Lou Reed Remembers Muhammad Ali

Lou Reed Photo: Photo by Getty Images

Lou Reed selected the photos for “New York Genius,” part of the Magnum photo agency’s monthlong 60th-anniversary celebration, and for a first-time curator, the former Velvet Underground front man had it pretty easy. Magnum rummaged through its legendary archives and provided the musician turned meditation guru turned photographer turned curator with hundreds of photographs of artists, musicians, actors, and writers photographed in the city. Reed’s picks include portraits of Miles Davis (”It’s Miles!”), Sammy Davis Jr. (“I love the buildings in this one. It looks like the cover of a detective novel. Very film noir”), Andy Warhol, Roman Polanski, William Styron, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Marilyn Monroe (“I think Steve Kasher’s in love with Marilyn Monroe and picked as many of those as possible”). But it's a photo of Muhammad Ali that brings back his own favorite memories of New York: "I was coming down Times Square once and there was a wave of people — must have been three, four thousand people raging down the street," he recalls. "I was walking and I’m all, Wow. What was that? And it was Ali. And he was on foot. And this wave of people going up Eighth Avenue. It was amazing." Check it out in person tomorrow, when the exhibit opens at the Steven Kasher Gallery. —Rachel Wolff