physical description: Other material includes: 69 film reels, 25 video reels, 18 audio reels, 14 audio cassettes, and 2 audio compact discs.
Arrangement: Series is organized in 7 groups: Raw Footage, Masters, Dubs, Exhibition Compilation Tapes (dubs), Documentation on General Idea, Miscellaneous Travel Video Tapes, and Jorge Saia's Pre-General Idea Films. For each group, items are organized in alphabetical within chronological order. Each item is assigned a tracking number.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Drawings and Production Materials. – [ca. 1968-1969]-1994. – 880 drawings and other material.

Series consists of working drawings, studies, collages, paintings, and paint sketches, mostly all of various works in General Idea's oeuvre, although some relate to ideas for projects never completed. Included in the series are Felix Partz's early ziggurat drawings and his later drawings (up to 1994). The series consists of drawings of The Miss General Idea Pavillion, (sic) including the Dr. Brute Colonnade and rooms such as the Colour Bar Lounge, the Kroma Key Klub, and other elements of the (sic). Numerous drawings can be found for various series of paintings by General Idea, including those in the 1979 Consenting Adults exhibition Mondo Cane Kama Sutra (1983-1988), as well as the Proposed Seating Arrangement (Form Follows Fiction) for the Pageant in 1975 and the ground plan for the pavilion itself in 1977. The series contains numerous studies of the ziggurat motif (up to 1994) and applications of it as paintings, a folding screen, upholstery, carpeting, a maze, frames for a series of paintings, and others. Numerous drawings for various painting series are also in the file, including: Baby Paintings Series (ca. 1984), The Armoury of the 1984 Miss General Idea Pavillion (sic) (1985-1990), ©opyright Paintings Series (1987), Melting Snow Crystal Virus Series (1992), and Coeurs volants (1993-1994). Studies for three-dimensional works, such as Nightschool (Blackboard), are included, as are study drawings for installations such as for Red (Cadmium) Pla©ebo (1991) and various Pla©ebo Pills (1990-1993). The series contains a few construction drawings, including those for the ¥en Boutique (1991), as well as drawings for multiples such as Lucre (1989-1990), the ¥en Cocktail Holder (1989), and others, realized or unrealized. Several groups of drawings contain items that were published in FILE Megazine, and some original drawings were used in the video work Cornucopia (1982). The graphic and productions materials include found imagery, paste-up production sheets, photocopies, transparencies, photographs, printer's negatives, and airbrushed photographs. Production materials are included for such prints as Borderline Case: Five - The Great Divide and Borderline Case: Nine - Consummation (1972); Manipulating the Self (Phase 1 - A Borderline Case) (1970-1971); Lux-On (1974); Phoenix with a P (1986); Infe©ted Pharmacie (1994); and for the suite of colour Cibachome photographs entitled Maracaibo (1991). Various production stages, including airbrushed photographs, are documented for General Idea's self-portraits, such as General Idea Self-Portrait with Objects (1981), Nightschool (1989), Playing Doctor (1992), and Fin de siècle (1994). The series contains photographic and production materials of publications, including Manipulating the Self (1971), Luxon V.B.: The 1984 Miss General Idea Pavillion [sic] No. 101 (1973), and Reconstructing Futures (1977), as well as exhibition catalogues, such as Test Pattern: TV Dinner Plates from the Miss General Idea Pavillion (sic) (1988). The series contains drawings and production materials relating to General Idea's AIDS Project, including the logo, posters, and story boards for the Spectacolor Board, Times Square, New York. Several production items for invitation cards and posters, including those for Going thru the Motions and Going thru the Notions (1975), are also included. General Idea's participation in public art competition projects and commissions is represented by drawings, production materials, and three-dimensional models. The material reflects only 10 public art projects; the material for the others cannot be located or was never finally prepared.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Physical description: Other material includes the following: 449 items of graphic materials, 149 photographs, 23 collages, 10 paintings, 9 items of textual records, 3 models, and 2 objects.
Arrangement: Drawings and Production Materials Series are organized in 2 groups: (a) Drawings and Production Materials Relating to General Idea's Oeuvre; and (b) Drawings and Production Materials relating to General Idea's Proposals for Public Art Competitions and Other Commissions. Each group is arranged in alphabetical within chronological order. A brief description of the project is provided where applicable and is cross-referenced to related files in the Projects Series.
Finding aids: Box list available.

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Photographs: Miscellaneous. – 1964-1996. – 652 photographs and other material.

