NYC Events and Exhibitions: February 26 – March 3, 2016


It’s the last week to see the deeply personal Zhang Hongtu retrospective at Queens Museum and the humorous drawings of Chinese illustrator Tango at Carma.  A few other things are closing; so, be sure to check the listings below.

Two of China’s biggest movies ever are screening in New York: Monster Hunt and The Mermaid; NYU hosts a symposium about the current morals, ethics, and zeitgeist of China under Xi Jinping; a panel talk about internet censorship in China; a talk with Tuo Wang; MOMA’s Doc Fortnight continues with a film about a Tibetan village’s pilgrimage; Annie Chen sings with her septet; lost Chinatowns of the West…

Two more things not listed below are:

The Armory Show runs from March 3 – 6.  Ink Studio, a Beijing-based gallery and experimental art space will be among the many exhibitors.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2: Sword of Destiny《卧虎藏龙:青冥宝剑》is now available on Netflix and select iMax screens around the US

Coming up:

The Queens World Film Festival features local Chinese and Chinese American filmmakers.

Film Society at Lincoln Center and MoMA’s series New Directors/New Films includes two Chinese full length films and a short film.

Asia Week is coming in mid-March.

MOCA and Queens Library at Flushing kicks off a new series Living Memory: The Culture and Heritage of Chinese New Yorkers .

We add talks, films, performances, performances, exhibitions, featuring or relating to Chinese, Taiwanese, diasporic artists and topics to our event and ongoing exhibition calendars as we learn of them.

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This week’s events

1) True, Good, Beautiful (真善美): Politics & Forms of Virtue in Xi Jinping-Era China – The politics of virtue have once again come to dominate public discourse in China as Xi Jinping’s government pursues the most far-reaching anti-corruption campaign of recent decades, demoting and punishing party officials and aggressively suppressing “subversive” authors and activists. At the same time, Chinese citizens have been seeking truth, virtue, and beauty in a variety of texts, practices, and sites. Confucian ritual, Christianity, Buddhism, as well as medical and psychological self-help, doctrines of “positive thinking,” have all proliferated.

The phrase zhen, shan, mei–here translated as “true, good, beautiful”–encapsulates total goodness, a phrase used in everything from self-help literature to soap-opera television, associated with both idealism and naivete. We use it to open a discussion across the bounds of languages and disciplines, on the politics and economics of the forms of virtue in contemporary China.

One highlight is the screening of LBT activist Jing Zhou and Shi Tou film We Are Here  《我们在这里》 at 12:30 PM

Synopsis: What happens when 300 lesbians from around the world attend the largest United Nations conference? How did two busloads of lesbians headed to an underground nightclub help spark the birth of a lala (LBT) movement in China? At the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, the first ever lesbian tent at an UN NGO Forum was created. At the tent, ideas were shared, connections were made, identities were assured … with a growing emergence of energy for change.

Friday, February 26, 10 AM – 6 PM
239 Greene Street, 8th Floor
Free, but registration required


2) Creative Hacktivism – A discussion about Internet censorship in China and international hacktivism in its many creative forms: constructing virtual networks; implementing collateral freedom; creating research, journalism, infographics, development, and design.


Jason Q. Ng, Research Fellow at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab; Lecturer, Columbia University SIPA; and a data analyst at Tumblr. He is the author of Blocked on Weibo and a research consultant at China Digital Times where he develops censorship monitoring.

Dan Phiffer, programmer and artist based in Brooklyn working on projects that use computer networks as a raw material. Dan collaborated to build the technology that runs FIREWALL Cafe. He is a Research Fellow at Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism and works at Mapzen.

Sisi Wei, an investigative journalist, designer and developer at ProPublica. Her work has ranged from investigating which U.S. colleges saddle students with debt to monitoring how often China blocks international news outlets.

– Josh Bronson works closely with the founders of, the organization behind FreeBrowser, as well as on uProxy, a censorship circumvention tool which also powers part of the FIREWALL experience. Previously, he was a senior software engineer for Lantern.

Facebook event page

Friday, February 26, 7:30 PM
Orbital, 155 Rivington Street
Free, but RSVP requested


3) Paths of the Soul (Kang Ringposhe) – A group of Tibetans of all ages and from different families join together to make a pilgrimage from their home village to Lhasa, a treacherous 2,000-kilometer trek at high elevations. Each makes the spiritual journey for their own reasons—one man, now elderly, may never have another opportunity, and a younger man seeks to change his fate. Over the course of an arduous journey that requires prostration after every few steps, they encounter many obstacles—a broken tractor, snow, exhaustion, sickness, a birth—but the ordeal never breaks their communal resolve. This unique blend of fiction and documentary was shot with nonprofessional actors over the course of a year.

