NYC Events and Exhibitions: March 4 – March 10, 2016


This week: art fairs and pop-up shows, the last weekend for the Firewall cafe, a jazz musician who is part of the Asian American jazz movement, a talk about Chinese painting, door gods, and a conversation with a curator from the Brooklyn Museum.

Coming up:

Edward Yang’s (杨德昌) A Brighter Summer Day 《牯嶺街少年殺人事件》, one of our favorite films, screens at BAM March 11 – 14.

On March 21, New York Foundation for Arts will hold its first Mandarin Doctors’ Hours, a program to help develop visual artists, performing artists, film and video makers, writers, and anyone whose work crosses disciplines.  Appointments, like all doctor visits, are needed so book early.

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.

Chinese Queer/Feminist Activists on Collective Future, an event brings two generations of queer and feminist activists together for a dialogue on the current landscape of Chinese queer/feminist movement, as well as their versions of collective future will take place on March 23.

MOCA’s and Queens Library’s new series Living Memory: The Culture and Heritage of Chinese New Yorkers .

We add talks, films, 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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Update: Shen Yun Performing Arts will be at Lincoln Center, if you’re into that sort of thing.

This week’s events

1) Chen Dongfan: Punk Bookstore Opening Reception – See below for exhibition description.

Friday, March 4, 6 PM
Square Peg Gallery, 385 Warburton Avenue, Hastings-on_Hudson, NY


2) Thoughts on Classical Chinese Paintings – Professor Xu Baiyi, Director of the Institute of Classical Chinese Paintings at Jilin University, China and a specialist in painting the scenes of the vast expanses of the Northeast Plains of China. He will focus his talk on how to appreciate classical Chinese paintings and illustrate with his own paintings.


1. 中國繪畫的標準問題;這一點直接影響到人們如何欣賞中國的繪畫,也直接的影響到從事中國繪畫者的創作思維。 2. 中國畫的審美問題;創作與習作,表現與筆墨之間有很多問題在我們欣賞和創作中往往被混淆,特別是有人把筆墨技巧的運用當作中國畫的本質來看待,這一點大大的影響到人們對中國畫的認知和學習。 3. 簡談創作體會;通過近30年的長期探索,對中外美術史的研究,深入實際通過大量的寫生整理,總結出東北平原的審美特性,並建立起與之相對應的繪畫語言系統。開創出東北平原冰雪繪畫的面貌。


Sunday, March 6, 2 PM
China Institute, 40 Rector Street
Free, but RSVP requested


3) 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!  Part of the New York International Children’s Film Festival.

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

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

Sunday, March 6, 10:45 AM
IFC Center

4) Jon Jang: The Sounds of Struggle – Composer and pianist Jon Jang (born:Hu Jianliang (胡健良)) who is active Asian American jazz movement and specializes in music which combines elements of jazz and Asian musics gives a talk in the series Music from the 1960s Black Liberation Movement to the 1980s Asian American Movement.

Jang will also teach a master class on Monday, March 7 at 9:15 PM

Tuesday, March 8, 6:15 PM
Room 701C, Dodge Hall, Columbia University


5) Current Intellectual Trends in China – Youyu Xu, Visiting Professor of Philosophy, The New School in a talk
moderated by Andrew J. Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science, Columbia University

Wednesday, March 9, 12 PM
Room 918, International Affairs Building, Columbia University


6) Curators in Conversation: Eugenie Tsai– Brooklyn Museum curator Eugenie Tsai talks to Herb Tam, Curator and Director of Exhibitions at MOCA as part of MOCA’s Curators in Conversation series.

Wednesday, March 9, 6:30 PM
Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre Street
$12/Adult; $8/Senior and Stude; Free/MOCA Members

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

Ongoing Films and Shows

In addition to the Chinese movies below, Chloe Zhao’s debut feature Songs My Brother Taught Me, which premiered at Sundance earlier this year will be at Film Forum for a theatrical run March 2 – 15, with the filmmaker present at the 7 PM screening on March 4.  Variety says the film is a “very low-key portrait of life on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation…[whose] poetic minimalism is atmospheric, with eventual emotional payoff in some incisively written scenes and a surprisingly effusive wrap-up.”

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

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.
Chinatown Soup, 16B Orchard Street


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

Current Art Exhibitions

This weekend, countless galleries will be showing at The Armory Show, Volta NY, Pulse New YorkArt on Paper contemporary.   We don’t know what everybody is showing, but from a quick browsing of exhibitors, we identified a few artists of Chinese descent who are being exhibited:

At Volta NY (Pier 90, 3/2 – 3/6), Galerie Division (Booth A05) presents works by Taiwanese Canadian artist An Te Liu; Nunu Fine Art (Booth E12) shows works and video from Taiwanese artist Hsu Che-Yu; and Wei-Ling Gallery (Booth D19) shows Malaysian artist Ivan Lam.

