Press release: AA Bronson + General Idea, VideoVirus
FORTY YEARS SINCE THE FIRST CASES OF AIDS,
AA BRONSON + GENERAL IDEA’S ‘VIDEOVIRUS’ SPREADS A SYMBOL OF PROGRESS TOWARDS ZERO NEW HIV CASES
CIRCA, Piccadilly Circus, W1
1 – 31st December
Launching World AIDS Day, 1 Dec 2021, CIRCA presents VideoVirus, a powerful new film by AA Bronson and General Idea. Reimagining their historic Imagevirus for a global audience, the artwork comes to life in a hypnotic video animation that virally transmits their activist message across billboards in London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Milan, New York, Seoul & Tokyo.
Throughout December, CIRCA is proud to partner with UNAIDS and Terrence Higgins Trust to mark 40 years since the disease was first recorded in 1981. A new work by AA Bronson, the sole surviving member of the General Idea art group, draws inspiration from the viral intentions of Imagevirus, which in the mid-1980s spread consciousness of the epidemic by reappropriating Robert Indiana’s famous LOVE logo, virally transmitting the AIDS symbol through cities in the form of paintings, sculptures, videos, posters, and exhibitions.
From Imagevirus’ original intention of rendering visible an ignored crisis, today’s VideoVirus colourfully heralds our progress toward the eradication of AIDS, with CIRCA’s global presentation amplifying the commitment by international health organisations to achieve zero new HIV transmissions by 2030.
Artist, healer and curator AA Bronson explains: “General Idea first developed the concept of viral images in the early 1970s. In the mid-80s that work became prophetically and tragically true, with the appearance of the HIV virus. In 1987 we exhibited our first AIDS painting and papered lower Manhattan with AIDS posters in the hope of making the image indeed viral. Thirty-five years later, and marking the 40th anniversary of AIDS first being recorded, I am honoured to join the CIRCA platform with this reimagined ‘VideoVirus.’ General Idea’s VideoVirus replicates the spread of HIV to the four corners of the world; it expands General Idea’s signature theme of ‘image as virus’ for a global audience.”
General Idea, a collaboration between AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal, began in Toronto in 1969. The group’s transgressive concepts and provocative imagery challenged social power structures and traditional modes of artistic creation in ever-shifting ways until Partz and Zontal’s untimely deaths from AIDS-related causes in 1994.
This December, AA Bronson + General Idea have created two new #CIRCAECONOMY prints:
- Great AIDS (Cadmium Red Light) | Hand-signed limited edition of 21 screenprints, 40x40cm | £4,500 – CIRCA.ART
- AIDS (Cadmium Red Light) | Time-limited edition print. Available until midnight 31st December 2021, A4 | £100 – CIRCA.ART
Available to purchase exclusively on the CIRCA.ART website, proceeds from both sales will support the #CIRCAECONOMY – a circular model that supports their free public art programme and creates life-changing opportunities for the art & culture community.
Mahesh Mahalingam, Director, Communications and Global Advocacy, UNAIDS, adds: “With nearly 1.5 million new HIV infections and 680,000 deaths each year, the AIDS epidemic is far from over. But it can be. AA Bronson’s art is a powerful reminder of sacrifices made by activists and people living with HIV and to learn from them to tackle not just HIV, but all pandemics. We are proud to partner with CIRCA in bringing attention to the AIDS pandemic at a time when we are fighting both COVID-19 and AIDS.”
Using culture as a catalyst to help minimize the risk of people getting HIV and reduce stigma, CIRCA will educate audiences online via a programme of talks and informative videos guest-curated by LGBTQ+ charity QUEERCIRCLE, championing voices of the past four decades and centred around themes of activism, health and culture.
Honouring this special collaboration with AA Bronson and General Idea, a #CIRCAECONOMY grant of £5,000 has been awarded to QUEERCIRCLE who will deliver an artist-led participatory residency with HIV positive women during their 2022 Winter season.