Series consists of photographs of General Idea's various studios and apartments (interior shots) and pictures of friends visiting at 78 Gerrard Street West, Toronto (1969-1970); 87 Yonge Street, Toronto (1970-1973); two Christmas parties, unknown location; 241 Yonge Street, Toronto (1973-1977); 136 Simcoe Street, Toronto (1977-1993); 120 West 12th Street, New York (1987-1993); and The Colonnade Penthouse, 131 Bloor Street West, Toronto (1993-1996), their last residence together. The series contains photographs of AA Bronson, Felix Partz, and Jorge Zontal, some taken by the artists themselves. Also included are a small group of photographs of the artists taken by others and snap-shots of various awards ceremonies in which they participated. The series includes a set of black-and-white contact sheets, printed in 1997, from the negatives in Jorge's Stereo Book (ca. 1964-1969 to1970) (see Negatives Series), which contain valuable documentation of some of General Idea's projects of 1969-1970. Included are miscellaneous photographs of the following early collaborators: Danny Freedman, Mimi Paige, Granada Gazelle, Honey Novick, Michael Morris, Pascal, Margaret Coleman, and Sandy Stagg. The series also contains a few photographic studies, such as Paul Lamp, Radz of A Space, and Heaven. Some photographs document performances, such as Yvonne Rainer at the Vancouver Art Gallery (1973), Dr. and Lady Brute and others at the Western Front (ca. 1974), David Buchan and his Monte del Monte's Bedroom performance (1980), and gay rallies or Gay Pride parades. The series contains photographs of prominent national and international individuals in the arts, including film, fashion, and music, who were part of General Idea's circle in the 1970s-1980s. Included are photo shoots of such artists as Clive Robertson (as Joseph Beuys), Rob Flack, Chrysanne Stathacos, and Andy Paterson. Also in the series are snapshots of the New York art world. The series contains photographs of costumed individuals at Hawaii Five-0, the themed fund-raising event for Art Metropole that celebrated AA Bronson's 50th birthday in 1996. Included are drawings, collages, unidentified photographs, and an item of textual record that complete this series.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Physical description: Other material includes: 1 drawing, 3 collages, and 1 item of textual records.
Arrangement: Photographs: Miscellaneous Series is organized in 4 groups, each group in chronological order: General Idea Studios and Apartments; Photographs of General Idea; Contact Sheets Relating to Jorge's Stereo Book of Negatives; and Photographs of Various Individuals and Other Images.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.
General note: Dating of this series is somewhat conjectural, as many of these photographs are unrelated to any specific General Idea project.

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Photo Postcards. – [ca. 1971]-1981. – 188 photographs: photo postcards, b&w; 8.8 x 13.7 cm.

Series consists of black-and-white photo postcards designed and printed on photographic paper by General Idea, most reproducing the following: their own photographic works (with a few exceptions) and performances, for example, Blocking ; projects, for example, Light On and V.B. Gowns ; photo shoots, for example, Find Granada in the Palm Trees or The Mr. Peanut Granada Gazelle Romance ; other iconic images from their oeuvre, for example, various General Idea self-portraits; and images of friends or acquaintances. The artists kept the photo postcards as a separate body of work that they disseminated in the 1970s through the mail art network, or used for correspondence or gifts.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Arrangement: Series is organized alphabetically by subject matter.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.
General note: Dating of this series is difficult, as the items were published randomly over several years. The first date given for each entry is the actual or probable (ca.) date when the photograph was taken, followed by a second date, an estimate of when the image may have been printed as a photo postcard.

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Polaroid Photographs. – [ca. 1975-1982]. – 19.15 210 photographs: 209 col. (Polaroid) and 1 b&w (Polaroid); 10.8 x 8.8 cm or smaller.

Series consists of colour Polaroid photographs by General Idea of photo shoots, still lifes, and portraits of individuals. The still lifes, in particular, were studies for colour, not used in their work until the Polaroid installation Sex and Responsibility (1977). General Idea kept the Polaroid photographs as a separate body of work.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Arrangement: Series is organized alphabetically by subject matter.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Exhibition Copies. – ca. 1969-1997. – 24 photographs and 9 objects.

Series consists of re-creations of lost or destroyed original works of art by Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal, and General Idea. The series is to be used only for exhibitions. In two instances, photographic works by Jorge and Felix for the Waste Age (1969) exhibition were reprinted using the original negatives. A huge purse from Felix's 1969 performance piece, A Purse Snatching (1969), was re-created based on available documentation, as were the canvas for the Canvas Weaving project and the rope from Line Project, both from 1970. The copies were produced for the exhibition entitled The Search for the Spirit: General Idea 1968-1975 was held at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, from October 8, 1997 to January 11, 1998.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Arrangement: Series arranged chronologically by date of the original work.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Performance Props. – ca. 1969-1994. – 34 items.

