Mel Chin’s latest installation The Funk and Wag From A to Z, curated by Ann Harithas, was first exhibited at the Nave Museum in Victoria, Texas. Chin uses images cut from a complete set of a 1954 edition of The Universal Standard Encyclopedia by Wilfred Funk, Inc., which he then recomposed into narratives and scenes saturated with messages that have social, political, and historical implications. Displayed from floor to ceiling, Chin’s collages use the photogravure illustrations of the encyclopedia and resemble the Dada technique of photomontage. The entirety of the installation Chin has created evocatively refashions the interior of the gallery and delivers a disorientating time-lapse relative to the space between historical and contemporary experience.
Mel Chin’s installation “The Funk and Wag From A to Z”, Station Museum of Contemporary Art, 2012
From Mel Chin’s installation “The Funk and Wag From A to Z”, “Masters of War”, Volume XX, No. 2, 2011 Excised printed pages from The Universal Standard Encyclopedia, 1954, by Wildred Funk, Inc., archival water based glue, imported artist paper, 17” x 23”
From Mel Chin’s installation “The Funk and Wag From A to Z”, “The String that Flies Cannot be Untied”, Volume XIV, No. 1, 2011 Excised printed pages from The Universal Standard Encyclopedia, 1954, by Wildred Funk, Inc., archival water based glue, imported artist paper 17” x 23”
Mel Chin was born in Houston, Texas, in 1951. He received his BA in art from Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1975. Since then, he has lived in Houston, New York, and North Carolina. He is internationally recognized as arguably one of the most important artists of his generation. He is known for his use of a broad range of media: art objects, temporary installations, video, film, television, cartoons, and permanent public sculpture. Since the 1970s, Chin has created artworks that join cross-cultural aesthetics with complex ideas that address political, social, and ecological issues.