Appropriation Art from Early Net Art to NFTs


In an order issued on October 25, 2023 in the District Court of Central California, judge John Walter condemned artists Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen to pay Yuga Labs, the company behind the NFT collection Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), about 1.6 million dollars, including statutory damages, fees and other costs. The decision followed a summary judgement issued on April 21, 2023, saying: “The court granted summary judgment in Yuga’s favor on its false designation of origin and cybersquatting claims, and against defendants’ First Amendment, nominative fair use and unclean hands affirmative defenses, as well as defendants’ counterclaim for knowing misrepresentation of infringing activity.”
I wrote this essay for a workshop held at the University of London in September 2022, and first sent it to the editors in March 2023. It has been released recently as part of the book NFTs, Creativity and the Law: Within and Beyond Copyright, edited by Enrico Bonadio and Caterina Sganga, and published by Routledge. In it, I contextualize Ripps’ practice as conceptual appropriation art. Judge John Walter, I strongly disagree with you.

Domenico Quaranta, “‘If You Don’t Want Something Stolen, Don’t Put it on the Net’. Appropriation Art from Early Net Art to NFTs”, in Enrico Bonadio, Caterina Sganga (eds.), NFTs, Creativity and the Law: Within and Beyond Copyright, Routledge, London 2024, pp. 201-217.

Identity as Performance. Art in the Metaverse

Kamilia Kard, Toxic Garden, 2022-ongoing

I wrote a short history of the Italian presence in the metaverse, from Active Worlds to Roblox, for the fourth issue of the magazine Quaderni della Quadriennale. The magazine is available in print, but the featured articles are also made available online, in Italian and English. Enjoy!

Domenico Quaranta, “Identità come performance. L’arte nel metaverso”, in Quaderni d’arte italiana, Issue 4 (Identity), Treccani – La Quadriennale di Roma, 2023 (English version)

Studio Visit: all six works now available on!


With the upload of Eva and Franco Mattes‘ contribution, Studio Visit – my curatorial project for the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève online platform, the 5th Floor – is now complete. Following the link above, you can now enjoy 6 newly commissioned videos by Lu YangJames BridlePetra CortrightOliver LaricAria Dean and Eva & Franco Mattes, sharing with us the intimacy of their desktop studio while they work. 
Studio Visit invites artists to allow us access to their desktop studio and their working process. In Studio Visit, the desktop studio is shown off as the real space where an artist’s practice manifests. The focus is both on its furniture – files, tabs, programs – and on the artist at work – their favorite tools, their rhythm, their automatism, the way they find a balance between focus and distraction, between managing and creating, between online life and work. Thanks to the generosity and openness of the participating artists, through the project viewers can silently enjoy how Lu Yang gives shape to his imaginary worlds and fictional characters, how Bridle make research for their future projects, how  Laric investigates the circulation and dispersion of his own iconography; they can attend the genesis of Cortright’s digital paintings as well as see how drawing, reading and collaborating with external producers intermingle in Dean’s practice. 

A menu option. Notes on post-digital photography

Eva and Franco Mattes, The Others, 2011. Video, 137 min, dimension variable. Exhibition view, HEK, Basel 2012

I pick the phone, type the security code, aim straight to the “Camera” app. I raise it in front of me, and when the image I see on the screen convinces me, I press a virtual button. Three times. I open the gallery, choose the picture I prefer, select “Share” and “Instagram”. I frame the image, apply a filter, access the parameters and add some contrast. I proceed by “tagging” a person and adding a couple of #hashtags and a caption, then I share it. Instagram automatically posts my image on Facebook and Twitter. If I am lucky, a cloud of hearts and thumbs will rise around it, maybe a few comments. Maybe someone will download it and do something with it. Or maybe not. But, for sure, some obscure algorithm will use it to collect personal information about me or the person I tagged, and it will be more certain when it will suggest someone else to tag the same person in another image.