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Who is Rider Rips, the artist trying to eradicate the Bored Monkey Yacht Club – ARTnews.com

When the Bored Ape Yacht Club launched at the height of the NFT craze last year, Ryder Ripps shrugged off the scattered photos of the group. The 10,000 Cartoon Monkey series was packed with meme aesthetics for the darkest corners of the internet, but if you spend enough time online, it’s something you tend to skip. Then a few months later, a friend showed him the group’s logo next to the Totenkopf, a skull and crossbones badge widely used in Nazi Germany. It turns out to him: Monkeys, now viral and widely promoted by celebrity crypto-hawks, may be an elaborate and malicious troll.

“I realized this nonsense was intentional,” said Rips, a 36-year-old conceptual artist and creative director who has worked with top artists like Kanye West and Grimes and brands like Nike, Red Bull, and Gucci. ARTnews. “They are destroying the Internet.”

Since December, Rips has led a crusade against the irreverent group, parent company Yuga Labs — currently valued at $4 billion — and founders Greg Solano, Willy Arono, Karim Atalay and Zeeshan Ali.

Ripps maintains that BAYC, from its logo to Apes accessories — such as “sushi chef headbands” engraved with “kamikaze” in Japanese kanji and spiked Prussian Pickelhaube helmets — are linked to racist images and ties to the far-right online. Ripps and Yuga Labs are currently embroiled in a legal battle after the company sued the artist for creating counterfeit NFTs that Ripps says are intended to taunt the group. (Yuga Labs and BAYC have previously denied the allegations of racism.)

Rips portrayed himself as Laocon – a priest who begged the Trojans not to let the Greek horse into the city – warning that the founders of Yoga were trying to introduce toxic images and ideas into the larger culture by encasing them as just another absurdity, but in the end collected a benign NFT. But is he the best messenger to warn him?

Rips laughed when asked why he was sure Solano, Arno and their peers were trolls. One must know one, he said.

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