Events and Exhibitions: November 6 – November 12, 2015

China Taiwan Sisters

This week features many events by local artists and curators.  Screen 介面 and Chinatown Soup present a number of events; Casey Tang looks at the “historical and international spread of industrial capitalism”; House of Flying Boobs is a “conceptual cabaret of collaborative projects among visual, performance, and performing artists. Opera, theatre, burlesque and contemporary dance”; and The New York Chinese Opera Society hosts its annual Cultural Exchange Festival.  Two talks explore lesser known topics — the history of Chinese Americans who returned to China and contributed to the development of the Republic of China and the Soviet influence on Chinese painting.   Films include the first in China Institute’s series featuring the work of “fourth generation” of Chinese filmmakers, award-winning director Ruby Yang’s uplifting My Voice, My Life, and a film about a Taiwanese political activist.

There are seven new exhibition listings this week.  Among them are illustrations by Chinese American Gene Luen Yang whose American Born Chinese and Boxers and Saints, a graphic novel about the Boxer Rebellion, were both critically acclaimed; Samson Young’s multimedia interpretation of warfare and military action; and a sculptural look at man’s best friend.  We also listed three shows at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that draws from their permanent collection.  In the past we didn’t list them, but we wanted to show that some of the exhibits in the Chinese galleries at the Met are specifically curated and change.

I’ll be moderating a panel discussion about presenting and representing “Chinese-ness” in art at Klein Sun Gallery on November 10.  I hope you can join us for what is sure to be engaging conversation about a topic that is not neatly defined.

We’re so excited and humbled that this week we reached the milestone of having over 1,000 people follow us on Facebook.   Exhibition editor Hansi Liao’s coverage of Li Shuang’s “Marry Me for Chinese Citizenship” tote bag, our most viewed and shared article ever, put us over the 1,000 mark, but everyone helped get us there.  Thanks to everyone of you who are interested in what we share about arts, culture, and society from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and diasporic communities and in our coverage of events and exhibitions in New York.   Tell your friends about us, and if you are interested in contributing or have a tip for us, shoot us an email at  We welcome your feedback as we continue to grow and improve.

Coming up:

Tan Dun’s Water Passion After St. Matthew will have two performances at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on November 14.  The show is sold out, but the 7 PM performance will be broadcast live on Q2 Music.

Taiwan’s percussive U Theatre bangs at BAM for three performances from November 19 – 21.

We add listings to our one-time and short term event and ongoing exhibition calendars as we learn of them.  If you know of anything or would like to contribute photos or an article, shoot us an email at

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Coming up this week…

1) Su Beng, the Revolutionist 《革命進行式》 – A documentary movie about Su Beng, a pro-independence Taiwanese political activist, who has been called the “Che Guevera” of Taiwan.

Friday, November 6, 7:30 PM
Taiwan Center, 137-44 Northern Blvd., Flushing
$10/Advance; $15/Door


2) 2015 NYCOS Cultural Exchange Festival – The New York Chinese Opera Society (NYCOS) will present “The Ninth Annual Cultural Exchange Festival”, celebrating the aesthetics of Chinese opera as well as the cultural exchange between the Americans and the Chinese. NYCOS will also cooperate with the Confucius Institute at Pace University in the NYCOS Essay Award. Since 2007, the annual Cultural Exchange Festival includes essay awards, authentic Chinese Opera performances, free public lectures and calligraphy exhibitions.

This year’s Cultural Exchange Festival features “Phoenix Returns to Its Nest”, a Peking Opera classic. “Phoenix Returns to Its Nest” is a comedy which was first brought to the Peking Opera stage by Mei Lanfang in 1929. Mei was a highly honored and respected Peking Opera artist in modern history for successfully invigorating the rich traditions of Peking Opera in his performances. Xiao Di, a First-rank Chinese artist, will act the leading role in the performance at Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University.

Saturday, November 7, 2 PM
Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, Pace University, 3 Spruce Street, New York
Free, but donation suggested


3) Poren Huang – The Dog’s Notes Opening Reception – Opening for the New York stop of Huang’s sculptural works that connects man with his best friend.  See below for exhibition details.

