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The Funk & Wag from A to Z

Mel Chin, Nick Flynn (Contributions by), Mary Jo Bang (Contributions by), Jen Bervin (Contributions by), Terrence Hayes (Contributions by), Ishion Hutchinson (Contributions by), Michael Klein (Contributions by), Genine Lentine (Contributions by), Ben Marcus (Contributions by), Tamalyn Miller (Contributions by), K. Silem Mohammad (Contributions by), Rick Moody (Contributions by), Valzhyna Mort (Contributions by), Kristin Prevallet (Contributions by), Claudia Rankine (Contributions by), Haun Saussy (Contributions by), Barry Schwabsky (Contributions by), Ravi Shankar (Contributions by), Eleni Sikélionòs (Contributions by), Lili Taylor (Contributions by), Catherine Wagner (Contributions by), C. D. Wright (Contributions by)


List Price: 85.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


This striking, oversized book, designed to evoke encyclopedias, is a highly creative amalgam of collage with a political bent and poetry. From 2011 to 2012, American artist Mel Chin (b. 1951) extracted all of the images from a twenty-five-volume set of Funk & Wagnall’s Universal Standard Encyclopedia (ca. 1953–56) and began visually re-editing. Thousands of images rendered by photomechanical reproduction that served a populist, mid-century encyclopedia are reconfigured with 21st-century hindsight and idiosyncratic connections that convey social and artistic commentaries. Surrealism, humor, sarcasm, politics, history, and beauty permeate these sometimes raucous, often confounding, but consistently stunning images. Over 500 black-and-white collages are accompanied by twenty-five poems, one per encyclopedia volume, commissioned by Chin and author Nick Flynn specifically for this publication. Writers range from the well-known to the surprising. The Funk & Wag from A to Z offers mischievous fun with pointed commentary and hilarity.

The Menil Collection, 9780300204506, 328pp.

Publication Date: July 15, 2014

About the Author

Mel Chin is an artist who has been practicing for more than thirty years and making work that is wide-ranging, cross-cultural, and multidisciplinary, touching on politics, identity, ecology, surrealism, poetry, and science.