Klein Sun Gallery is at Art on Paper (Pier 36, 3/3 – 3/6) with works by Mao Yu, Shi Jinsong, Guo Mengyao, Shao Yinong, and Ren Han.

The Armory Show (Piers 92 and 94, 3/3 – 3/6) which had a focus on China 2 years ago, this year has one China-based exhibitor, INK Studio which is showing Zheng Chongbin’s new series of paintings and a brand-new version of his acclaimed environmental video installation, Chimeric Landscape (2015).

We’ll let you know if we see any more when we visit the fairs.

Other short shows this weekend include:

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

Save As… (Bunker Gallery, 3/3 – 3/6) which includes Rosalie Yu’s “Embrace in Process”, a series of 3D printed sculptures that reveal the seemingly interminable feeling of vulnerability brought on by an embrace.

New longer term shows that we are adding to the exhibition calendar

1) HER Gaze: An Exhibition of Contemporary Women Artists from Taiwan (Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, 3/14 – 3/30) – The renowned 20th century British feminist writer Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) wrote in the collection of essays, A Room of One’s Own (1929), that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”  She plainly pointed out that as long as a woman can maintain her independence, she can fulfill her creative desires.  The eight female artists from Taiwan in this exhibition curated by Josiane Lih-Huei Lai, were all born between 1980-1989, more than 100 years after Woolf. They are not burdened with much baggage from the past. Growing up in the age of greater gender equality, the female artists of this generation do not deliberately discourse on feminist issues.  Rather, they are more concerned about the society, the environment and their own life experiences.  Their style and choice of medium are also more diverse and unconventional.

Artists include: CHANG Chia-Ying (b.1982), CHANG En-Tzu (b.1983), Joyce HO (b.1983), HO Szu-Wei (b.1985), HUANG Hai-Hsin (b.1984), HSIEH Yi-Ju (b.1983), YEN Yu-Ting (b.1989), and HSIAO Chu-Fang (b.1980). It is an opportunity to explore the styles and focus of these young artists from Taiwan.


2) Yi-Husan Lin – A Chicken and a Dog, They Walk (Jeffrey Stark, 3/6 – 4/1) – An exhibition of new work by Yi-Hsuan Lin. The exhibition, his first solo show in New York, consists of three paintings and a group of sculptures, will be on view from March 6 through April 1.

Arranged in a militaristic formation on the gallery floor, Yi-Hsuan Lin has assembled a small army of mosquitoes. His insects are not immediately recognizable as such: hand-molded and unadorned with varnish or paint, their lumpy limbs and misshapen wings are stockier than those of their petulant counterparts. Rendered stationary in concrete, these peripatetic and plague-carrying figures are anchored to the ground. Lin’s mosquitoes cannot annoy or buzz, but rather stand vigilant in rank, approximating a static swarm.

Lin describes the mosquito as a poetic analogue for his presence in the work. Drawing heavily on autobiographical experience, Lin works to develop a system of referential imagery pulled directly from his life. In this body of work, Lin contends with the time he has spent in Sao Paolo, where he currently resides. A constant witness to impoverished communities and systematic injustice, Lin began to relate to the figure of the mosquito: a frustrating, nearly invisible nuisance, that has little capacity to help those in need. Radically alone, much as he understands the figure in Camus’s Myth of Sisyphus to be, Lin worked to redeem the single mosquito with which he identified. No longer a buzzing, irritating presence, his group of mosquitoes stands at the ready, poised to march forward.

Alongside his army of mosquitoes, Lin also presents three commanding paintings on paper. Lin’s hand and history are equally as present here as they are in his sculptures, and they work to establish a gestural focus and a lyrical quality to his imagery. Lin’s private iconography, legible as pictographs, though never didactic, serves as a launching pad for his formal experiments in paint. Suggestively composed with seemingly abstract structures, the works convey a certain legibility, but forestall simple interpretation. Much like Lin’s transformed mosquitoes, his paintings ask for pause and attention: a mindful walk towards an unknown future, instead of a frenzied run on an overdetermined path.


3) Chen Dongfan – Punk Bookstore (Square Peg Gallery, 3/4 – 4/3) – Once moving, now stationary, the Punk Bookstore embodies qualities that seem to be diametrically opposed. Although at times emerging alternately, while at others existing in unison, there is no sense of contradiction. The Punk Bookstore embodies a certain “spirit”, a state of being with which he aspires to align himself.


Closing soon:

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)

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

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)

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

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)

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

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)

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)

HER Gaze: An Exhibition of Contemporary Women Artists from Taiwan (Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, 3/14 – 3/30)

Yi-Husan Lin – A Chicken and a Dog, They Walk (Jeffrey Stark, 3/6 – 4/1)

Chen Dongfan – Punk Bookstore (Square Peg Gallery, 3/4 – 4/3)

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: Da Vinci bust, Dafen Oil Painting Village by Cory Doctorow, licensed through Creative Commons