Saturday, November 7, 4 – 6 PM
Williamsburg Art & Historical Center, 135 Broadway, Brooklyn
Free, but RSVP requested


4) Please Allow Microphone Access – Is having a voice the same as being heard, and is that the same as possessing power? These artists propose alternate forms of embodied potential, such as silence, breathing and stuttering. Join Screen 介面 and Chinatown Soup for the closing of “Face to Interface”, with work by Chris Fernald, JS Tan and Xiaoshi Vivian Vivian Qin, as they mark the closing reception with a set of raucous and robust performances that meditate on the problems of mediated voice.

Fernald will premiere The Feel in Myself (feeling myself), which adapts the heavy breathing of pop idols into an audio collage of the bubble gum life both haunting and haunted.

User testing for JS Tan and JJ Tan’s newly-launched web platform, Silent, will take place. Presented with as part of a marketing strategy with their agency Hello Velocity.

Qin will premiere the Socratic dialogue Do You Want to Immigrate to the Future?, which uses Google Translate. Developed with Jiao Ouyang and Qinyi Zhang.

Saturday, November 7, 7 PM
Chinatown Soup, 16B Orchard Street


5) Wang Dongling – Performance & Artist Talk – The renowned Beijing-based artist will execute his hallmark style “chaotic calligraphy”, which is based on the Heart Sutra, using photochemical paper and other alternative media. Followed by an artist talk in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art Forum, 4th Floor.

Presented as part of Asia Contemporary Art Week.

Saturday, November 7, 7:30 PM
Brooklyn Museum
$12/Adult; $7/Student & Senior; Free/MOCA Members


6) Salute to Tyzen Hsiao  – Taiwan Center hosts a classical music concert to highlight the works of Taiwanese composer Tyzen Hsiao.  Works by Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, Verdi, Beethoven, de Curtis, and Chopin will also be performed.

Saturday, November 7, 7:30 PM
Taiwan Center, 137-44 Northern Blvd., Flushing


7) My Voice, My Life 《爭氣》 – Oscar winning documentary filmmaker Ruby Yang’s newest film, which was the opening film at this year’s New York Asian Film Festival, follows an unlikely group of misfit students from four Hong Kong middle and high schools cast in a musical theater performance. From low self-esteem to blindness, each student confronts unique personal challenges in the process of developing his or her character. This moving and insightful film chronicles the trials and tribulations of a group of these underprivileged students as they go through six months of vigorous training to produce a musical on stage. A life-affirming journey of self-discovery and growth, the stories of these young people will challenge every parent, teacher and policy maker to reflect on our way of nurturing the young.

Sunday, November 8, 2 PM
Tribeca Screening Room, 375 Greenwich Street
$12/Adult; $7/Student & Senior; Free/MOCA Members


8) MOCACITIZEN: Chinese American “Returnees” – Born in New York City to Chinese immigrant parents in 1900, Poy Gum Lee and his family move to China in 1923. Armed with an architectural education from Pratt Institute, MIT, and Columbia University, he embarked on a professional career in China. Lee’s story is far from unique. Census and immigration statistics suggest that between 15 and 20 percent of all Chinese American citizens in the first half of the twentieth century left the United States for China, most of them under the assumption that they would never permanently return to the land of their birth. Charlotte Brooks, Chair of the Program in Asian and Asian American Studies at Baruch College, examines the important roles these Chinese American “returnees” played in shaping the Republic of China during this time of immense change in China.

Sunday, November 8, 2:30 PM
Museum Of Chinese In America, 215 Centre Street
$12/Adult; $7/Student & Senior; Free/MOCA Members


9) Casey Tang – Performance & Artist Talk – A dynamic multi-media presentation by the artist about his research into the historical and international spread of industrial capitalism, a conceptual basis for his latest filmic work Untitled (Rivers) (2015). With a live performance of the film’s score by composer Fernando Perez, followed by a QA session between Tang and Queens Museum Director of Exhibitions and Curator, Hitomi Iwasaki.

