General Idea “Putti” soap sculpture, c. 1993

Today is the first time I opened this General Idea (1969-1994) multiple since buying it in 2000. I wonder how many of the original edition of 10,000 have survived.

I remember seeing many being used in various Toronto bathrooms throughout the 1990s.

Its diminutive size makes it endearing. It reminds me of Inuit soapstone sculpture which is popular in Canada. It was an art form heavily supported by the federal Canadian government as far back as the 1950s to stimulate the arctic economy.

When two of the members of General Idea contracted HIV the work kept the idealism of their earlier work but added a darkness that wasn’t there before. The seal pup looks lonely and almost mummified.

AA Bronson is the only surviving member of the trio and we are fortunate to have him here in New York. He is a driving force behind the city’s Printed Matter, founder of Art Metropole in Toronto and a gifted artist who explores his fixations. He seems to fancy himself a shaman but I prefer him as a sage.

2 responses to “General Idea “Putti” soap sculpture, c. 1993”

  1. I just found mine in a drawer – I can’t believe it’s survived for almost 30 years just kicking around in drawers and closets and such-like.

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