Won Sun Choi

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Restricted Access (SIA Only)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Contemporary Art

First Advisor

Judith Prowda

Second Advisor

Eric Wolf


What is appropriation in Contemporary Art? How has it developed in artists’ practices throughout the history and what is its significance? What are the motives behind artists’ appropriation? How did art historians or art critics view works of appropriation art? How did courts deal with copyright infringement claims on appropriation? This thesis examines these questions by reviewing the art history of appropriation, exploring works of well-known artists who practice appropriation, and discussing the arguments and evaluations of art professionals on appropriation art. It also delves into court decisions made on visual disputes which involved issues of appropriation. Based on these discussions, the thesis analyzes and compares the perspectives of art professionals and legal practitioners on appropriation to see whether similarities or differences exist between the two. Furthermore, the thesis investigates how appropriation has manifested in the digital environment to inquire if appropriation has become even more frequent in artists’ practices nowadays. In line with the inquiry, it discusses NFT art and works of appropriation art minted into NFT art. Based on these analyses and research, the thesis concludes by making suggestions on how the art community and the legal community can both work towards promoting the proliferation of artistic activities, despite their differences in evaluating appropriation.

Available for download on Saturday, February 24, 2024