Sunday, November 8, 4 PM
Queens Museum
Free, but donation suggested for museum entrance


10) Chang Yuchen: How to Draw in China: Maksimov and the Academy – A performance on Soviet painting in China followed by a lecture on Soviet 1930s museology. These two lectures about art institutions in socialism offer a sober, optimistic alternatives to the shape of art institutions today. Academies and museums all over the world depend more and more on the market. The transformation of the art world into one more just and beautiful would requires a structural change: not just the way we make art, but also how we store, study and spread it. Together, Chang and Zhilyaev show how, respectively, technical training and radical museology could serve as models for a new institutionalism.

This program is part of Really, Socialism?! at Momenta Art. This exhibition endeavours to vision socialist realism at a point where socialism is no longer real—a political attempt is predicated on revisiting the aesthetic question of realism. How can we strive to imagine the real beyond our conditions?

Sunday, November 8, 5 PM
Momenta Art, 56 Bogart Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn

11) So, You’re a Big Deal? – In his first public presentation in the United States, Song Ta will screen and survey his performance work, which perverts administrative tactics like beauty contests, population censuses, or school tests—always twisting the official line but not overstepping it. The talk will be followed by a moderated discussion.

This event comprises one answer to SCREEN’s structuring question for Asia Contemporary Art Week 2015, “What Kind of Technology is Culture?” This technical perspective on the construction of culture proposes that culture formed the way an iPhone is built—through a procedure that can be generalized, replicated and even exported.

Sunday, November 8, 6:30 PM
Gallery 456, 456 Broadway


12) Presenting/Representing the Chinese Image – Klein Sun’s inaugural talk introduces the complex varied histories of Chinese aesthetic, via personal narratives.  Moderated by Andrew Shiue (founder of the contemporary culture site Beyond Chinatown), the discussion strives to break down how the Chinese image is and has been perceived throughout the last half century, from diasporic communities to institutional exhibitions and across generations.

Panelists include Zhang Hongtu (artist), Robert Lee (Asian American Arts Centre), Taliesin Thomas (AW Asia) and Samson Young (artist)

Monday, November 2, 6:30 PM
Klein Sun Gallery, 525 W. 22nd Street


13) Useless Man 《天津闲人》 – China Institute opens a four-film series with this film from Zheng Dasheng that energetically mixes a variety of cinematic and theatrical techniques in a rollicking yet increasingly dark satire about an idle schemer (Guan Xincheng) and the cast of rogues he conspires and wrangles with in 1937 Tianjian.  Zhen Zhang, Director of New York University’s Asian Film and Media Initiative, will introduce the screening.

Hollywood Reporter says of the film is “[a] brilliant technical tour-de-force, the Chinese art film Useless Man has such boundless energy and invention it can be forgiven being so rooted in local history and idiom that its story slips into obscurity for long patches.”

Thursday, November 12, 6:30 PM
China Institute in America, 100 Washington Street
$10/Non-members; $8/ for members.


14) House of Flying Boobs – A conceptual cabaret of collaborative projects among visual, performance, and performing artists. Opera, theatre, burlesque and contemporary dance that burrow into a bewildering range of topics: the force of capitalism in Europe’s financial and humanitarian crisis; the sexual and political agency of women from the age of myth and biblical tales to Surrealism and the Cultural Revolution; the fabrication of discourse in the artist interview format. Featuring Nadim Abbas, Orit Ben-Shitrit (video artist/choreographer), Rainer Ganahl, Mary Notari (activist/stage actress), Tuo Wang, Mo Zhou (theatre/opera director), among other musicians, designers, composers, and performers.

Thursday, November 12, 7:30 PM
Nuyorican Poets Cafe, 236 E. 3rd Street
$15/Advance; $20/Door

Ongoing Films and Shows

1) The Assassin 《刺客聶隱娘》 

Hou Hsiao-Hsien
2015 | 105 minutes | Taiwan/China/Hong Kong
Mandarin with English subtitles

A wuxia like no other, The Assassin is set in the waning years of the Tang Dynasty when provincial rulers are challenging the power of the royal court. Nie Yinniang (Shu Qi), who was exiled as a child so that her betrothed could make a more politically advantageous match, has been trained as an assassin for hire. Her mission is to destroy her former fiancé (Chang Chen). But worry not about the plot, which is as old as the jagged mountains and deep forests that bear witness to the cycles of power and as elusive as the mists that surround them. Hou Hsiao-hsien’s art is in the telling. The film is immersive and ephemeral, sensuous and spare, and as gloriously beautiful in its candle-lit sumptuous red and gold decor as Hou’s 1998 masterpiece, Flowers of Shanghai. As for the fight scenes, they’re over almost before you realize they’ve happened, but they will stay in your mind’s eye forever.