2015. China. Directed by Zhang Yang. 115 min. In Tibetan; English subtitles

Screened as part of MoMA’s Doc Fortnight 2016.

Saturday, February 27, 8 PM
Sunday, February 28, 4 PM
$12/Adult; $10/Senior; $8/Student; Free/Member


4) Annie Chen Septet – Jazz vocalist and composer Annie Chen’s septet incorporates many different types of music into a modern jazz setting, with influences from traditional Chinese, gospel, classical, middle-eastern, and even alternative rock. It features extensive improvisation and strong arrangements to support Annie’s beautiful compositions and her powerful voice.

Saturday, February 27, 8 PM
Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing
$16/General Admission; $10/Member and Student


5) Little Door Gods 3D 《小门神》– Door Gods are traditionally placed as ornaments to ward off evil, but in Little Door Gods, these ancient characters come alive in a stunning 3D, cross-dimension adventure. The Spirit World is facing unemployment: with humans caring less and less about the Gods, the currency of belief is dwindling and their world is in disarray. The threat is very real for Door Gods Yu Lei and Shen Tu, who decide to prove their worth is by entering the human realm. Their unconventional plan leads to some tumultuous — and hilarious — results. While Yu Lei seeks to conquer a ferocious monster, Shen Tu finds purpose with a small family struggling to keep their delicious noodle shop afloat. The fate of the ancient world (and an ancient soup recipe) is at stake!

Read about the film’s connection to Alibaba and about its development in Variety.

Gary Wang, 2016; 107 min
In Chinese with English subtitles

Saturday,February 27, 12:45 PM
SVA Theatre, 333 W 23rd Street


6) Monster Hunt 3D 《捉妖记》- In the fantastical world of Monster Hunt, humans have long been at odds with their monster neighbors. The monsters, equal parts cuddly-cute and creepy-crawly, are on the brink of extinction at the hands of human hunters. When an action-packed escape finds the pregnant Monster Queen crossing paths with hapless young man Tianyin, an accidental gestation migration occurs. Unexpectedly carrying the unborn prince, Tianyin is forced to join the headstrong huntress Xiaolan to protect the monster throne. A monster hit in China, Monster Hunt gleefully combines thrilling action, off-the-wall gags, and clever animation to spawn a brand new genre: the Monster/Fantasy/Martial Arts movie.

Screens as part of the New York International Children’s Festival.

Raman Hu, 2015; 111 min
In Chinese with English subtitles

Sunday, February 28, 3:30 PM
Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas, 260 W. 23rd Street


7) Celebrating Monkey Year 2016 An Afternoon of Chinese Theater – Chinese American Arts Council sponsors this program produced by Alan Chow which includes:

– Havoc in Heaven: Monkey King Stealing Magical Peaches
– The Legend of the White Snake: First Sighting on the Bridge

The role of monkey in “Havoc in Heaven” will be played by the 70-year-old actor Yulin Fang – a celebrating Chinese Opera artist. Exactly 12 years ago, Mr. Fang also played the same role, the Monkey, at the New Year celebration festival held by World Journal. That festival was covered and well received by the mainstream media. Today, 12 years later, Mr. Fang will be once again on stage to play his best.

In “The Length of the White Snake”, the white snake will be played by producer Alan Chow Yulin Fang plays her love interest; Dano, a rising young opera artist, will play the role of her maid. This year, we are most fortunate to invite Ling Yan Xun, who represents one of the most famous Chinese Opera lineages “Xun Pai”, as the theatrical consultant.

Saturday, February 27, 2:30 PM
Chinese Community Center Theater, 62 Mott Street


8) 456 Forum ::: Artist Talk by Chung (Fanky) Chak – In conjunction with his solo exhibition, Looking for Gold Mountain, Lost Chinatowns in the western United States, Chak talks about the exhibition and his work.

Sunday, February 28, 5:30 PM
Gallery 456, 456 Broadway


9) Shen Wei Dance Arts – Shen Wei Dance Arts celebrates its 15th-anniversary season with a program that illuminates the synergy between Shen Wei’s visual and choreographic creations. Explore Shen Wei’s creative process through selections from his dances—Connect Transfer, Collective Measures, and a new work commissioned by BAM—and a discussion moderated by Guggenheim curator Alexandra Munroe.

