General Idea

Canadian, 20th century

AIDS, 1988

acrylic on canvas, silkscreened wallpaper

(a) Painting: 244 x 244 cm; (b) Painting: 244 x 244 cm; (c) Painting: 244 x 244 cm

Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with funds from the Eckhardt Gramatté Foundation

G-92-191 abc


Installation, Canadian Contemporary (1980-present)

In this installation, General Idea deliberately transformed the painting Love (1966) by American Pop artist Robert Indiana. The concept of this work was first conceived for the 1987 Art Against AIDS exhibition in New York City. During the 1980s most art about AIDS was focused on the suffering of individuals and the lack of attention the crisis received from health care systems and governments. General Idea transformed Indiana’s work into an AIDS logo, and, like the original piece, General Idea’s logo was reproduced everywhere, from posters to paintings to the huge display board in Times Square. As a commentary on the complexity and individual nature of the issues surrounding the AIDS epidemic, the WAG piece is a precursor to the collective’s work from the early 1990s, all of which dealt with AIDS in a non-polemical and non-defining manner.

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