Series consists of various props used in General Idea's performances, video tapes, photo shoots for FILE Megazine, and photographic artworks. The earliest is one of John Neon's Bellies, which was part of the installation The Belly Store, a collaboration with John Neon for an "environment" at 78 Gerrard Street West, Toronto. Also included is The 1971 General Idea Tour de Force binder, a snakeskin-covered three-ring binder that once contained documentation for General Idea projects from 1969 to 1971. Among the collection of props are The Miss General Idea Trophy, which was to be awarded to the eventual Miss General Idea 1984 at the 1985 Miss General Idea Pageant in the 1984 Miss General Idea Pavillion (sic) (never realized); The Miss General Idea Wig; The Miss General Idea Shoe; the poodle hats worn in the video tape Loco and in their self-portrait P is for Poodle, as well as those worn in Shut the Fuck Up; three medical stethoscopes, worn for General Idea's self-portrait, Playing Doctor (Self-portrait); and Jorge's El Greco Costume, worn at his last birthday party in 1994.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Arrangement: Series is organized in alphabetically within chronological order.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.
General note: The 1971 General Idea Tour de Force binder was used by AA Bronson when he toured Canada in an attempt to secure venues for General Idea lectures, workshops, and exhibitions; he was unsuccessful. The binder was later disassembled, but the remaining pages are important documentation for General Idea projects up to that time. The original contents of the binder were removed by General Idea and have been integrated into the respective file in the Projects Series.

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FILE Megazine. – 1902, 1971-1989. – 2,352 items of graphic material and other material.

Series consists of various materials for the production of General Idea's FILE Megazine publication project of 1972-1989. The purpose of FILE was "to organize, design and publish a magazine by artists for artists with a specific intent of providing an internal voice within the art community and a means of communicating and integrating developments within the art community. All but three issues were edited by General Idea. The early issues (1972-1974) focused on the mail art network of the day and included "Reader's Response Pages" and various participatory projects. FILE became an organ for General Idea's quasi-manifestos, often published as editorials, such as "Borderline Cases," "Pablum for the Pablum Eaters," "Glamour," and others. By 1976, artists were actively involved in submitting artists' projects specifically for FILE. The "bzzz bzzz bzzz" section, gossip about the international art world, appeared from 1976 to 1982. The first group of materials in this series consists of source images, drawings, collages, photographs, and texts used for each issue. The material for the early issues is particularly rich in original works, such as collages and drawings by members of the mail art network, invitation cards, and other ephemera; later issues relied more on photocopies and other second-generation graphic material. Examples of early mailers can be found in the series, such as "Please Rush a Photograph of the Inside of Your Refrigerator for Our Survival." The responses received were published in the first "Mr. Peanut Issue." Included are examples of ephemera, such as the initial FILE letterhead, inspirational materials culled from magazines from the 1920s to the 1950s, early news releases, layouts of subscription forms (the first three issues were free), and other items. The series contains miscellaneous correspondence, particularly from other artists. Included are photographs by General Idea that were intended for FILE but were never published, along with photographs submitted by other artists, also unpublished. A section on artists' projects submitted but unpublished is also included. Records of grant applications, advertising, distribution, and subscription records, and FILE Megazine business activities are also found here. There are a few photographs of launch parties as well. The series contains a vast amount of production material for FILE Megazine, including General Idea's original paste-up sheets, printer's negatives, plate maker sheets, colour separations, and printer's proofs.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Physical description: Other material includes: 1,304 photographs, ca. 31 cm of textual records, 85 drawings, 29 collages, 9 photo postcards, 2 prints, and 1 painting.
Arrangement: FILE Megazine Series is organized in 9 groups: The Magazines; Early Mailers; Miscellaneous Ephemera; Miscellaneous Correspondence; Miscellaneous Photographs Intended for FILE, but Never Published, and Unpublished Submitted Photographs; Artists' Projects Submitted but Unpublished; FILE Megazine Business, Grants, Advertising, and Distribution and Subscription Records; FILE Megazine Parties; and FILE Megazine Production Materials.
Related material: General Idea's correspondence with other artists can also be found in the Art Metropole fonds, National Gallery of Canada Archives.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Prototypes. – 1975-1994. – 57 items.

Series consists of working prototypes. These objects were created as ideas for multiples. Most were never realized as completed editions, except for the following: Untitled (for Joseph Beuys), from 1993-1994; Jockey Short Shopping Bag, published in 1998; and a prototype for a "butt plug" multiple published in 2001 and entitled Dick All. The series also contains the moulds used in casting the sterling silver AIDS Ring edition, published in 1994.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Arrangement: Series organized chronologically.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Rubber Stamps. – [ca. 1969-1993]. – 64 objects: rubber, wood, metal, ink.

