NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: March 11 – March 17, 2016

Tango – Mao and Yayoi Kasuma

This week: MOCA’s and Queen Library’s new series on Chinese Americans; Robert Lee leads a tour of the Bronx Museum of Art’s Martin Wong exhibition; the revival of Fou Gallery’s UNTITLEDdialogue series; an exhibition featuring female Taiwanese artists; films about Amis peoples of Taiwan; restless youth in Taiwan in the early 60s (a sort of Rebel Without a Cause); Jackie Chan fighting the Roman Empire, a family’s immigration from Hong Kong to LA; door gods; monsters; and the harsh life in Inner Mongolia; and new exhibition openings.

Coming up:

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 will feature local Chinese and Chinese American filmmakers.

Fou Gallery’s upcoming exhibition A Piece of Paper includes Chang Yuchen, Xinyi Cheng, Michael Eade, Lin Yan, Zhangbolong Liu, Morgan O’Hara,  Wei Jia, Zhe Zhu.

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.

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.

If you’re interested in contributing to Beyond Chinatown, whether writing an article, contributing photos or artwork to be featured with our weekly events and exhibitions listing, letting us know about an event, send an email to beyondchinatown@gmail.com.

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This week’s events

1) 太陽的孩子(Wawa No Cidal) – The film tells the story of Hualien Aborigines (Amis) reviving their terraced fields. Although few people have had such an experience, the film resonates with the audience. It gives an honest account of situations that Taiwanese share, and, without yelling about it. (Taipei Times)

The Hollywood Reporter praises this Taipei Film Festival audience award-winner: “While based on the much-used trope of prodigal descendants returning to their roots and regaining their long-submerged identities, the film thrives through its measured, authentic depictions of a rich, organically mutating culture in crisis” and adds that it is “one small but very good step toward the development of a cinema by and about communities still stuck in Taiwan’s social margins.”

Dir.: Cheng Yu-chieh, Lekal Sumi, 2015; 99 min.
In Mandarin, Amis and Taiwanese

Friday, March 11, 7:30 PM
Taiwan Center, 137-44 Norther Boulevard, Flushing
$10/Admission.  See event page for ticket details.

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2) Dragon Blade 《天将雄师》– A massive success in its native China, Dragon Blade is action spectacle on a grand scale. Featuring an international cast led by Jackie Chan, John Cusack and Academy Award winner Adrien Brody, Daniel Lee’s period epic thrusts us back to the fight for the Silk Road, and to the violent collision of East and West. When corrupt Roman leader Tiberius (Brody) arrives with a giant army to claim the Silk Road, Huo An (Chan) and his group of trained warriors teams up with an elite legion of defected Roman soldiers led by General Lucius (Cusack) to maintain the delicate balance of power in the region. To protect his country and his new friends, Huo An gathers the warriors of 36 ethnic nations to fight Tiberius in a battle for the ages.

Dir. Daniel Lee. 2015, 126 mins.
Digital projection

Friday, March 11, 7:30 PM
Museum of the Moving Image
$12/Adult; $9/Student and Senior; $7/Child

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3) Martin Wong Exhibition Tour Led by Robert Lee – Executive Director of the Asian American Arts Centre leads this tour of this exhibition of the works of Martin Wong, a Chinese American painter who “played a pivotal role in the Lower East Side (LES) arts scene in the 1980s/90s, a period in which he created an oeuvre immortalizing the vibrancy of a resilient, artistic, and multi-ethnic community facing displacement.”

Saturday, March 12, 1 PM
Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse
Free

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4) 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

Saturday, March 12, 1 PM
SVA Theatre, 333 W 23rd Street
Not known at press time

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5) Nearly There: Point(s) of Reference Reception – A reception for current group show featuring the works of Michelle Carolina Levie, Jess Wu-Ohlson, Eduardo Palma, I-Hsuen Chen, Ta-Wei Huang, and Alicia Valencia. Through the presentation of these artists we propose an examination of the cross sections of hyper-globalization, specifically its interwoven relationship with artistic productions, and the varying narratives these changing dynamics produces. This group exhibition aims to explore the factors that molds current dominant discourses and its intricate interaction with the personal/micro-narratives, bringing to light the diverse perspectives present in the featured artists’ works and practices.

