General Idea: AIDS

About the Exhibition

General Idea’s recent AIDS projects—paintings, installations, posters and postage stamps—transform Robert Indiana’s LOVE icon of the 1960s into an icon for the 1980s. Indiana’s LOVE has been appropriated by consumer culture, marketed in every form from cocktail napkins to the graphics for the movie “Love Story.” General Idea has re-appropriated the image and reintroduced it back into an art context. While Indiana’s image was a plea for brotherly love and sexual freedom, General Idea’s AIDS poster calls on the power of love in today’s crisis.

General Idea’s AIDS Project began with a painting for the Art Against AIDS Benefit in New York in 1987. Since then, the AIDS Poster Projects have appeared on the streets of New York, San Francisco, Toronto and Berlin; site-specific installations have been presented in San Francisco, Toronto, Hartford, Atlanta, Tourcoing (France), Florence, and Berlin; rear-illuminated “advertising” boxes were presented at New York’s New Museum and Montreal’s Mirabelle International Airport. Most recently General Idea returned from Hamburg Germany where they unveiled their AIDS sculpture of silver lacquered aluminum.

The AIDS Poster Project for the New York City subway system is perhaps General Idea’s most ambitious AIDS project to date. Like HIV itself, the AIDS image circulates through the arteries of New York City. The poster is neither didactic nor confrontational. It is a reminder that the AIDS crisis is not over and is not limited to any one community.

General Idea was formed in 1968 by AA Bronson, Felix Partz, and Jorge Zontal.

Photo Gallery