General Idea’s Magi© Bullet

Fall 2020–Summer 2021


General Idea. Magi© Bullet. 1992. Installation of custom-shaped Mylar balloons, dimensions variable. Gift of Mark Krayenhoff. © 2020 General Idea. Photo: John Wronn
  • MoMA, Floor 4, 414

“We were all surrounded by pills,” remarked artist AA Bronson on the impetus for Magi© Bullet when it was first installed, in 1992, at the height of the aids crisis. “The pill became a sculptural form we turned into our art.” Along with Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal, Bronson was a member of the Canadian collective General Idea. They were active from 1967 until 1994, when Partz and Zontal passed away from aids-related illnesses.

Filling the gallery with pill-shaped mylar balloons, Magi© Bullet in part functions as a metaphor for seeking a temporary remedy for an illness—physical or social—rather than examining its root causes. As the balloons’ helium levels decrease, they fall; you are invited to take a deflated balloon home with you. The installation thus gradually disappears over time, evoking the lives needlessly lost to aids because of state abandonment—and prompting comparison to the current global pandemic and the harm it’s wrought on our most vulnerable communities.

Organized by Thomas (T.) Jean Lax, Curator, Department of Media and Performance, with Danielle Johnson, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints.

1 work online


Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research/circulating-film.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].