Underground and Alternative Magazines from the ’70s and ’80s That Capture NYC’s Downtown Art World

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If you wanted to find out the real deal behind the fashion, culture, nightlife, music, art, and film happening in New York City during the 1970s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, there was only one place to turn. Alternative and indie publications of the time like Paper Mag, New York Rocker, and Art-Rite captured the diverse intersection of art and life — and the covers of these magazines were just as exciting as the contents within.

The biggest art stars and personalities made the headlines, including John Waters, Andy Warhol, Debbie Harry, and Yoko Ono — but no wave artists and punks were printed right alongside them, like Beth B and Richard Hell. Gallery 98, the online space for 98 Bowery, chronicles New York City’s downtown art world with an amazing collection of periodicals. 98 Bowery founder and curator Marc H. Miller was kind enough to let us dig through his online collection and share the best of the best.

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NY Rocker, October 1980. With articles on Arto Lindsay, James Chance, the Sex Pistols, the Undertones, and Patti Smith. Offset on newsprint, 15 x 11 in., 51 pages, October, 1980.

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NY Talk, Volume 2, Issue No. 8, September 1985. Andy Warhol interview. Offset print on newsprint, 11 1/2 x 15 inches, 70 pages.

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Soho News, Volume 8, Issue No. 10, December 1980. Featuring Yoko Ono: “Those hate vibes, they’re like love vibes, they are very strong. It kept me going. When you’re hated so much, you live. Hate was feeding me.” Offset print on newsprint, 11 1/2 x 15 inches, 63 pages.

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Soho News, Volume 9, Issue No. 9, December 1981. Feature: John Lennon, The Year of the Gun Offset print on newsprint, 11 x 14 1/2 inches, 63 pages.

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Paper, Volume 5, Issue No. 8, March 1989. Editors Kim Hastreiter & David Hershkovits. Featuring John Kelly as Mona Lisa, Joey Arias as Salvador Dali, and Allen Midgette as Andy Warhol. Includes great fashion spreads and advertisements. Offset print on newsprint, 10 3/4 x 13 7/8 inches, 54 pages.

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Punk Magazine, Issue No. 16, 1979. Offset on paper, 11 x 8 1/2 in. 36 pages.

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Night, Issue No. 23, 1994. Featuring Cicciolina Cover & Interview with additional features on John Lydon and Geoffrey Bean, Anton Perich, Publisher. Offset on newsprint, 17 x 22 3/4 in. Full issue.

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New York Beat, Volume 1, Issue No. 11, May 1984, All star crew: Editor John Howell, Art Director Flick Ford, Photo Editor John Cavanagh, Art by Carlo McCormick and Roselee Goldberg. Articles on: Beth B, Mary Boone, David Wajnarowicz, and others. Offset print on newsprint, 11 1/2 x 15 inches, 27 pages.

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New York Rocker, Volume 1, Issue No. 7, June 1977. With articles on John Cale, Blondie, Iggy Pop, Richard Hell, and the British Invasion. Offset print on newsprint, 11 1/2 x 16 1/2 inches, 63 pages.

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New York Rocker, Volume 1, Issue No. 9, September – October 1977. With articles on Blondie, Richard Hell, The Heartbreakers, and the Talking Heads. Offset print on newsprint, 11 1/4 x 16 3/4 inches, 63 pages.

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Colors, Issue No. 7, 1994. Tibor Kalman, the AIDS issue. 10 1/2 x 7 1/2 in., 138 pages

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Colors, Issue No. 8, 1994. Tibor Kalman, the Religion issue. 13 1/2 x 10 in., 122 pages. Offset on paper.

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Cover, Volume 5, Issue No. 5, February 1991, Editor Jeffrey Wright. Articles on: Colette, James Romberger, Elliot Arkin, John Kelly, and others. Offset print on newsprint, 11 1/4 x 15 inches, 40 pages.

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Paper Magazine – John Waters, October 1986. Articles on Robert Longo, Pee-Wee Herman, David Byrne, Guerrilla Girls.

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NY Talk, Volume 1, Issue No. 8, October 1985, Articles on: East Village Art Scene, Alan Rish. Offset print on newsprint, 11 x 14 1/2 inches, 50 pages.

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East Village Eye, 1979-1987.

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Dumb Fucker, Issue No. 6, Richard Kern publisher, 1983 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 in., Xerox on paper. 52 pages