Collection Spotlight: General Idea

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1992.08_Gen.Idea

On the heels of opening Sojourner Truth Parsons’ exhibition Holding Your Dog At Night, where allegorical depictions of dogs abound, we’ve been thinking about General Idea’s poodles non-stop this week. The still above is from Shut the Fuck Up (1985), held in Oakville Galleries’ collection; it’s just one of countless instances where the regal dog appears in General Idea’s work. The collective’s use of the poodle has been widely understood as a symbolic self-representation by the artists, in part a nod to the members’ queer sexuality, but also to the cultural status of the artist, the fanciful pooch and artist alike known for their “effete banal image” and “desire to be preened and groomed for public appearances” (as relayed by the narrator in General Idea’s Cornucopia, 1982).

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