2016-12-30 22:56:18
In the Moment: Photographs From 2016

There is no easy way to sum up the rich smorgasbord that was culture in 2016. But — to stay with a culinary metaphor — this sampling of our arts photography offers a taste. These images take us behind the scenes to watch the Nigerian artist Laolu Senbanjo use the actress Danielle Brooks as his canvas. They make us privy to private moments, like those of a photo-averse Howard Stern in his studio; of Metropolitan Opera musicians taking a backstage poker break; of Taylor Mac applying makeup in front of his dressing room mirror. And they bring us closer to celebrities like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Judith Light and Tony Bennett.

Politics grabbed our attention in 2016, but the arts fed our imaginations, lifted our spirits, led us to new territory. We can laugh with Kate McKinnon as she shovels Chinese noodles into her mouth; lie down with lions with the big-cat trainer at Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus; leap with dancers like Mikhail Baryshnikov and Misty Copeland; or groove to the rapping of Joey Badass. In a November episode of his “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver looked back at 2016 as a year worth erasing. But these photographs suggest there were moments worth remembering, attesting perhaps to the abiding optimism that resides in artistic endeavor. As Lil Wayne summed up in an October interview with The Times: “If there’s a wall at the end of the tunnel, I’m gonna shoot that [expletive] down. And there’s gonna be light behind that wall.”