Best Director, Cannes Film Festival

Official selection: New York Film Festival

At IFC Center and Film Society Lincoln Center.


2) The Witness 《我是证人》– In this Chinese remake of the Korean film Blind, a blind girl and young boy accidentally become the witnesses to a rainy night kidnapping.  Their testimonies are entirely contradictory, but they collaborate to hunt down the murderer.

Opens at AMC Empire 25 on September 30.


Just added and opening:

1) Face to Interface (Chinatown Soup, 10/30 – 11/8) – Screen 介面‘s on/offline curatorial project investigates digital intimacy.  Works by Chris Fernands, JS Tan, and Vivian Vivian Xiaoshi Qin span the digital, the performative, and the exhibitionary, aims to bring a fuller body into the image. Mathematically, any f : X → Y, the arrow which transforms one domain into another is called an image. This kind of transformative relation has little to do with the problems of representation, and a lot to do with the fun of getting together.”

“Seeing has become noisier. Our stars are our images, and new constellations are being projected onto our eyes daily. Our tastes have become as networked as our means for expressing them, and in the process, domesticated.


2) Samson Young – Pastoral Music (Team Gallery, 11/5 – 12/20) – Hong Kong-based artist Samson Young makes his New York debut with a solo “multi-media exhibition that transmutes his own extensive research on military history into an amalgamative artwork in three cohesive parts”, the last of which “appropriates the language of musical notation to author military maps and maneuvers to be enacted in the event of an invasion of Hong Kong.”


3) The Art of Gene Luen Yang (Society of Illustrators, 11/10 – 12/23) – Boxers & Saints is a two-volume project taking place during the Boxer Rebellion which was fought on Chinese soil over 100 years ago. In the first volume, the Boxers, a group of poor, illiterate Chinese countrymen who develop powerful fighting skills, are the protagonists. In the second book,Yang writes from the point of view of their Chinese Christian enemies.

Yang states, “I wanted each volume to be distinct from the other.  Boxers is much longer, almost twice as long as Saints.  It’s my attempt at a comics version of a Chinese war epic, full of glory and color and bloody battle sequences.”

Boxers & Saints received numerous recognitions including the LA Times Book Prize and was nominated for a National Book Award. In this exhibit, Yang shares his process work from early sketches to final product.


4) Poren Huang – The Dog’s Notes (Williamsburg Art & Historical Center, 11/7 – 12/6) – In 2005, Poren Huang launched “The Dog’s Notes” sculpture series. He uses the dog as a creative starting point and each piece of work is suggestive of the human. About 90% of the works borrow from the dog to explore various human behaviors. Most people generally feel kindness toward dogs because of their ability to soothe. Therefore, Huang’s goal is to use the dog as a creative theme to convey positive traits such as self-confidence, courage, loyalty or innocence, and to provoke emotions and deeper thoughts.

5) Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 10/31/15 – 10/11/06) – Over the last forty years, the Metropolitan’s collection of Chinese painting and calligraphy has grown to be one of the greatest in the world. Replete with masterpieces dating from the Tang dynasty (608–917) to the present, the collection encompasses the vast historical sweep of the brush arts of China, from meticulous court painting to fiercely brushed dragons to lyrical paintings by scholars.This exhibition, presented in two rotations, will highlight the gems of the permanent collection in a chronological display, with an emphasis on works from the Song (960–1279) and Yuan (1271–1368) dynasties.


6) Chinese Textiles Ten Centuries of Masterpieces from the Met Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/15/15 – 6/19/06) – This installation, which explores the cultural importance of silk in China, showcases the most important and unusual textiles from the Museum’s collection. In addition to three rare pieces dating from the Tang dynasty (618–906), when China served as a cultural hub linking Korea and Japan to Central and West Asia, and ultimately to the Mediterranean world, the exhibition also includes eleventh- and twelfth-century tapestries from Central Asia, as well as contemporaneous Chinese examples of this technique.