Series consists of rubber stamps and a few metal dies for making them. Most were designed by General Idea and were considered to be works within their oeuvre. General Idea probably produced over one hundred of them, although fewer than that remain today. The rubber stamps had various uses, for example, for works of art, such as a set of five of them, each referring to one of the five departments in the Showcard Series, and for multiples, such as Gesundheit (Why Not Sneeze Lucio Fontana?). Some rubber stamps are related to various projects: "General Idea Another Body-Binding Project" for Evidence of Body Binding; "O.D. Flated Egg-Oh" for Humpty Dumpty, For Example; "Gold Diggers of '84" for a project of the same name; "Gertrude Stein" for What Happened and The 1970 Miss General Idea Pageant; and "Split" for various mail art "split" projects of the early 1970s. There are also rubber stamps used by General Idea for various names they and their associates assumed: "Private Partz (G.I.)," "We're Only Following Orders," "Myth Honey," "Plastic Jack, Art Inc.," and "Sincerely Yours Granada Gazelle." Some were used mostly for correspondence, particularly during the mail art period, with the addition of slogans, for example, "Banal Retentive," "Mail-Lib," "Sweeping Generality," and "We Are All Artists." There are also a few rubber stamps relating to FILE Megazine, such as "As Advertised in File," and "Thankyou for your contribution to The 1984 Miss General Idea Pavilion."
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Arrangement: Series organized as follows: those with text are organized in alphabetical order, followed by those with images only, followed by the rubber stamp metal dies.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.
General note: The fonds contains files relating to the use of some of these rubber stamps. The following can be found in the Project series: Showcard Series; Art Metropole; Borderline Cases; Evidence of Body Binding; What Happened and The 1970 Miss General Idea Pageant; The 1971 Miss General Idea Pageant; Gold Diggers of '84; Luxon V.B.; Humpty Dumpty, For Example; Entertaining the Troops; Phil Harmonic Event; The Great Canadian Split Project; "A Foot in the Door of the Future" - 1984 Pavillion [sic] Proposals; Find Granada in the Palm Trees; Hand of the Spirit; Ziggurat Paintings Project; and Pla©ebo Pills Project. General Idea Studio: The Colonnade Penthouse, Toronto is in the Photographs: Miscellaneous Series, and Green (Permanent) Pla©ebo, Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne, Germany and General Idea's ¥en Boutique, Galerie Esther Schipper, Cologne, Germany are in the Photographs: Exhibitions Documentation Series. The fonds also contains the FILE Megazine Series.

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Photographs: Exhibitions Documentation. – ca. 1973-2001. – 632 photographs and 10 items of graphic material.

Series consists of black-and-white contact sheets, colour and black-and-white photographs documenting General Idea solo and group exhibitions in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Japan. Included are photographs of receptions associated with some of these events, such as Documenta, the Sydney Biennale, and the Venice Biennale. Also part of the series are installation views of the FILE Megazine sales booths at the Basel and Bologna art fairs, along with display material created by David Buchan for Art Metropole's sales stand at a Basel Art Fair. The series contains installation photographs of Dialogues of Peace, held at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva (1995), which included General Idea's AIDS Sculpture and installation photographs of Shopping; the last-mentioned exhibition was held at the Generali Foundation in Vienna (2001) and included the General Idea multiple Jockey Short Shopping Bag. Several informal snap shots are also part of the series. The series contains a banner produced by the Art Gallery of Ontario for the exhibition entitled General Idea 1968-1984.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Arrangement: Series arranged in alphabetical (by exhibition title) within chronological order.
Related material: Other photographs of exhibition documentation are found in the Colour 35 mm Slides Series.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Photographs: Miscellaneous Travel. – [ca. 1971]-1993.. – 314 photographs and 1 collage.

Series consists of black-and-white and colour photographs, a colour contact sheet, and colour Polaroid photographs taken by General Idea during their travels. Places visited include Venezuela, India, Italy, England, Puerto Rico, and cities in the United States. A collage of two photographs is included.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Arrangement: Series organized alphabetically within chronological order.
Related records: Other travel photographs are found in the Colour 35 mm Slide Series.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Colour 35 mm Slides. – 1972-1992. – 2,086 photographs: col. slides; 35 mm.

Series consists of colour slides, almost all of which were taken by General Idea. Included are images of General Idea and friends opening and showing off their exotic presents on Christmas morning 1972, as well as slides taken on trips to Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Australia, India, Japan, Europe, Canada, and the United States (1973-1992). The series sometimes includes installation views of General Idea's various exhibitions; a few slides are of other artists' work. The series includes slides of friends, members of the art world, parades, and other events. Various images of General Idea's studios and apartments in Toronto and New York are part of the series. In addition, some slides relate to projects specifically for FILE Megazine (1972-1989): some are by General Idea, but most are of works submitted by other artists. Only two sets of slides include working materials for General Idea projects: Poodle Photo Portrait Series and Maracaibo.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Arrangement: Guest books are arranged chronologically.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Negatives. – [ca. 1964-1969]-1994. – 25,775 photographs.

