General Idea

Manipulating the Self

General Idea, Manipulating the Self, Alternate Projects
General Idea, Manipulating the Self, Alternate Projects


Manipulating the Self, 1967
Pictoral wrappers, offset printed, staple-bound, 20 pp, b/w photos throughout. Self-published. The Coach House Press, Toronto, Canada. First edition. Edition of 65. Unsigned & unnumbered. Postmarked and stamped on backside. Condition: Broken paper seal for shipping through the mail, front and back right edge of book, stamping, hand-written address in ink, postmarked stamp, foxing to front and back covers, inside pages in good condition.
8h x 5 1/2w in / 20.32h x 13.97w cm

$ 500.00

General Idea invited people to take a photo of themselves with their arm wrapped around their head. They then asked to have these photos sent to them. This book is a compilation of these self-portraits. Contributors include Ray Johnson (whose inclusion suggests he may have influenced this project), May Wilson, “Jhon” Lennon...along with other various known and unknown persons. 
General Idea was a collective of three Canadian artists, Felix Partz (1945-1994), Jorge Zontal (1944-1994) and AA Bronson. Active from 1967 to 1994, General Idea were pioneers of early conceptual and media-based art. Their work inhabited and subverted forms of popular and media culture, including boutiques, television talk shows, trade fair pavilions, mass media and beauty pageants and it was often presented in unconventional media forms such as postcards, prints, posters, wallpaper, balloons, crests and pins. Informed by a continuous strategy of self-mythology, General Idea moved  their work out of museums and galleries and into the everyday world where they were able to reach a much larger and more diverse audience. Best known for the redesign in 1987 of Robert Indiana's "Love" emblem into a quadrant symbol spelling "AIDS," this colorful repeating logo was transformed into paintings, prints, posters and wallpaper, and it was seen virtually around the world, not only in art galleries and museums, but also on billboards, building exteriors and bus stops.