Josef O’Connor, Artistic Director, CIRCA, comments: “Four decades since AIDS was first recorded, CIRCA is honoured to collaborate with AA Bronson and dedicate its global, public platform to commemorating an epidemic that society once ignored. Although Felix and Jorge are no longer with us, their memory survives in this moving animation which wraps its arms around the world on this anniversary month, raising vital awareness and helping bring us all one step closer to achieving zero new HIV transmissions by 2030.”
|SCHEDULE: CIRCA PRESENTS ‘VIDEOVIRUS’ 1-31 DECEMBER|
|TIME||CITY||SCREEN LOCATION SOCIAL/TAG MAP/LINK|
|20:21 GMT||LONDON||PICCADILLY LIGHTS @piccadillylights
COEX K-POP SQUARE @cjpowercast_ad_official
FED SQUARE (13, 14, 26-30 Dec) @fed.square
LUXOTTICA, PIAZZALE CADORNA @luxottica
PENDRY WEST HOLLYWOOD @pendrywesthollywood
LUXOTTICA, TIMES SQUARE @luxottica
YUNIKA VISION @yunikavision
|20:21 PST||LOS ANGELES|
|20:21 EST||NEW YORK|
For press information please contact:
Reece Prince Watson
T: + 00 44 7899 043357
Notes To Editors
Born 1946, in Vancouver, Canada, AA Bronson currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Since 1995, he has worked and exhibited as a solo artist, often collaborating with younger generations of artists. From 2004 to 2010, he was the Director of Printed Matter, Inc. in New York, founding the annual NY Art Book Fair in 2005. In 2009 he co-founded the Institute for Art, Religion and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. In 2013 he was the founding Director of Printed Matter‘s LA Art Book Fair.
Selected recent solo exhibitions include: AA Bronson: Garten der Lüste, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany (2018); AA Bronson, Kunsthalle Wichita (2016); AA Bronson’s Garden of Earthly Delights, Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg (2015); AA Bronson’s Sacre du Printemps, Grazer Kunstverein, Graz (2015); AA Bronson: Life and Works, University of Toronto Art Centre, Toronto (2014); Tent for Healing, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2013); The Temptation of AA Bronson, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2013); Invocation of the Queer Spirits (with Peter Hobbs), Creative Time, New York (2008).
Recent General Idea solo shows include: Photographs (1969–1982), MAMCO, Geneva (2017); Tiempo Partido/Broken Time, MALBA, Buenos Aires (2017) and Museo Jumex, Mexico City (2016); Haute Culture: General Idea. Une rétrospective, 1969 –1994, Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris and Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2011); General Idea Editions: 1967–1995, which toured to 18 venues between 2003 and 2007. General Idea: Found Formats, Kunsthalle Zurich, Zurich, and Kunstwerke, Berlin, (2006); General Idea, Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburg (2005).
Further recommended reading: Gregg Bordowitz, General Idea: Imagevirus, Afterall Books, 2010
CIRCA is a digital art and culture platform with purpose. We stop the clock on global media space every evening at 20:21 and mobilise the world’s greatest creative minds to broadcast unique works that consider our world circa 2021. The funds we generate from artist print sales drive the #CIRCAECONOMY – a circular model that supports their free public art programme and creates life-changing opportunities for the art & culture community.
Since launching in October 2020 on London’s iconic Piccadilly Lights, CIRCA has commissioned new work from rising and established artists including Ai Weiwei, Cauleen Smith, Eddie Peake, Anne Imhof, Patti Smith, Tony Cokes, Emma Talbot, Vivienne Westwood, James Barnor, David Hockney, and more.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
TERRENCE HIGGINS TRUST
Terrence Higgins Trust is the UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charity, offering support, information and advice services for those living with HIV and affected by HIV or poor sexual health.
Our vision is a world where people with HIV live healthy lives free from prejudice and discrimination, and good sexual health is a right and reality for all.
Queercircle is a new LGBTQ+ led charity working at the intersection of arts, culture and social action. In Spring 2022, Queercircle will open a new home for LGBTQ+ artists and safe space for the LGBTQ+ people. Set in the pioneering Design District in North Greenwich, our gallery, library and project
spaces will enable us to action our groundbreaking community focused programme of exhibition commissions, collaborative artists residencies and year-long learning and participation opportunities. Our new home will provide a holistic environment which celebrates queer identity, champions arts and culture, and supports the wellbeing of our community.
CIRCA has been made possible by Landsec, landlord of Piccadilly Lights, who have kindly donated media space, as a helpful boost to the cultural scene in London’s West End.
We are grateful to Piccadilly Lights, Ocean Outdoor, Yunika Vision, CJ Powercast, Luxottica, Maureen Paley, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, Mai36, Esther Schipper, UNAIDS, Terrence Higgins Trust and Dazed Media for their support this month in supporting our free public art programme.