Series consists of negatives and colour transparencies in various formats, inter-negatives, and a few printer's negatives. They are organized in four bound books of negatives and six additional categories. The series consist of Jorge's Green Book, which holds 1,167 negatives taken by Jorge Zontal during his student days at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia (ca. 1964-1969). Included are negatives of friends, student study locations in Halifax, landscapes and streetscapes, scenes of New York, museum or gallery exhibition installations, as well as family in Caracas and other locations in Venezuela and elsewhere. Also included are a few photographs taken during his time at The Intermedia Society in Vancouver, where he studied in the summer of 1968. By the summer of 1969 Zontal had arrived in Toronto; included in the series are negatives of AA Bronson and early collaborators, for example, Mary Gardner and Ron Terrill, Susan Harrison and Rodney Werden (who were friends), views of Toronto streetscapes, interiors of subway cars, and the Toronto Island ferry, among others. Documentation of two early General Idea performances at Theatre Passe Muraille, An Evening with the Maids and Laundromat Special # 1, can be found here.
The second book, referred to as Jorge's Stereo Book, consists of 1,128 negatives taken by Jorge Zontal (ca. 1964-1969 and 1970). Some of the negatives were taken during his student days at Dalhousie University and a few during a visit to Montreal, but most are of various sites taken in Toronto in 1969, when Zontal first arrived there. None have been filed in chronological order. Included are some early negatives of General Idea's first studio, their early window displays, as well as several photographs of Mimi Paige, the first Miss General Idea.
The third book is referred to as Jorge's Green Binder, consisting of 2,380 negatives dating from ca. 1969 to1972. A few of these were taken by Zontal on trips, but most are of General Idea projects or related work. Included in this binder is documentation of early works, such as the "dirty old man strip routine" scene in God is My Gigolo (1969); documentation of various "actions," such as Jorge's Island Bottle Project (1969); What Happened and The 1970 Miss General Idea Pageant (1970); Felix's Canvas Weaving project (1970); Line Project (1970); installation views of Exposé - A Video Device at A Space, Toronto; Light On (1971); The 1971 Miss General Idea Pageant (1971); documentation of the performance piece published as Fumeti (1970); the photo shoot of AA Bronson bound in elastic, which was eventually used for the light-box installation Evidence of Body Binding (1971); and numerous negatives of General Idea's studio at 87 Yonge Street, Toronto. Also included are a few early photographs used for the first issue of FILE Megazine.
The fourth book, referred to as Jorge's Red Binder, consists of 1,506 negatives, not filed in any particular order, taken from 1970 to 1981. The series consists of negatives of various projects, including Jorge avec Girdle-Evidence of Body Binding and Jorge sans Girdle-Evidence of Body Binding (1970); Antic Across the Atlantic. A European Dance Engagement. No Mean Feet (1972); The 1971 Miss General Idea Pageant (1971); FILE Megazine; The 1984 Spirit of Miss General Idea Vehicle (1973); rare documentation of images from the closed circuit Luxon Video (1973-1974); the Miss General Idea Cut-outs (ca. 1974-1976); Dr. Brute Colonnade (Dominant Imagery); and various found imagery for the Showcard Series (1975-1979), S/HE (1976-1977), and The Miss General Idea Shoe (ca. 1973). Also included are negatives of the following: Art Metropole's publications and advertisements, lectures, various visits across Canada and abroad during the 1970s, Manhattan in 1975-1976, and various individuals.
The fifth group in this series, Project Negatives, consists of 7,520 negatives that relate to General Idea projects, realized or unrealized, and range in date from General Idea's first and only film, God is My Gigolo (1969), to their Playing Doctor (Self-portrait) (1992). These negatives relate specifically to projects; most are actual working materials for self-portraits, installations, and other works of art. Also included are negatives of inspirational images and photographic studies.
The sixth group in this series, Photographs: Miscellaneous Negatives, consists of 1,786 negatives dating from 1969 to 1994. This group of photographs by General Idea is divided into three sections: General Idea's various studios and apartments in Toronto and New York; miscellaneous photographs (non-portrait works); photographs of various individuals; a few portrait photo shoots, mostly of artists; and miscellaneous photographs. The seventh group, FILE Megazine Negatives, consists of 2,760 negatives dating from 1972 to 1987. Included are negatives and colour transparencies of images, some used and some not, for various issues of the magazine, documentation of parties, projects submitted by artists, and source material for the gossip section "bzzz bzzz bzzz." The eighth group, Photographs: Exhibition Documentation Negatives, consists of 1,621 negatives and covers the period 1973-1995. These negatives document various General Idea exhibitions, including receptions held at the openings. Also included are installation views of the sales booth of FILE Megazine at the Basel and Bologna art fairs in the 1970s.
The ninth group, Photographs: Miscellaneous Travel Negatives, consists of 775 negatives and covers the years ca. 1971-1973. It includes negatives of various personal travels by members of General Idea. The last group in the series, Photographic Portrait Negatives, consists of 5,066 negatives and dates from ca. 1977 to 1983. These include portrait photo shoots by Jorge Zontal that are not part of his General Idea activities.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Physical description: Photographs include: 16,655 b&w negatives (35 mm); 3,812 b&w negatives (35 mm half-frame); 2,760 b&w negatives (5.5 x 5.5 cm); 1,665 col. negatives (35 mm); 796 col. transparencies (5.5 x 5.5 cm or larger); 46 b&w inter-negatives; 20 col. inter-negatives; 9 col. negatives (5.5 x 5.5 cm); 7 col. negatives (35 mm half-frame); and 5 b&w printer's negatives.
Arrangement: Series is organized as follows: Jorge's Green Book; Jorge's Stereo Book; Jorge's Green Binder; Jorge's Red Binder; Project Negatives; Photographs: Miscellaneous Negatives; FILE Megazine Negatives; Photographs: Exhibitions Documentation Negatives; Photographs: Miscellaneous Travel Negatives; and Photographic Portrait Negatives. These files are in chronological order, except for the Photographic Portrait Negatives, which are in alphabetical order by portrait subject.
Related material: Related series include: Project Series, Photographs: Miscellaneous Series; FILE Megazine Series; Colour 35 mm Slides Series; Photographs: Exhibitions Documentation Series; Photographs: Miscellaneous Travel Series; and Jorge's Photographic Portrait Series.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Manuscripts. – 1969-1993. – 47 cm of textual records.

