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Three Things That Are Not Art, According To John Baldessari

John Baldessari. COURTESY THE HAMMER MUSEUM IN LOS ANGELES

John Baldessari.

COURTESY THE HAMMER MUSEUM IN LOS ANGELES

For the second installment of Vogue’s Gallery, a monthly online series of artworks, its curator, Vogue contributing editor Dodie Kazanjian, was inspired by John Baldessari’s double-page response to Michael Kors’ fall collection in the magazine’s September issue. It’s pretty standard Baldessari—he spliced together images of six different models, and added a colored circle on top of each of their faces. Baldessari titled the piece NOT ART, but he might as well have called it FASHION for a similar effect.

Kazanjian started thinking. “What else is not art?” she writes, wisely foisting the question onto someone else. “This gave me the idea for the second show at Vogue’s Gallery. I asked Baldessari to define what is not art, since he started the whole thing, and if he’d be the curator.”

Baldessari sent the following email to Kazanjian in response:

WHAT IS NOT ART

1  “WHAT IS NOT ART” IS NOT ART SINCE IT’S A TRITE IDEA.

2  LISTS LIKE THESE BECAUSE ANYTHING CAN BE ART.

3  ARTISTS AS ART SINCE ARTISTS ARE DUMB.

Three very good examples—subjectively speaking, of course. Kazanjian then asked what he’d like to include in the show, to which he replied, “Anything by Bernard Buffet—you choose. You can’t beat Bernard Buffet. He’s the best at being the worst.”

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