Opening this June at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Lou Reed: Caught Between the Twisted Stars is the first large-scale exhibition of the musician’s archive, displaying the life and work of the icon whose profound impact—musically, visually, and culturally—still influences a range of artists and writers today.
In addition to archival materials, the exhibition provides visitors the opportunity to experience a wide range of Reed’s technologically innovative discography in the Lou Reed Listening Room, designed and programmed by Arup in close collaboration with the exhibition curators Don Fleming and Jason Stern. This immersive space allows visitors to hear works in the original intended format including mono, stereo, quadraphonic and ambisonic spatial audio with accompanying light and visual installation. Most notably, the room enables Metal Machine Trio: The Creation of the Universe, a sound installation developed in 2012 by Reed and Arup, to be experienced in New York for the first time.
Arup’s partnership with Reed began in 2009, when Raj Patel, Arup Fellow and Creative Director of the Lou Reed Listening Room, met the musician through a friend who recognized their mutual interest in high fidelity audio and innovative recording technology. Reed and Patel developed a collaborative relationship with time spent discussing and engaging in the Arup SoundLab. Reed invited Patel and the Arup team to record a two-night run at the Blender Theater of his performance of Metal Machine Trio: The Creation of the Universe, with the intention of using this recording as basis for an immersive installation and record release. On completion, a concept was developed with Reed’s input and approval, and the installation was presented at California State Long Beach University Art Museum in 2012 and Cranbrook Art Museum in 2015.