Top Stories was a prose periodical published from 1978 to 1991 by the artist Anne Turyn in Buffalo, New York, and New York City. Over the course of twenty-nine issues, it served as a pivotal platform for experimental fiction and art through single-artist issues and two anthologies. The entire run of Top Stories is collected and reproduced here across two volumes.
Top Stories primarily featured female artists, though in Turyn’s words a few men “crept in as collaborators.” Although primarily “a prose periodical” (as its byline often stated), the issues varied in form and aesthetics, pushing the boundaries of what prose could be and, from time to time, escaping the genre altogether. In fact, the only parameters required for participants were that the periodical’s logo and issue list be included on the front and back covers, respectively.
A great deal of the works are short stories by the likes of Pati Hill, Tama Janowitz, and Kathy Acker, whose Pushcart Prize–winning “New York City in 1979” appeared for the first time in book form as part of the series. Constance DeJong contributes “I.T.I.L.O.E.,” a widely unavailable work that features the artist’s trademark prose and is sure to please fans of her novel, Modern Love. The largest issue of the periodical is undoubtedly Cookie Mueller’s “How to Get Rid of Pimples,” which consists of a series of character studies of friends interspersed with photographs by David Armstrong, Nan Goldin, and Peter Hujar altered with freshly drawn blemishes.
Top Stories also celebrates less conventional literary forms. Issues by Lisa Bloomfield, Linda Neaman, and Anne Turyn take the form of artists’ books, juxtaposing image and text to construct tightly wound, interdependent narratives. Jenny Holzer and Peter Nadin present a collaborative work in copper ink comprised of truisms by Holzer on corporeal and emotional states and drawings by Nadin of abstract bodies. Janet Stein contributes a comic, while Ursule Molinaro provides a thorough index of daily life (and the contempt it produces) consisting of entries that were written just prior to lighting a cigarette.
Top Stories remains vitally defiant, an essential witness to what was the downtown literary and art-world underground.
Primary contributors include Kathy Acker, Laurie Anderson, Sheila Ascher, Douglas Blau, Lisa Bloomfield, Linda L. Cathcart, Cheryl Clarke, Susan Daitch, Constance DeJong, Jane Dickson, Judith Doyle, Lee Eiferman, Robert Fiengo, Joe Gibbons, Pati Hill, Jenny Holzer, Gary Indiana, Tama Janowitz, Suzanne Johnson, Caryl Jones-Sylvester, Mary Kelly, Judy Linn, Micki McGee, Ursule Molinaro, Cookie Mueller, Peter Nadin, Linda Neaman, Glenn O’Brien, Romaine Perin, Richard Prince, Lou Robinson, Janet Stein, Dennis Straus, Sekou Sundiata, Leslie Thornton, Kirsten Thorup, Lynne Tillman, Anne Turyn, Gail Vachon, Brian Wallis, Jane Warrick, and Donna Wyszomierski.
David Armstrong, Nan Goldin, JT Hryvniak, Peter Hujar, Nancy Linn, Trish McAdams, Linda Neaman, Marcia Resnick, Michael Sticht, and Aja Thorup all make appearances as well, contributing artwork for the covers or as illustrations.
Anne Turyn (b. 1954) is a photographer based in New York. Turyn’s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Kunsthalle Bern, Denver Art Museum, Walker Art Center, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Published by Primary Information, 954 pgs, 21.6 × 14 cm, 2 Paperback books in Slipcase, 2022