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Celebrating Lou Reed: 1942–2013

In honor of The New York Public Library’s recent acquisition of the Lou Reed Archive, and the 75th anniversary of Reed’s birthday, the Library is proud to display highlights from the collection—including the rock icon’s original drafts of song lyrics, letters from Martin Scorsese and Paul McCartney, and a pair of Reed’s iconic eyeglasses.

This is one of two limited-time displays celebrating Lou Reed at two Library locations—the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street and the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. In addition, NYPL is hosting live performances that bring Reed’s music, poetry, and innovations to life.

Now part of the Music Division at the Library for the Performing Arts, the acquisition of the Lou Reed Archive further broadens the Library’s world-renowned collections in performance and recorded sound, while providing scholars, aspiring musicians, and rock-and-roll enthusiasts with the means to explore the legacy of one of the leading pioneers in modern music—from his rise to fame with the Velvet Underground to a 50-year solo career.

The items on display demonstrate the breadth and diversity of materials found in the Lou Reed Archive. The collection documents the entirety of Reed’s career—from audio and video recordings to photographs, personal correspondence, unpublished lyrics and poems, record production materials, and fan gifts and other collected ephemera. By preserving these materials and making them available for both new audiences and longtime fans, the Library will ensure Reed’s legacy endures for generations to come.

March 2nd, 2017 - March 20th, 2017 Stephen A. Schwarzman Building