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James Baldwin, Lou Reed, Kara Walker, Tom Wolfe in new exhibition at NYPL
Installation view of recent acquisitions.

NEW YORK, NY.- The New York Public Library’s exhibition, What’s New? Recent Acquisitions, presents the latest additions to its ever-growing collection. The items on display represent highlights from a diverse and exciting range of materials obtained over the past several years by all four of NYPL's research libraries: the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; the Library for the Performing Arts; and the Science, Industry and Business Library.

The free exhibition, which opened October 13 at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building and is on display through February 11, 2018, contains more than 150 items and occupies the Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Gallery in Astor Hall and the Rayner Special Collections Wing on the third floor. Each gallery introduces a wide array of materials selected by curators from 25 departments to represent not only the evolving nature of the Library’s archives, but also to illustrate the significance of these new materials to the Library and its users.

Featuring items such as Tom Wolfe’s outline for Bonfire of the Vanities, James Baldwin’s character notes for Just Above My Head, and the prototype for the 7-inch release jacket of Lou Reed’s "Walk on the Wild Side" and "Perfect Day," visitors to the exhibition will learn about the curator’s own experience acquiring these items and have the rare opportunity to view these materials together.

"What's New is a celebration of NYPL's archival commitment. From its founding, the Library's curators have gathered materials that illuminate our cultural legacies. This exhibition bears witness to the ongoing vitality of that tradition," said William Kelly, Andrew W. Mellon Director of NYPL’s Research Libraries.

The items presented in the Wachenheim Gallery demonstrate the range of the Library’s research collections from throughout the system. In addition to the materials of Wolfe, Baldwin and Reed, the exhibition includes:

● Proof copy of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, which was written with a bolder tone than the published work

● linocut by Kara Walker titled African/American

● The set model for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Off-Broadway production of In the Heights

● The 1585 printing of José de Acosta’s Confessionario Para Los Curas de Indios, the second oldest book printed in the Southern Hemisphere

● Sketches from Japanese artist Ariyoshi Kondo

● Prints from Dawoud Bey’s portfolio Birmingham: Four Girls, Two Boys

● Recording and photograph of a musical chess match between composer John Cage and Marcel Duchamp

● Annie Leibovitz photograph of Mikhail Baryshnikov and Linda Dowdell from the White Oak Dance Project

● Witty congratulatory telegram from Noel Coward to Elaine Stritch upon the opening of her play in 1961

● Catalog for the first Der Blaue Reiter exhibition, featuring Vasily Kandinsky’s abstract Improvisation no. 22

● Latino comic books from the 1980s

● Feminist magazine from 1970s Netherlands

The Rayner Special Collections Wing on the third floor focus on new acquisitions of prints, photographs, and illustrated books from the Wallach Division. This area of What’sNew? features:

● Victorian portrait of a girl by Julia Margaret Cameron

● Rare woodcut from the 16th century by Hans Sebald Beham, Tritons Competing for a Pendant Jewel

● The Chimera of Mr. Desprez, a gruesome etching by Louis Jean Desprez

● Prints from Jennifer Bartlett’s series Day and Night

● Handmade artist book by contemporary photographer Daisuke Yokota

● Selection of photographs from Moyra Davey’s Newsstand series

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