General Idea: Imagevirus

Gregg Bordowitz

One Work Series

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In the mid-1980s, the Canadian art group General Idea (AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal) created a symbol using the acronym AIDS, boldly arranging the letters in a manner that resembled Robert Indiana's famous LOVE logo. This launched Imagevirus, a series of paintings, sculptures, videos, posters, exhibitions and ephemera that from 1987 to 1994 used the mechanism of viral transmission to investigate the term AIDS as both word and image.

In this book, artist and writer Gregg Bordowitz analyses Imagevirus from the perspective of his own involvement with activist art initiatives in New York during the 1980s and 90s. Considering the battles fought over sexuality and representation in those years, and through the lens of modernist literature (Gertrude Stein and William S. Burroughs), the author approaches the virus as idea, as tactic and as identity. Bordowitz explores how Imagevirus infected urban spaces across the world, offering a new model for artistic production, one strongly suited to ideological struggle.

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