Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson
Photo: Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images
New York's Library For The Performing Arts Opens Lou Reed Archive
On March 15, the New York Public Library opened its Lou Reed Archive at Lincoln Center's Library for the Performing Arts. The archive is the gift of Lou Reed's widow, Laurie Anderson, and includes a public exhibition dedicated to the creation of the singer/songwriter's 1989 GRAMMY nominated album New York. Library patrons also have the opportunity to replace their existing library cards, for $1, with a special edition NYPL Lou Reed library card.
"To my knowledge, this is the most complete and largest archive collection available to the public that documents the daily business of a major figure in rock and roll," said the library's curator of music and recorded sound, Jonathan Haim.
The announcement provides an overview but the library's "finding aid" goes into much more depth on what it describes as, "90 linear feet (211 boxes, 27 tubes, 4 oversized folders); 2.5 terabytes (40,920 computer files)."
At the 41st GRAMMY Awards, Reed won Best Long Form Music Video for "American Masters - Lou Reed: Rock And Roll Heart." The 1967 album The Velvet Underground & Nico was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2008, followed by Reed's 1972 single "Walk On The Wild Side" in 2015. Following these inductions, the Velvet Underground received the Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. Even highlights such as these merely scratch the surface of the artistic range of Reed's life in music, but now researchers and members of the public can dig deep in the icon's personal poems, notes, photographs, itineraries and more, from his days in high school through his final performances in 2013.
"My dream has always been to make Lou's work completely accessible to the public," said his widow Anderson. She is a creative force in her own right, who won her first GRAMMY at the 61st GRAMMY Awards in Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for the recording of her composition Landfall with the Kronos Quartet.