Series consists of manuscripts for performances; videotapes; artworks and projects; General Idea's own publications or catalogues; some editorials and articles for issues of FILE Megazine; and other unpublished texts. There is also a text that was used as a prop for one of their earliest performances, Match My Strike. Some manuscripts are in draft form, others are of scripts for videotapes that sometimes contain story boards or drawings. Some files that contain scripts, such as Pilot (1977) and Test Tube (1979), also contain transcripts in Italian and French that were shown at the Venice Biennale in 1980. There is also the text for General Idea's An Anatomy of Censorship, the only record that remains for that work. In addition, an interview transcript and draft articles by contributors published in the Fin de siècle exhibition catalogue (1992) are included. Typesetting proofs for the publication General Idea: Multiples: Catalogue Raisonné Multiples and Prints 1967-1993 (1993) are in the series.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Arrangement: Series is organized in alphabetical within chronological order and includes two groups: Manuscripts for Performances and Video Tapes, and Manuscripts for Publications and Artworks.
Related material: Scripts for a few other General Idea projects, such as God is My Gigolo and The 1971 Miss General Idea Pageant, can be found in the Project Series.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Notebooks Series. – 1960-1994. – 94.5 cm of textual records.

Series consists of notes, journals, and appointment calendars that contain both personal and professional information compiled by the three members of General Idea, as well as the notebooks of Barr Gilmore, General Idea's studio assistant from 1990 to1996. AA Bronson's records range from 1970 to1994 and consist of two file folders and 25 bound notebooks. The notebooks contain writings and sketches for projects, artworks, performances, videotapes, events, exhibitions, Art Metropole, and FILE Megazine. Felix Partz's files range from 1967 to1994 and contain five pre-General Idea notebooks (1967-1968) from his time as a student at the University of Manitoba, which include notes and drawings for his Ziggurat Paintings Project. His other records consist of one file folder with notes on index cards for projects and 26 bound notebooks and appointment calendars that contain notes, writings, and drawings for projects, artworks, videotapes, multiples, performances, lectures, slide shows, records of sales, FILE Megazine, and newspaper clippings. Felix's Autograph Book from Art's Birthday, the Hollywood Decca Dance, from 1974, is also in the series.
Jorge Zontal's records are less complete, but they span a longer period, from 1960 to 1994. The earliest file (1960-1969) contains notes, writings, and drawings from his early student days. Other items include six file folders containing loose sheets, drawings, ideas for projects, photographic pieces, scripts, and notes for grant applications. The series includes seven bound books that contain drawings rather than written entries, as Zontal was a compulsive drawer; all the book or file covers are altered in some way. Zontal's last address book (mid 1980s-1994) is also in the series. Also included are Barr Gilmore's various notebooks containing notes related to day-to-day studio activities, production, and exhibitions.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Arrangement: Series is organized into four categories: AA Bronson's Notebooks, Felix Part's Notebooks, Jorge Zontal's Notebooks, and Barr Gilmore's Notebooks.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Scrapbooks Series. – 1957-1988. – 7 albums and 2 items of textual records.

Series consists of various scrapbooks of assembled images and souvenirs. The General's Scrapbook contains various souvenirs from a European trip taken by a Captain R.E.A. Morton in 1931-1932, which became a major source of inspiration for General Idea. The material was a wellspring for the ironic portrayal of "The General" as an antagonistic commander and themselves as "the General's followers." Similarly, an autograph book of various celebrities, entitled Miss Honey's Snapshots Album and assembled by Miss Honey (Miss General Idea 1970, also known as Honey Novick) during her teenage years, contains pictures of her youth and was a source of inspiration for General Idea, as was Miss Honey's Christmas Card to The General. The Antic Across the Atlantic. A European Dance Engagement. No Mean Feet scrapbook is an assemblage of souvenirs simulating The General's found scrapbook. General Idea's interest in found images from popular magazines of the 1930s-1950s is evident in their Scrapbook of Found Inspirational Imagery, featuring mirrors, double images, glamour images, and beauty queens. Two scrapbooks of found images, as well as restaurant and shopping ephemera, both assembled by Jorge on two trips to Japan, in 1987 and 1988, are also part of the series.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Arrangement: Series organized chronologically.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Correspondence Series (Business). – 1969-1996. – 2.46 m of textual records.

