The Real Best of 2020
The year 2020 won't probably be remembered for the arts and creations. However, we had a fantastic and inspired time. In these lines, I'm going to summarise briefly the finest achievements in different disciplines: music, films, series, and photography. This is the 2020 we forget about: the new pop and electronic music at its best, the cryptic films, the sensational series, and the photo-narratives that rule. Some of the greatest art happenings in modern pop culture and proof that it was not all wrong about last year. What's the real best of 2020? Welcome to the gems of 2020.
Music in 2020 was a retro disco party that reminded us that Madonna, Prince, and Michael Jackson keep on being the source of inspiration for the new acts: Jessie Ware and The Weeknd signed their most evocative albums. They became the masters of pop reinvention. The Weeknd's controversial videos and performances just showed he is an entertainer and not just a singer. The Canadian Destroyer did it again, almost like in his masterpiece Kaputt (2011), his album Have we met included pop jewels like It just doesn't happen. Another Canadian with a strong personality: Allie X transformed her synthpop into anthems, listen to Rings a bell to feel her magic. Lady Gaga and Kylie Minogue kept their fan base dancing with their queer bombastic vibes. And then, we found a whole movement, all the "Latin" voices: Lido Pimienta, Kali Uchis, Ela Minus, Delaporte, Empress of, Najwa, María José Llergo, El Columpio Asesino, Nathy Peluso, Arca, Los Cogelones, Mala Rodríguez, Bunbury, and Juancho Valencia; they all presented memorable records that will last the passing of time for sure. The sparkle of these acts made my 2020 easier.
In my film list of 2020, the documentary Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen opened up my eyes to how trans people have been portrayed in films and series. It's a must-watch film to get a better understanding. Little Joe, channeling Invasion of the Body Snatchers, showed that we can't trade happiness, the color palette and photography in this film are magnificent, and the acting is also excellent. A quick mention of an old weird film that was screened this year: Under the skin, sure many of us had watched this before. She dies tomorrow played with the idea of a deadly contagious mental disease in the pandemic year, sharing ideas had never been so dangerous, this could work as a metaphor of the censorship we live on the social networks. Onward managed to remind us that magic exists. Finally, Soul remembered us what carpe diem means and that we all need dreams to live.
Series were the new way of traveling in 2020. The need to escape and find new contexts was evident. So we turn on the TV and played all the shows on Netflix, HBO, Prime Amazon, Apple TV, and so on, it was never enough. Queen's Gambit was my favorite series this year, a clever depiction with the most stunning aesthetics and with a protagonist that really evolves through the episodes. Ratched almost tops my list, its photography and wardrobe were spectacular, the plot was a lighter version of American Horror Story however more convincing and watchable. Veneno was the most beautiful, sincere, and powerful tribute to a trans person ever, please watch this testimony of her life, you will fall in love with her persona. Tiger King got to our lives at the right time, during the strictest lockdown, the crazy story couldn't be more controversial and it was destined to blow our minds with each twist. I am not okay with this presented an outrageous story with the main character we all fell in love with, she was adorable, another must-watch from this year. Hollywood, Upload, The Stranger, and The Ripper were also quite entertaining and watchable.
In the photography world, 2020 brought some interesting photo-narratives. Marianne van Loo showed us the beauty of her lockdown walks in nature, her documentation of sculptures was a truthful depiction of mass isolation. Lucilla Bellini worked for the first time with collage with her own photographs in her series: New Beginnings, creating masterpieces. Megan Winstone played with expressive and powerful self-portraits during the lockdown. The Greek photographer Kostis Fokas showed us the male organic beauty in his series Boys with feelings. The conceptual photographer Fran Plasencia released another manifesto photobook: 8, showing his strong social critique through his quite personal and unique style. David Rodríguez brought post-fashion photography, an antidote to boredom. And to end this photographers' list, Jo Kalinowski kept on documenting her own family's rituals including Christmas time, and her series From Other People's Treasures was a delight to see, check also please her Pomegranate fantasy. Photography played an important role in 2020, it seemed we wanted all the souvenirs from this complex time. We needed a picture.