General Idea produced artists' books, prints, multiples, and installations that appropriate or infiltrate familiar forms—advertisements, magazines, and even iconic artworks—to bring social issues to the attention of the viewer. In the late 1980s, Partz and Zonal were diagnosed with HIV, and the group's focus shifted to AIDS awareness and the cultural controversies associated with the disease. Bronson explained, "We were all surrounded by pills, and the pill became a kind of sculptural form that we turned into our art." Magi©Bullet, riffing on Andy Warhol's Silver Clouds (1966), adapts the floating silver balloons into pill shapes, filling the ceiling of the exhibition space. Over time, the balloons gradually lose their helium and float to the ground, dismantling the installation and serving as a metaphor for life’s ephemerality. Visitors may take a balloon with them at that time. By doing so, they disseminate the work of art beyond the museum walls, an idea that was central to General Idea's socially engaged practice.
Gallery label from Print/Out, February 19–May 14, 2012.