7) Chinese Lacquer Treasures from the Irving Collection, 12th–18th Century (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/15/15 – 6/19/06) – This installation, which features all of the most important examples of Chinese lacquer in the Museum’s collection, explores the laborious techniques used to create scenes based on history and literature, images of popular gods and mythical and real animals, and representations of landscapes and flowers and birds.


Closing soon:

Helen Lee – Becloud (Agnes Varis Art Center, 9/16 – 11/7)

Lee Mingwei – Sonic Bloom (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 10/30 – 11/8)

Yu Lik Wai – It’s a Bright Guilty World (WhiteBox, 10/8 – 11/8)

Face to Interface (Chinatown Soup, 10/30 – 11/8)

Chen Wenbo (陈文波): The Fat Years《盛世华年》– (Klein Sun Gallery, 10/14 – 11/14)

Li Liao (李燎): Attacking the Boxer from Behind is Forbidden 《严禁在背后袭击拳手》(Klein Sun Gallery, 10/14 – 11/14)

MINIMAX (abastraction for lack of a better determination) (Bullet Space, 292 E. 3rd Street, 10/16 – 11/22)

Visit the exhibition calendar ( for details for the following shows below.  As always, check the museum or gallery’s website for hours of operation.

inToAsia: Time-based Art Festival – Architectural Landscapes: SEA in the Forefront (Queens Museum 10/3 – 10/31)

Willie Yao – Solo Exhibition (Carma Restaurant, 9/9 – 10/31)

The Brilliant Four Art Exhibition (Flushing Town Hall, 10/23 – 11/1)

Helen Lee – Becloud (Agnes Varis Art Center, 9/16 – 11/7)

Lee Mingwei – Sonic Bloom (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 10/30 – 11/8)

Yu Lik Wai – It’s a Bright Guilty World (WhiteBox, 10/8 – 11/8)

Face to Interface (Chinatown Soup, 10/30 – 11/8)

Chen Wenbo (陈文波): The Fat Years《盛世华年》– (Klein Sun Gallery, 10/14 – 11/14)

Li Liao (李燎): Attacking the Boxer from Behind is Forbidden 《严禁在背后袭击拳手》(Klein Sun Gallery, 10/14 – 11/14)

MINIMAX (abastraction for lack of a better determination) (Bullet Space, 292 E. 3rd Street, 10/16 – 11/22)

Chinese American Arts Council 40th Anniversary Show (Gallery 456, 10/30 – 12/4)

Zhang Huan – Let There Be Light (Pace Gallery, 11/30 – 12/5)

Poren Huang – The Dog’s Notes (Williamsburg Art & Historical Center, 11/7 – 12/6)

“Who is My Neighbor? NYC” (Walls-Ortiz Gallery and Center, 9/12 – 12/8)

Body Politics (Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, 10/15 – 12/11)

Samson Young – Pastoral Music (Team Gallery, 11/5 – 12/20)

Schutze Stone – One Buck Mobile Art Show #bigmoneybigart (mobile gallery, 10/24 – 12/23)

Zeng Fanzhi – Paintings, Drawings, and Two Sculptures (Gagosian Gallery, 11/6 – 12/23)

The Art of Gene Luen Yang (Society of Illustrators, 11/10 – 12/23)

SUB URBANISMS: Casino Urbanization, Chinatowns, and the Contested American Landscape (Museum of Chinese in America, 9/24 – 1/31/16)

Chinese Style: Rediscovering the Architecture of Poy Gum Lee, 1923-1968 (Museum of Chinese in America, 9/24/15 – 1/31/16)

Martin Wong: Human Instamatic (11/4/15 – 2/14/16)

Zhang Hongtu (Queens Museum, 10/18/15 – 2/28/16)

Chinese Textiles Ten Centuries of Masterpieces from the Met Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/15/15 – 6/19/06)

Chinese Lacquer Treasures from the Irving Collection, 12th–18th Century (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/15/15 – 6/19/06)

Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 10/31/15 – 10/11/06)

Lead image: “China & Taiwan: 2 sisters”  from Flickr user kattebelletje