GIFs That Made Our Year

by Paddy Johnson and Whitney Kimball on January 2, 2015 · 2 comments GIF of the Day


Horse costume guy: because 2014 was the Year of the Horse. Zach Scott, Renaissance Fair Centaur. 

At this point, 2014 is still a wash; trending words included “asphyxiation” and “misogyny”, but the most-typed phrase was an emoji heart. Naturally, we turn to GIFs. Here are the year’s “GIF of the Day” highlights, in creative standouts, minor cultural milestones, and mostly, things we couldn’t stop thinking about because they were so weird.


Evidence that 2o14 was the year of the horse: we were able to assemble an entire post of people wearing horse head costumes.  -PJ


Pandawank (and other adorable pandas), to close out a year packed with pandas, from start to finish, and into the next. – WK


If only we could find more of these strange GIFs. We’ve dubbed this GIF, “The rubber neck lady“. PJ


For us this has also been a year filled with Mike and Claire. Since we posted GIFs of them back in early spring, we featured them as rising stars and asked them to pose in our panda calendar. We are fans. – WK


Jaimie Warren sent us this GIF over email once. We exhausted this GIF in the following months by posting it at every opportunity. – WK

Johnny Woods,  Not the Soup I Ordered. A massive improvement from the cinegifs of yore. – WK

dollfloatA suite of Dolly Parton heads made by Anthony Antonellis, and featured in this year’s “GIF of the Day” series, might be my all-time favorites to date. So weird. So good. PJ




2014 was the first year we spent knowing the full extent to which the NSA spies on American Citizens. Unsurprisingly, there’s been a lot more interest in surveillance. Above is one of our favorite GIFs on the subject, by one of our favorite GIF makers, Peter Burr. -PJ


Watch this GIF in combination with Spice Girl’s “When Two Become One”. This work was produced for the GIFbites exhibition. From Johnson’s review on artnet: On its face, the GIF is simply a literalization of the Spice Girl song title: an image associated with world peace iconography and ancient spiritual healing sites, replicated and reflected. At the same time, though, it is contrasting the new and the old, sameness and difference, and even how we see ourselves. As Chan tells it, our identity is built on shared stories, interests, and even clichés. And, unlike so many other artist in this show, who took a conventional approach to noise, technology, and abstraction, Chan began with something literal, and ended with a meaningful work of art. – PJ


Giselle Zatonyl produced this mezmorizing GIF in response to Cyber Monday and the beginning of Art Basel Miami. -PJ



Eva Papamargaritis produced these two GIFs for us in response to Black Friday.  We love them. PJ



Unlike Anthony Paletta over at the Awl, I can do without brutalism. And yet, I find the above animated GIFs of Brutalist architecture strangely compelling. Perhaps 2014 is year I started to have a more open mind about certain kinds of aesthetics? Ha! More where that came from here. PJ


This here is a detail of Nicolas Sassoon‘s Studio Visit because the actual gif is too big to post on the blog. Gulp. – PJ



 A beautiful GIF from the Japan-only video game Rival Schools 2. This isn’t an art GIF, but it’s included because a) the video game aesthetic dominates a lot of GIF making, and b) it looks like it could be an art GIF. It’s a good loop, it’s got grace and elegance. Hear hear! – PJ


Whitney Kimball failed to include this GIF by Dave Townes in her list of outstanding GIFs for 2014.  I had to step in. – PJ


Probably the only good thing that came out of the Motion Photography Prize sponsored by Saatchi and Google Plus.  This GIF is called “Jump“, by Cosimo Nesca


Beautiful. From Rick Silva’s En Plein Air series. – PJ

Seriously, this Francoise Gammas GIF is the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen. It belongs in a scene from the Exorcist. – PJ

Is this a shrimp or a ring? A Dada-type GIF by Tom Moody and deaniebabie satisfying for its disintegration and resolve. The comments in this post are worth a read. – PJ


Why isn’t Chantal Rousseau a superstar? Her GIF drawings are incredible. Cats + Owls = Meowls. What could be better than this? – PJ


The never ending cycle of Peer Reviews by Sally McKay. PJ


I’ve never found Andrew Rosinskis’s “Talker” to be particularly anthropomorphic, but slow opening and closing of this slit is mesmerizing. And so it makes our list. PJ


When I’m asked what a GIF looks like, this eyeball by Claudia Mate comes to mind. It’s totally gross, but bizarrely iconic. – PJ

fish-drunk-animal-clubDo fish in aquariums serve any different purpose than art? Looking at this fish behind a viewing rope suggests that the answer to this question is “no”. The fish does not look happy about it. Fish GIF by Jasper Elings.  – PJ


Popular GIF iconography: Palm trees. Nothing else we’ve posted in this round up evidences that, so I guess you’ll just have to trust us. They are everywhere. Anyway, here’s a GIF island by Alfredo Salazar that’s formed by a woman’s face. There are palm trees on the side of her face.-PJ


We posted this GIF back in July, but it may not surprise regular readers to know that we’ve thought about posting this GIF a hundred times over since then. There’s always a good occasion. -PJ



James Kerr’s Jesus on an inflatable tube man is one of the best animated GIFs we’ve seen all year. No explanation necessary. – PJ

Because we’ve all been there. Scott Gelber’s Fire Escape.
Well, we are a blog.

BONUS: Emblems of the Times

promo7From the Art F City Art World Roast and Auction Awards (which feels like a lifetime ago), Arjun Srivatsa made a series of GIFS to announce our winners. Had Marina Abramovic been able to attend, she would have taken home a giant gold-tipped dildo for “Best Self-Promotion”, our biggest honor. WK


Still have no idea what the hell this golden deer in a couch is about, but we’re blaming this on the art market. WK




Zach Scott January 2, 2015 at 5:42 pm

Cool, thanks for featuring my horse GIF at the top! I noticed that you weren’t able to identify the source of it (happens all the time with GIFs), but I originally posted it at, along with an alternate version on the same theme. Thanks again. 🙂

Paddy Johnson January 2, 2015 at 8:49 pm

Hey Zach,

Thanks so much for letting us know. I’ve updated the post.

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