Giant, designed to evoke encyclopedias, and printed on in rich blacks on thick ivory paper, this artist book guarantees hours “free and easy wandering” along with healthy doses of pointed commentary and hilarity.
In 2011 and 2012, the American artist Mel Chin (b. 1951) excised all the images from a complete 25-volume set of Funk & Wagnall’s Universal Standard Encyclopedia (ca. 1953–56) and began a visual re-editing. The result is The Funk & Wag from A to Z, with 524 volume-specific, precisely cut-and-pasted collages. Thousands of images rendered by photomechanical reproduction that served the words of a populist 1950s encyclopedia have been reconfigured with 21st-century hindsight and sardonic humor to make social and artistic commentaries. The resulting images are raucous and often confounding. Each of the encyclopedia volumes is accompanied by a poem, many of them experimental, commissioned by Chin and Nick Flynn specifically for this publication.
About the Authors Mel Chin has been creating socially engaged art for more than thirty years from his bases in Houston, New York City, and North Carolina. The touring retrospective Mel Chin: Rematch was organized by the New Orleans Museum of Art in 2014.
Nick Flynn has published several books of both poetry and prose, including his memoir Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (2004), which won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award. He is a professor University of Houston.
Poetry contributions by: Mary Jo Bang, Jen Bervin, Nick Flynn, Terrence Hayes, Ishion Hutchinson, Michael Klein, Genine Lentine, Ben Marcus, Tamalyn Miller, K. Silem Mohammad, Rick Moody, Valzhyna Mort, Kristin Prevallet, Claudia Rankine, Haun Saussy, Barry Schwabsky, Ravi Shankar, Eleni Sikélianòs, Lili Taylor, Catherine Wagner, C.D. Wright, Matvei Yankelevich, John Yau, Matthew Zapruder, and Rachel Zucker