Here Are the Art Memes That Brought Us the Most Joy in 2020, From the Getty Challenge to Unbeatable Museum Bums

There may not have been a lot to laugh about in 2020, but these delightful art memes still managed to make us smile.

Restoration fail meme via @MajorPazuzu on Twitter.

Earlier this year, a UK university released a study that found that memes about depression actually helped depressed people cope with their symptoms. Apparently, sharing memes allows people to express their emotions in a simple way, and to connect with others more easily.

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that 2020 was quite a fertile year in meme world. The cocktail of increased time on the internet plus the collapse of the outside world led to a society more eager to connect and commiserate than ever. As society faced collective trauma, memes were there to offer a shared laugh, cry, or, at the very least, a moment of respite from the challenges at hand. 

From museums competing for the title of “best bum” to the “2020 Mood Meme,” the year that brought everyone online resulted in some pretty solid art memes and social media challenges. Here are a few of our favorites. 


Restoration Fails 

Nothing lifts the internet’s spirits like a botched art restoration. Old classics like “potato Jesus” and the Ghent humanoid lamb united with this year’s failed attempt to “fix” a Virgin Mary and a sculpture-turned-claymation nightmare to give us all some much-needed laughs. 


The Getty Challenge

In the early days of lockdown, the Getty Museum called on its social-media followers to recreate famous works of art using household materials. The #GettyChallenge gained so much traction that the institution has since compiled the best examples into a book


Best Museum Bum 

One thing we never thought we would see? Some of the world’s most buttoned-up museums sharing photos of the best bums in their collections in response to a challenge issued by the Yorkshire Museum. Decide for yourself who the winner is. 


#MusMeme Day 

On December 9, museums around the globe celebrated #MusMeme day, whereby institutions chose items from their collections and used them to make jokes about everything from the struggles of modern life to the challenges of running a museum in 2020. Enjoy the social-media managers gone wild.


Et Cetera

And here are a few more assorted art memes, just for your amusement.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.