New York Public Library Acquires Lou Reed Archives

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On what would have been the legendary artist’s 75th birthday, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts announced they acquired Lou Reed’s archives. The project was spearheaded by Reed’s widow Laurie Anderson.

The Library will offer free displays and programs — including a performance of The Raven and Reed’s poetry on March 13 and a performance of Drones on March 15 — to the public over the next two weeks. Displays will include a look into his iconic life, including personal items like letters, journals, photographs and his collection of books and poetry.

Other never-before-seen personal artifacts will be on display for public eyes, including an unopened package Reed mailed to himself in 1965 containing a 5″ reel with unknown content. This package, known as a “poor man’s copyright,” ensured that whatever was on the reel would be officially copyrighted by the date on the postage mark. Curators are currently debating what could be on the reel and when, or if, they should open the package.

In total, the Lou Reed Archive includes 3,600 audio recordings and 1,300 video records, clocking in at over 600 hours of listening time. The exhibit spans Reed’s creative life in its entirety, starting with his 1958 high school band The Shades and chronicling his career up until his death in 2013.

Reed was posthumously inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014 by Patti Smith. Last October, Legacy Recordings released Lou Reed – The RCA & Arista Album Collection, an anthology of 16 studio and live albums.

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