Sunday, February 28, 7:30 PM
Monday, February 29, 7:30 PM
Guggenheim Museum
Sold out


10) Exposure Paranoia  A pop up show of artist Li Tingyu‘s Exposure Paranoia series. 

Monday, February 29
137 Marcus Garvey Blvd, #1


11) RU TALK: Tuo Wang Screening and Conversation with Herb Tam – Herb Tam, curator and director of exhibitions at the Museum of Chinese in America engages with the New York based Chinese artist Tuo Wang for a special screening of a recent body of work realized in part during his residency at RU. Wang’s multidisciplinary practice is often balanced between performance and film. In his discussion with the artist, Herb Tam will review Wang’s process that combines interview, non-linear editing and research on literature and cinema to construct a maze of melodrama.

Wednesday, March 2, 6:30 PM
Residency Unlimited, 360 Court Street #4, Brooklyn


12) Exile 5.42 放逐|放卒 5.42 – In early 2015 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 6 prisoners took hostage of the warden and successfully won the attention from the public, after the convicted former president was given the compassionate release. The 6 prisoners did not attempt to escape, but rather chose another path leading to tragedy, after making their statements to the society.

Exile 5.42 deconstructs this true incident to question the current criminal justice system.

Thursday, March 3, 7:30 PM
Dixon Place, 161 Chrystie Street
$15/Advance; $18/Door

Ongoing Films and Shows

1) The Mermaid 《美人鱼》– Stephen Chow’s latest absurdist comedy is about a businessman who falls in love with a mermaid who was sent to kill him.  While the movie is the biggest film ever in China and worldwide, Sony who purchased US distribution rights does not seem to be promoting it.

Review by the South China Morning Post

Opens Friday, February 19 at AMC Empire 25


2) FIREWALL, a pop-up Internet Cafe + Art Project – FIREWALL is a socially engaged research and interactive art project designed to foster public dialogue about Internet freedom. Video and installation artist Joyce Yu-Jean Lee, in collaboration with artist and technologist Dan Phiffer, invites residents and tourists of NYC to commune over free tea and Wi-fi at Chinatown Soup, a creative space on the border of New York City’s Lower East Side. FIREWALL enables participants to simultaneously search images on both Google in the U.S. and Baidu in China to investigate online censorship and manipulation of information between these two countries. In this cooperative performance, Lee explores a rapidly developing web culture, the nuances of language translation, and the notion that everything can be found on the Internet.

February 9 – March 6.  Reception February 21.
Chinatown Soup, 16B Orchard Street
Free [updated]


3) Mountains May Depart 《山河故人》 – The plot of Jia Zhangke’s new film is simplicity itself. Fenyang 1999, on the cusp of the capitalist explosion in China. Shen Tao (Zhao Tao) has two suitors—Zhang (Zhang Yi), an entrepreneur-to-be, and his best friend Liangzi (Liang Jin Dong), who makes his living in the local coal mine. Shen Tao decides, with a note of regret, to marry Zhang, a man with a future. Flash-forward 15 years: the couple’s son Dollar is paying a visit to his now-estranged mother, and everyone and everything seems to have grown more distant in time and space… and then further ahead in time, to even greater distances. Jia is modern cinema’s greatest poet of drift and the uncanny, slow-motion feeling of massive and inexorable change. Like his 2013 A Touch of Sin, Mountains May Depart is an epically scaled canvas. But wherethe former was angry and quietly terrifying,the latter is a heartbreaking prayer for the restoration of what has been lost in the name of progress. A Kino Lorber release.

Read Aliza Ma’s interview with Jia Zhangke for Film Comment in which he talks about Pet Shop Boys, his connection with music, cinematography, changes in China, and his relationships with family and wife Zhao Tao.

At Film Society Lincoln Center


4) IP Man 3 《叶问3》– Donnie Yen ignites the screen in a return to the role that made him an icon – as Ip Man, the real-life Wing Chun grandmaster who mentored Bruce Lee. In this explosive third installment of the blockbuster martial arts series, when a band of brutal gangsters led by a crooked property developer (Mike Tyson) make a play to take over the city, Master Ip is forced to take a stand. Fists will fly as some of the most incredible fight scenes ever filmed play out on the big screen in this soon-to-be genre classic.

