General Idea, Self-portrait with Objects, 1981–82. Montage, gelatin silver print.

General Idea, Self-portrait with Objects, 1981–82. Montage, gelatin silver print, 35.6 × 27.7 cm. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Purchased 1985 (EX-85-142). © General Idea. Photo: NGC

General Idea Symposium

Saturday, June 4, 2022
10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT
National Gallery of Canada Auditorium, livestreamed on Zoom
380 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1N 9N4

Three heads were better than one: AA Bronson, Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal. As members of General Idea (1969–1994), this trio – who thought of themselves more like a rock band than as an artist collective – have had a huge impact on the international contemporary art world.

Join us for a day of engaging presentations by Canadian and international scholars, exploring the work of General Idea.

Chair: Philip Monk
Speakers: Jon Davies, Kathryn Franklin, Robin McDonald, Jonathan Lofft, Antje Krause-Wahl and Teneshia Samuel

In English with French simultaneous interpretation.

Please note that this is a hybrid event. Participants may attend onsite or online. Onsite capacity will be limited and will be available on a first come, first served basis.



Philip Monk

Toronto writer Philip Monk was Director of the Art Gallery of York University (2003–2017) and was previously senior curator at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery (1994–2003) and the Art Gallery of Ontario (1985–1994). A writer since 1977, his most recent publications are Migrating the Margins: Circumlocating the Future of Toronto Art (with Emelie Chhangur, 2019); Is Toronto Burning?: Three Years in the Making (and Unmaking) of the Toronto Art Scene (2016); and Glamour is Theft: A User’s Guide to General Idea (2012).

In 2009, he was the inaugural recipient of the Ontario Association of Art Galleries Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2011 he received the Hnatyshyn Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art. In 2017, he was the recipient of a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts for Outstanding Contribution.

Antje Krause-Wahl

Photo: Antje Krause-Wahl

Antje Krause-Wahl is Heisenberg-Professor for Contemporary Art at Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main. In her research, she has investigated subject conceptions, both in artists' self-representations and in artistic practices, turning to the mediality and materiality of fashion within queer magazine cultures. She is the Editor of Shine On! Materials, Practices and Politics of Shine in Modern Art and Popular Culture (ed. with Änne Söll, Petra Löffler), Bloomsbury 2021.

Her work on fashion magazines appeared amongst others in Fashion Theory (Andy Warhol’s Interview – Arbiter of Queer Style, in: Fashion Theory. The Journal of Dress, Body and Culture, 20 (2), 2016). She is currently working on her book Art, Fashion, Magazine. A queer history of pictures and surfaces.

Jon Davies

Jon Davies is a curator, writer and PhD Candidate in Art History at Stanford University, where he is close to completing a dissertation entitled “The Fountain: Art, Sex and Queer Pedagogy in San Francisco, 1945–1995.” He previously held curatorial positions at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Oakville Galleries, and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.

His book Trash: A Queer Film Classic was published by Arsenal Pulp Press in 2009, and his anthology More Voice-Over: Colin Campbell Writings was published by Concordia University Press in 2021. He recently co-edited Issue #6 of Little Joe magazine with Sam Ashby.

Jonathan S. Lofft

Jonathan S. Lofft is a theological scholar and lifelong lover of heraldry. Associated with Trinity College at the University of Toronto, where he earned his doctorate, Jonathan is a Research Fellow at Western University’s Huron College, and teaches courses in ecclesiastical history at Queen’s College, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Jonathan works for the University of Toronto Press and the Champlain Society on books exploring the life of Edward Marion Chadwick, Shakotyohkwísaks (1840–1921), father of Canadian heraldry.

Kathryn Franklin

Kathryn Franklin is an Arts and Science post-doctoral fellow in the English department at the University of Toronto. She holds a PhD from the graduate program in Humanities at York University, where her dissertation focused on the concept of glamour as an expression of Toronto’s urban imaginary. Her current research explores the relationship between glamour and the popularization of the urban Canadian middlebrow novel in the 1950s and 60s.

Her work has appeared in Imaginations, International Journal of Fashion Studies and World Film Locations: Berlin. She also served as a co-editor for the Canadian literary publication Descant.

Robin Alex McDonald

Robin Alex McDonald is an academic, arts writer, and independent curator living within lands governed by the Robinson Huron Treaty Territory of 1950, and occupied by the Nipissing and Dokis First Nations (also known as North Bay, Ontario.) They hold a PhD in Cultural Studies from Queen’s University, where their SSHRC-funded research explored representations of depression in contemporary art by Indigiqueer, queer, and trans artists.

McDonald currently teaches in the Fine and Visual Arts department at Nipissing University, and the Visual and Critical Studies program at OCAD University.

Teneshia T. Samuel

Teneshia T. Samuel (Hon. B.A., M.A., M.A.) is an artist, scholar, writer and educator based in Toronto. Teneshia is the Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for Moyo Health & Community Services, an AIDS service organization that provides education and harm-reduction services in the Regional Municipality of Peel. Teneshia is currently a literary arts facilitator with Workman Arts, and an advisor and radio host with the Luminato Festival Toronto. 

Saturday, June 4, 2022, 10:00 a.m. 4:30 p.m.
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