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Revisiting Peter Hujar’s Underground “Newspaper”

An unlikely discovery and a book brings the New York’s revolutionary periodical back into the spotlight.


While working as archivist for music industry legend Danny Fields in 2015, art historian Marcelo Gabriel Yáñez stumbled upon bundles of Newspaper stashed in the closet. Fields’s memory of the broadsheet was vague. They appeared at Andy Warhol’s Factory at some time in the late 1960s or early ‘70s.  

Intrigued, Yáñez set forth to uncover this lost chapter of the New York underground press. Over the next seven years, he reassembled the story of Newspaper, a 14-issue, picture-only periodical that stood at the vanguard of the New York art world from 1968–1971. 

Newspaper, Artwork by Steve Lawrence, Courtesy of Primary Information.
Newspaper, Artwork by Steve Lawrence, Courtesy of Primary Information.

Published by Steve Lawrence and edited with Peter Hujar and Andrew Ullrick in New York City, Newspaper elevated photography amid the largely exclusionary world of contemporary art with work from contributors including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Mel Ramos, and photographers Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Peter Beard, and Dorothea Lange

Working across notions of high and low culture, Newspaper imagined the printed page befitting the gallery wall — a notion that worked perfectly with its large size and unbound format for readers at home or viewers to the highly influential 1970 exhibition Information at the Museum of Modern Art. 

Newspaper, Artwork by Ruspoli-Rodriguez, Courtesy of Primary Information.

Newspaper, Artwork by Ruspoli-Rodriguez, Courtesy of Primary Information.

Newspaper, Artwork by Stephen Paley, Courtesy of Primary Information.

Newspaper, Artwork by Stephen Paley, Courtesy of Primary Information.


The Only Real Picture NEWSPAPER

As fate would have it, artist Steve Lawrence and photographer Peter Hujar first met while cruising on Christopher Street in 1965. That same year, they entered an open relationship and began living together in Hujar’s East Village apartment. It was a fortuitous sign of things to come at the outset of their respective careers. But while Hujar’s legacy has been well preserved, Lawrence has largely fallen into obscurity — until now, with the recent publication of Newspaper

Newspaper brings together all 14 issues for the first time, along with Marcelo Gabriel Yáñez’s meticulously researched timeline chronicling the behind-the-scenes creation of this revolutionary periodical. Published at a time when the underground press was at its peak, Newspaper sat comfortably at the intersection of art, photography, and queer culture alongside magazines like Andy Warhol’s Interview, Rags, and Gay Power

Newspaper, Artwork by Maurice Hogenboom Courtesy of Primary Information.

Newspaper, Artwork by Maurice Hogenboom Courtesy of Primary Information.

Newspaper, Artist Unknown, Courtesy of Primary Information.
Newspaper, Artist Unknown, Courtesy of Primary Information.
Newspaper, (l) Artwork by Peter Hujar, (r) Artist Unknown, Courtesy of Primary Information and © Estate of Peter Hujar.
Newspaper, (l) Artwork by Peter Hujar, (r) Artist Unknown, Courtesy of Primary Information and © Estate of Peter Hujar.

Attuned to the revolutionary spirit of the times, Newspaper responded and reflected to the moment in which each issue was made. A few months after the Stonewall Uprising, Newpaper published its fifth issue. For the cover and centerfold, artist Richard Bernstein — the mastermind behind Interview’s iconic covers — created hypnotic nude portrait collage of Warhol Superstar Candy Darling. One of the only nudes of the fabled trans icon, the composite image is rather tongue in cheek, daring viewers to confront their own preconceived ideas — while also beautifully illustrating the mag’s new tag line: “The Only Real Picture NEWSPAPER.” 


In a space were words otherwise do not exist, it’s the perfect invitation to do with that what you will. With an eye to letting the images speak for themselves, Newspaper reads like The Family of Man on ‘shrooms. Breaking through conventions, tropes, and clichés with a knowing wink, Newspaper reenvisioned the relationship between the image, the printed page, and the gallery wall, secure in the knowledge that the line between high and low culture was both arbitrary and counterintuitive.

Newspaper, Artwork by Peter Hujar, Courtesy of Primary Information and © Estate of Peter Hujar.
Newspaper, Artwork by Peter Hujar, Courtesy of Primary Information and © Estate of Peter Hujar.
Newspaper, Artwork by Ann Douglas, Courtesy of Primary Information.
Newspaper, Artwork by Ann Douglas, Courtesy of Primary Information.
Newspaper, Artist Unknown, Courtesy of Primary Information.
Newspaper, Artist Unknown, Courtesy of Primary Information.

Newspaper is published by Primary Information, 416 pages, $40.00.

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