NYPL Lou Reed exhibit takes you for a walk on the wild side

NYPL Lou Reed exhibit takes you for a walk on the wild side

Apparently, Lou Reed was the H&R Block of basic rockers: The person stored his receipts.

In truth, “Lou Reed: Caught Between the Twisted Stars” — an exhaustive exhibit that opens on the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts on Thursday — shows simply how diligent the “Stroll on the Wild Facet” icon was about retaining proof of his purchases. One of many showcased receipts is even for the studded canine collar he wears on the duvet of his 1974 dwell album “Rock ’n’ Roll Animal,” which Reed — in true New Yorker vogue — purchased from the West Village intercourse store the Pleasure Chest.

“His father was an accountant and taught Lou to maintain receipts, preserve data and all that type of factor,” stated curator Jason Stern, who was Reed’s assistant in his closing years and now works along with his widow, Laurie Anderson. “So I believe that most likely made its mark.”

“Lou Reed: Caught Between the Twisted Stars” exhibits the various musical guises of the late rocker.Stephen Yang

Lou Reed performing in an undated picture.Sygma through Getty Photographs

That Pleasure Chest receipt for $13.50 is amongst Reed’s private artifacts that convey a few of his downtown New York cool to Lincoln Middle within the multimedia exhibit that runs till March. And it’s definitely hanging how a lot Reed saved over time.

At Anderson’s request, Stern and his co-curator, Don Fleming — an archivist who as soon as performed within the group Half Japanese with Reed’s former Velvet Underground bandmate Moe Tucker — started cataloging Reed’s huge array of artifacts shortly after his dying, in 2013. And when it got here time to place the exhibit collectively, they bought some assist from Anderson.

“Laurie was sort of like our barometer,” stated Fleming. “We had much more stuff in it … perhaps thrice as a lot as is in there proper now. And so she was like, ‘You’ve bought to chop greater than half of this.’ ”

“Lou Reed: Caught Between the Twisted Stars” options images along with his widow, Laurie Anderson, who suggested the curators.Stephen Yang

Nonetheless, there’s a lot left to find about Reed. One room showcases his poetry, together with all the pieces from his printed works to a cassette tape of a poetry studying at St. Mark’s Church. 

“We actually wished to point out that, on the middle of it, he wished to be a author and a poet,” stated Fleming. “That’s why his work is so literary … That’s the place his coronary heart was.”

And there are musical discoveries too, with a bunch of demos and different unreleased materials displaying an experimental genius’ inventive course of and evolution. “I’ve to say, the audio assortment is simply so wealthy. Actually unimaginable materials,” stated Stern, noting a precursor to Reed’s 1975 album “Steel Machine Music.” “There’s this one tape referred to as ‘The Electrical Rock Symphony.’ It’s about 40 minutes lengthy: The primary 20 minutes are guitar suggestions, and the second 20 minutes are very sort of fairly piano taking part in.”

One room within the “Lou Reed: Caught Between the Twisted Stars” exhibit showcases his vinyl file assortment.Stephen Yang

Lou Reed in 1978.Getty Photographs

The exhibit additionally exhibits the sweeter aspect of Reed’s relationship with Tucker, together with Valentine’s Day playing cards they might ship one another — calling one another “Honeybun,” no much less — and images of them tossing round a soccer. “I simply couldn’t consider I’m seeing Lou even holding a soccer,” stated Stern. “It was just like the least anticipated factor we might have present in our assortment.”

Whereas Reed’s guitars is likely to be extra anticipated, there’s additionally his astrology chart, private letters and a room devoted to his vinyl file assortment that reveals his predilection for doo-wop singles and bootlegs. And the exhibit captures the various totally different musical guises he had throughout his legendary profession.

“Lou Reed: Caught Between the Twisted Stars” is a multimedia expertise that includes all the pieces from audio and video to non-public images and memorabilia.Stephen Yang

“I would like individuals to remove that Lou was an artist who by no means stopped evolving,” stated Stern. “The person contained multitudes.”

“Lou Reed: Caught Between the Stars” opens June ninth and can run by means of March 4, 2023 at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Middle, 40 Lincoln Middle Plaza; 917-275-6975, NYPL.org/occasions/exhibitions/Lou-Reed.

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