Series consists of correspondence relating to General Idea's business activities and includes records of shipping and storage, production of works, files on day-to-day activities of the studio, and correspondence with Canadian and international art magazines, foundations, cultural organizations, and galleries. Included is a comprehensive record of General Idea's relationship with the Carmen Lamanna Gallery, Toronto, their first dealer, whom they joined in 1972 and with whom they remained until 1991. The series contains comprehensive files on General Idea's last large exhibition Fin de siècle, which was shown at six international venues. As well, records of purchases made by the Canada Council Art Bank, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the National Gallery of Canada are included. The series contains correspondence with various international curators, for example, Germano Celant, Joshua Dector, and Jan Hoet; collectors, such as Ydessa Hendeles; and a few artists. The series also contains correspondence files relating to various public art projects, commissioned or not commissioned, including a file on General Idea's design of the television awards for the Academy of Canadian Cinema. Included in the series are various grant applications, covering the years 1971-1994, made by members of General Idea to the Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council, External Affairs Canada, and other organizations.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Arrangement: Correspondence Series (Business) is organized into the following categories: Correspondence Files (in alphabetical order), Public Art Projects (in chronological order), Grant Applications (in alphabetical order), and Correspondence Files Relating to the Fin de siècle exhibition (in chronological order by institution involved).
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Correspondence Series (Personal). – 1970-1996. – 8 cm of textual records.

Series consists of correspondence between members of General Idea; to and from friends, colleagues, and others; and from AA Bronson to his parents. General Idea kept personal correspondence that was of particular interest, notably from artists and others in the art world. Most of the letters from AA Bronson to his parents, John W. and Kitty Tims, were written on General Idea exhibition invitations, keeping them informed of his activities. They were saved by Kitty Tims, who returned them to her son in the late 1990s for inclusion in the General Idea archive. Included in the series are postcards written by members of General Idea, but never mailed to the intended recipients. The series consists of a few letters to and from Mimi Paige, as well as several to Granada Gazelle. The series also includes various letters, postcards, photo postcards, a telegram, and dinner invitations, from individuals around the world, as well as some mail art pieces and assorted collages or enclosures sent to them from artists and others in the art world.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Arrangement: Series is organized by the following categories, and within each in chronological order: correspondence from AA Bronson to Parents (John W. and Kitty Tims); Correspondence from General Idea to General Idea, to Others, to Granada Gazelle, to and from Mimi Paige, and from various individuals.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Bibliographic Reference Publications. – 1977-2000. – 237 items of textual records.

Series consists of exhibition catalogues or small brochures of group exhibitions, performances, or video screenings in which General Idea participated. Also included are several Art Metropole trade catalogues that list General Idea works available for sale. The series consists of a few catalogues that include General Idea's works, such as Art Gallery of Ontario: Selected Works and Masterpieces of Canadian Art from the National Gallery of Canada; and monographs on various institutions, such as Die Geschichte des Basler Kunstvereins und der Kunsthalle Basel 1839-1988 and Centre d'art contemporain: Genève, 1974-84, where they worked on projects or had exhibitions. The series contains a few publications by galleries that included their work: the Carmen Lamanna Gallery, Toronto, and Feature, New York. Included is From Sea to Shining Sea, curated and edited by AA Bronson, which is a catalogue of an exhibition by the same name as well as a history of artist-run centres in Canada. Other publications not related to art are included and incorporate General Idea material, such as In a Different Light: Visual Culture, Sexual Identity, Queer Practice and Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada: A Selected Annotated Chronology, 1964-1975. Lipton's: The Fall Collection 1985, a catalogue selling woman's fashions, is included in the series; all the models were photographed in the galleries of the exhibition General Idea 1968-1984, shown at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1985. Four student theses (one in German) on the work of General Idea are part of the series.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Press Clippings. – 1970-2001. – 1.17 m of textual records.

Series consists of clippings of reviews and articles on General Idea exhibitions, performances, videos, and publications taken from newspapers, art periodicals, and other periodicals. The series also includes clippings of tributes to Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal written after their death.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Arrangement: Press clippings and periodicals are organized chronologically.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Jorge Zontal's Photographic Portraits. – [ca. 1977]-1988. – 564 photographs and other material.

