AA Bronson is an artist, publisher and curator, who co-founded the artist group General Idea in 1969. Until last October he has been the president of Printed Matter the world’s largest non profit organization to the promotion of publications made by artist and the director of the New York book Art Fair. He is a promoter of low-cost editions and he is insisting on keeping the books non-commercial like a kind of political position. Last autumn Mr Bronson announced that he would depart to spend time on personal projects, especially Haute Culture, the retrospective of General Idea at the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris next February, studying for His Master of Divinity at Union Theological Seminary, and continuing in his position of Artistic Director of the Institute for Art, Religion, and Social Justice, which he founded at Union in 2008. Finally, he intends to devote more time to his practice as an artist and healer. In this interview, published on Purple Fashion magazine (Spring Summer 2009), Olivier Zahm and Dash Snow go deeper into his life, the beginnings of his art and his exploration of other cultures. We would like to present it again because it is very inspiring and because it depicted a sort of turning point of an eclectic mind.
AA BRONSON, one of the founders of the Canadian artists’ group, GENERAL IDEA – whose social activism and poignant irony made its first big impact in their ground-breaking magazine, FILE, published from 1972 to 1989 – remains as active as ever. After the tragic deaths of his two partners, Felix Partz amd Jorge Zontal, in 1994, AA took a more personal and esoteric approach, exploring the secrets and shamanistic rituals of other cultures as a serious practitioner of the healing arts, and incorporating his discoveries into his art. He’s become a mentor and a cult figure for a younger generation of artists. He also runs Printed Matter in New York City, one of the preeminent artist’s book publishers and sellers in the United States.
interview by OLIVIER ZAHM & DASH SNOW
AA Bronson: Good. But I’m a little exhausted from preparations for the NY Art Book Fair.
Dash Snow: I’ll be there on Wednesday, setting up.
AA BRONSON: I know. I’m very curious to see what you’re going to do.
DASH SNOW: We made ten big posters. I’ll have them put aside for you. I’ll have an advance copy of my new book, too.
AA BRONSON: Good. Look at this … I love this photo of yours, Dash. It’s such a great photo!
DASH SNOW: Thank you. This one is of my daughter. This is her grandmother kissing her. This is my girlfriend and her mother. My daughter again….
AA BRONSON: Isn’t she sweet!