TABLE OF CONTENTS

passages

Lou Reed

LAST DECEMBER, a little over a month after Lou Reed died—on October 27, at age seventy-one—Brett and Rennie Sparks of the gothic folk duo the Handsome Family were asked, at an event at the New School, how much his work had affected theirs. A lot, Brett said. “I’ve heard that Lou Reed could be kind of confrontational,” someone in the audience said. Funny how these rumors get around.

Lou Reed was confrontational about life. It might be a matter of staring life in the face, as he did in “Street Hassle” in 1978, a hipster’s tale turned into a stoic homily on fate; of humor rushing out in all directions, as in his hilarious stand-up version of “Walk on the Wild Side” on his live Take No Prisoners album from the same year; or of a slow, determined contemplation, as in his 1999 reading of Blind Lemon Jefferson’s 1927 “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” at a concert celebrating Harry Smith’s

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the February 2014 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.