Reviews from The Hollywood Reporter and A.V. Club

At AMC Empire 25

Current Exhibitions

Just added and opening:

1) Clapback 2. Gently Weeps (Sleep Center, 2/28 – 3/13) – To return fire (
CLAPBACK is an exhibition series curated by Rui Lin. In the exhibition’s series of events, two artist-curators, Blake Hiltunen and Hao Ni, will participate in a short-term showcase of their current works in progress. The program will feature an open critic session, led by artist collective UNBAG, between the two participants and the audience.

In this exhibition, Hiltunen and Ni are focusing on the discourse of the distortion of bodily experience and the gap between the body and the imagined – delivering objects that reflect the _____ of the 2010s.

Opening reception 2/28, 7 – 10 PM


2) Spring/Break Art Show 2016: 4RL (Skylight at Moynihan Station (421 8th Ave), 3/1 -3/7) – 4RL features multimedia projects that occupy and activate the space between “equal” and “equivalent.” Copy+Pasting is more sensitive, more permeable—to context, to motive, to technical restraints—than one might initially assume. In this framework, a perfect reproduction does not exist. There can be no two of the same; the reproduction is always, somehow, original.

Curated by Nati Hyojin Kim and Kat Astrophical Lee [Kat JK Lee]

Magali Duzant
Kat JK Lee
Xiaoshi Vivian Vivian Qin
Katie Torn


Closing soon:

Chung Sum (Fanky) Chak (翟松森) – Looking for Gold Mountain (456 Gallery, 1/29 – 2/26)

Phoenix Gallery Associate Members 2016 (Phoenix Gallery, 2/3 – 2/27)

Aboveground-40 Moments of Transformation Chinese Feminist Photo Exhibition (Skybridge Art Space, The New School, 2/13 – 2/27)

The Real Thing (Flowers Gallery, 1/28 – 2/27)

Lucky in Love: Traditional Asian Wedding Dress Exhibition Opening Reception (Flushing Town Hall, 2/14 – 2/28)

Tango – Wake Up! (Carma Asian Tapas, 2/6 – 2/28)

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

Catalyst (Queens Museum, 10/3/15 – 2/28/16)

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

Ze Dong – Uneventful Duration (Miyako Yoshinaga, 2/11 – 2/20)

Wei Xiaoguang – Humble (Fresh Window, 1/22 – 2/21)

Chung Sum (Fanky) Chak (翟松森) – Looking for Gold Mountain (456 Gallery, 1/29 – 2/26)

Phoenix Gallery Associate Members 2016 (Phoenix Gallery, 2/3 – 2/27)

Aboveground-40 Moments of Transformation Chinese Feminist Photo Exhibition (Skybridge Art Space, The New School, 2/13 – 2/27)

The Real Thing (Flowers Gallery, 1/28 – 2/27)

Lucky in Love: Traditional Asian Wedding Dress Exhibition Opening Reception (Flushing Town Hall, 2/14 – 2/28)

Tango – Wake Up! (Carma Asian Tapas, 2/6 – 2/28)

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

Catalyst (Queens Museum, 10/3/15 – 2/28/16)

Spring/Break Art Show 2016: 4RL (Skylight at Moynihan Station (421 8th Ave), 3/1 -3/7)

Clapback 2. Gently Weeps (Sleep Center, 2/28 – 3/13)

Cai Dongdong (蔡东东) – Fountain (Klein Sun Gallery, 2/18 – 3/19)

Zhong Biao (钟飙) – The Other Shore (彼岸) (Klein Sun Gallery, 2/18 – 3/19)

Martin Wong: Human Instamatic (11/4/15 – 3/13/16) (extended)

Fu Xiaotong (付小桐) – Land of Serenity (寂净之地) (Chambers Fine Art, 2/11 – 3/26)

SUB URBANISMS: Casino Urbanization, Chinatowns, and the Contested American Landscape (Museum of Chinese in America, 9/24 – 3/27/16)

Chinese Style: Rediscovering the Architecture of Poy Gum Lee, 1923-1968 (Museum of Chinese in America, 9/24/15 – 3/27/16)

HATCH Series x Spaces (Spaces, 2/18 – 3/18)

The Eccentrics (Sculpture Center, 1/24 – 4/4)

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: Pi Huang Club at Shanghai/New York: Future Histories 2 at Asia Society, January 13, 2016. Photo by Andrew Shiue.