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General Idea's AIDS-Awareness Artwork

STORY BY: Gary Card
YEAR: 1987

Gary was born in Winnipeg, but now lives in Victoria. His childhood best friend's brother was a Canadian artist, Ronald Gabe, who was also known as "Felix Partz", one of three founding members of the Toronto art collective General Idea. The other two members were Jorge (a.k.a "Jorge Zontal"), and Michael Tims (a.k.a "AA Bronson"). Bronson is still alive today, but Ron and Jorge died of AIDS in the mid-1990s. The counter-culture collective became well-known for their AIDS awareness campaign, commissioned by the German government. They took the famous "LOVE" logo by Robert Indiana, and converted it to "AIDS", with 4 red letters stacked in a square. There were sculptures and billboards made of their design, which were displayed in public squares, on trains in Europe, and in subways in New York City. Had they survived the AIDS crisis, Gary feels their work would have become even more broadly known. Their last project was the artwork inside the Toronto Stock Exchange to put gold leaf constellations on the ceiling. Thanks for sharing, Gary.
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