Series consists of black-and-white photographs and contact sheets of portraits of various individuals taken in either 5.5 x 5.5 cm or 35 mm format negatives. In 1979 Zontal began taking commercial photographs outside his activities with General Idea. Most of the work in this series - that is, the commercial material - is not part of the General Idea oeuvre. Jorge was commissioned by the Toronto Theatre Review magazine, other magazines, and other individuals to shoot photographic portraits for publication. In this group 24 identifiable portrait subjects are actors, actresses, musicians, or theatre-related individuals, for example, Ralph Benmurgui, Clare Coulter, Murray McLauchlan, Rough Trade, The Nylons, and others. Not all the sitters are identified, as there are few records, except for annotations on the negative holders. Clippings of the reproduced photographs are sometimes included in the respective files. The series includes a large portfolio containing examples of Zontal's photographic portraits, along with a few invoices for his work. In addition to his commercial work, the file contains photographs of various individuals in the art world, for example, the founders of Vancouver's The Western Front and such artists as Elizabeth Chitty, Kate Craig, Sherri Levine, Marcel Odenbach, Reindeerwerke, Ulay and Marina Abramovic, Paul Wong, and others. Included are photographs of young male nudes, some of whom were favorite models for General Idea works, such as Michael LaCroix, Paul Robertson, and Scott Dowey, all of whom appear in the work entitled Geometry of Censorship. Portrait photographs of others, for example, Paul Bettis, Duncan Buchanan, Steven Lack, and Anya Varda also appear in issues of FILE Megazine. General Idea always filed this body of work as a separate category and referred to it as "Jorge's Portraits," distinct from the group's work. A few other photographic portraits that General Idea filed within their oeuvre are found in the Photographs: Miscellaneous Series.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Physical description: Other material includes 10 items of textual records, 1 item of graphic material, and 1 album.
Arrangement: Series is organized alphabetically by the name of the sitter.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Jorge Zontal's Drawings. – [ca. 1970]-1993. – 2,313 drawings and other material.

Series consists of drawings, collages, and doodles on loose sheets, in sketchbooks, and note pads, as well as in assorted found books and magazines. The material is not part of the General Idea oeuvre, but was considered by the artists to be Zontal's own distinctive body of work. Some works were presented in exhibitions, such as General Idea's Jorge Zontal (curated by AA Bronson and Felix Partz) at A Space, Toronto, and the Galerie Grita Insam, Vienna (1982-1983), at the Galerie Meyer-Hohmeister, Karlsruhe (1988), and at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1994-1995). Although the works in the series are not considered to be by General Idea, almost all the signed drawings or collages are annotated with the letters "GI," with a few signed "Saia," one of Zontal's names. Zontal was a compulsive drawer who used an extensive array of imagery and iconography, as well as a variety of media. The series contains 58 "altered photographs" in black and white, mostly of individual people, printed by Zontal and used as a base for his drawings. The series includes a few drawing manuals and reference materials.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Physical description: Other material includes 10 items of textual records, 1 item of graphic material, and 1 album.
Arrangement: Series organized chronologically in groups of signed and dated drawings, unsigned and undated drawings, doodles, and a list of sketchbooks or albums for a particular year. AA Bronson sorted and dated non-annotated drawings, collages, and sketchbooks; he also separated finished drawings from unfinished ones or from doodles. The files containing sketchbooks are titled descriptively by their brand name or by Zontal's own titles added to the cover. Text annotations on the drawings are recorded in the respective file descriptions. The signature and date information have been recorded when applicable.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Personal Papers (Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal). – 1965-1994. – 20 items of textual records.

Series consists of Felix Partz's Canadian passport and patient-care assessment records. The series also contains Jorge Zontal's passports, a personal letter, his certificate of Canadian citizenship, documents relating to his change of name, and his patient-care assessment records.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Pre-General Idea (Ron Gabe and Jorge Saia). – 1962-1994. – 82 photographs and other material.

Series consists of three groups. The first contains Ron Gabe's pre-General Idea artwork and art reference materials. Included are 17 drawings and four collages - material from his time as a student in the Department of Art, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba. The series contains 11 photographs of works by David Smith, and seven colour slides of works by Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, artists he admired. His studio in Winnipeg and a few early works are documented by 17 photographs. Also included are 12 colour slides of Ron Gabe's 1965 sculpture, Sunbeams, and a conservation report on it; the sculpture still stands on the grounds of the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. The second group contains Jorge Saia's pre-General Idea artwork and includes the following: two collages, 32 drawings, two sketchbooks, one item of graphic material, and manuscripts - material from his time as a student in the Department of Architecture, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. The third group contains Jorge Saia's miscellaneous photographs and includes 16 photographs and 19 contact sheets.
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Physical description: Series includes: 63 photographs, 46 drawings, 19 colour slides (35 mm), 6 collages, 4 items of textual records, 2 sketchbooks, and 1 item of graphic material. Fonds contains negatives related to the photographs in the Pre-General Idea Negatives Series (Jorge Saia).
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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Pre-General Idea Negatives (Jorge Saia). – [ca. 1964-1969]. – 2,080 photographs: b&w negatives.

Series consists of black-and-white negatives taken by Jorge Saia during his student days in Halifax, in Caracas, Venezuela, and in other cities during the late 1960s. Included are a bound book of negatives and an assortment of loose negatives, identified simply with an handwritten note "People and Places 60s".
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Related material: Any photographs related to the negatives can be found in the Pre-General Idea Series (Ron Gabe and Jorge Saia).
Finding aids: File level finding aid available.

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