Reconstructing Futures, 1977
14 photo-montage panels, 2 vinyl-upholstered seats, 2 marble and steel barbells, synthetic carpet, 2 copper- and metal-plated lamps, 6 perforated steel panels, recorded soundtrack, tape recorder, 4 fluorescent light tubes
installation space: 2.74 x 4.32 x 10.17 m
National Gallery of Canada (no. 28286.1-31)
Composed of three artists - AA Bronson, Felix Partz, and Jorge Zontal - General Idea was born in 1968. In 1971 the collective undertook a series of projects concerned with fashion, glamour, and fame, based on the idea of the beauty pageant. That year saw the staging of the 1971 Miss General Idea Pageant at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Taking their cue from George Orwell’s celebrated novel, they set 1984 as the date for the next pageant, beginning preparations in 1977 with a performance at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. During the rehearsal, the 1984 Miss General Idea Pavilion burst into flames. Made up of elements rescued from the disaster, "Reconstructing Futures" was conceived as the Green Room where contestants would prepare before going on stage. The large photographs in "Reconstructing Futures" document the ruins of the 1984 Pavilion. On the back wall, a photograph depicts members of General Idea after having narrowly escaped the fire.