Tuesday, July 17, 2012

491

Vol. 1, #1, nd

Vol. 1, #1, nd (inside cover)

Vol. 1, #1, nd (pgs. 2-3)

Vol. 1, #1, nd (pgs. 14-15)

Vol. 1, #2, 1973

Vol. 1, #2, 1973 (inside cover)

Vol. 1, #2, 1973 (10-11)

Vol. 1, #3, 1973

Vol. 1, #3, 1973 (inside cover)

Vol. 1, #3, 1973 (pgs 4-5)

Vol. 1, #3, 1973 (pgs 12-13)

Vol. 1, #3, 1973 (pgs 14-15) 

491

This email interview between Stephen Perkins and Gregg Puchalski, editor of 491, took place between May, 2011-2012. 491 was published in 16 issues between 1973 - c. 1980.
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Stephen Perkins: Can you give some background as to how 491 started, its length of publication, how you came to be publishing a dadazine in Forest Part, Georgia, and why did you have a collage on the cover of #1 with the title "Portrait of File Mag."?
Gregg Puchalski: Sorry taking so long to get back to you, just started working on a film and
 finally getting around to answering your email. 
I had moved from my hometown of Lackawanna, NY, to Forest Park, a suburb of Atlanta in 1972.
 A visiting professor at the University of Buffalo introduced me to Mail Art.
491 was my version of Francis Picabia's Dadazine 391 which was taken from Alfred Stieglitz's 291, and it was published from the early 70's to about 1980 (16 issues). The File magazine cover I believe had some connection to a cover they did, I'll look and see if I can find it. I also at one point went to their offices in Toronto but no one was there, so I covered their door in Dada Degrees. I had printed degrees making you an official Dadaist.
SP: I wonder who the visiting professor was who introduced you to mail art?  By the time of the first issue of 491 (1973) you had clearly established a substantial network of correspondents, I assume you were sending out other kinds of work to them, but how did you come up with idea of a magazine, and was this before or after the first issue of Vile had come out (1973-1983)?  What was it about both mail art and Dada that you responded to and do you see 491 as an extension of the Bay Area dadazine scene or something totally separate?

GP: I don't remember her name it was a sculpture class, I'll see if I can find her name. She didn't do Mail art but had a lot of correspondence from Whitson and a few others mostly from Montana, and the West coast people. I was sending out other things before 491, mostly under the name Cow Studios. A lot of zines were popping up File, Vile, Quoz, etc..., I liked the idea of putting out a zine and then sending it on to others. So it was more than just my artwork but a collection of a lot of (other) artist(s). I was definitely an extension of the Bay Area dadazine scene.

I was very much influenced by Dada, one of my favorite movements and the mail art scene gave you a chance to send it all over the world not just have it shown in one gallery somewhere. And have works from all over the world come to you. It's hard to imagine the mail art scene surviving today with the world the way it is. The crazy stuff that would come to your mailbox from all over the world, envelopes painted, stickered and looking very strange were works of art in themselves.

SP: What was your first introduction to Dada? 

GP: I found myself attached to Dadaism and Surrealism in art books/classes.

SP: Had you met any of the San Francisco Dada group by the time you started 491, if not did you meet them later?

GP:  I never got to meet any of them.

SP: Concerning the zine, how did you view it — as an alternative gallery, a networking tool, a mail art project..? 

GP:  I think it worked as all three.

SP: How many copies did you make per issue and how was it distributed?

GP: I made probably about 50 copies of each, sending out one to each artist that was in that issue, then
to other artists and saved a few for shows.



SP: Had you seen copies of 391 or any other of the historic Dada periodicals before you started 491? If so, what was it about them that made you want to do one of your own? If not what was it about the dadazines of the 1970s that made you want to do one of your own?
GP: I saw some of the art from 391 in books on Dada, and Alfred Steiglitz's photos and learned about his Gallery 291. It just seemed to be the next step was to put out a zine "491." I think it was a combination of the two, seeing the Dada artists' work and then the dadazines of the 1970's that influenced me to want to be part of that scene. Putting out the zine had a feeling of being a bigger part of the Mail Art world than just sending out my own works.