Saturday, March 12, 1 PM
Spaces, 31-00 47th Avenue, 3rd Floor
Free

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6) UNTITLEDdialogue: 绘素计划 Almost Art Project – In this 16th installment of its UNTITLEDdialogue series, Fou Gallery welcomes to Sammi Liu (刘亦嫄) and Frank Maresca to talk about “outsider artists” (artists who are neither formally trained nor institutionalized) and the development of outsider art in China and United States

Saturday, March 12, 4 PM
Fou Gallery, 410 Jefferson Avenue, #1
$10/Online RSVP; $10/At Door

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7) 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.

Saturday, March 12, 5:30 PM
SVA Theater, 333 W. 23rd Street
Not known at press time

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8) SCREENING SERIES NO. I – In the Name of the Media – 456 Forum presents this program, featuring artists from diverse artistic and cultural backgrounds, works that display artists’ strong concerns over and through media, examining the specific issues that are revealed, dodged and created in today’s media environment.  Their efforts, instead of settling the audience into any firmly framed media discourse, should only encourage us to question and explore our positions in the vast universe of mediated realities.

Sunday, March 13, 6:30 PM
Gallery 456, 456 Broadway
Free

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9) Living Memory: The Culture and Heritage of Chinese New Yorkers – MOCA and Queens Library present Living Memory: The Culture and Heritage of Chinese New Yorkers, a new series of programs that offer local Chinese residents opportunities to preserve their stories, traditions, and other cultural contributions, and share them with the greater New York City community.

At this inaugural event, Natalie Milbrodt, Director of the Queens Memory Project will conduct an oral history interview with renowned New York-based contemporary artist Zhang Hongtu, followed by a panel discussion,moderated by Beatrice Chen, Director of Public Programs at MOCA, on the shifting identity of the Chinese community in New York City with Councilman Peter Koo, New Yorker editorial staff member Jiayang Fan, and sociologist professor Peter Kwong, and food writer Kian Lam Kho.

Monday, March 14, 6 PM
Queens Library at Flushing. 41-47 Main Street, Flushing
Free, but registration required

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10) A Thirst for Chinese Wine – For wine enthusiasts and China enthusiasts alike, this program presents a unique opportunity to learn about China’s wine market.  Wondering what varieties are grown in China and are popular there? Thinking about exporting your wine to China?  Should you consider importing any wine from China?   China Institute welcomes two individuals taking very different approaches to tackling China’s wine market: Chris Ruffle of Treaty Port Vineyards
and author of A Decent Bottle of Wine in China and Noel Shu of Regale Ruby Wines and author of China Through A Glass of Wine, a California winemaker who exports to China.

Wednesday, March 16,  6 PM
China Institute, 100 Washington Street
$25/Non-member; $20/Member

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11) HER Gaze: An Exhibition of Contemporary Women Artists from Taiwan Opening Reception – Opening reception for a new exhibition at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office featuring eight female artists who grew up in the age of greater gender equality and are part of a generation that 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.  Organized by independent curator Josiane Lih-Huei Lai, HER Gaze showcases nearly 20 paintings by eight female artists: 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.

Tuesday, March 15, 6 PM
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, 1 E. 42nd Street
Free

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12) Living Memory: Uncovering My Chinese American Family Story with Amy Chin – Join Amy Chin for a behind the scenes look at how she researched and uncovered her family’s century-old history in America. Amy grew up in the Bronx where her family, like many others of that era, owned and operated Chinese laundries. For decades, Amy’s family carefully saved records, objects, and other personal artifacts of their immigration history. In piecing it together for a museum exhibition, Amy also delved deeply into government archives and other repositories to reveal more secrets of the family’s past.

Wednesday, March 16, 6:30 PM
Queens Library at Flushing. 41-47 Main Street, Flushing
Free, but registration required

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13) Reunification – As he examines the legacy of his family’s immigration to Los Angeles from Hong Kong—fraught with vulnerabilities and betrayal and splintered with economic and emotional hardships — filmmaker Alvin Tsang experiences a renewed sense of hope offered up by his return to Hong Kong (left behind at age 9) and the delicate images of a family once intact.

Dir. Alvin Tsang, 2015 85 min.

Screens as part of the Queens World Film Festival.

Thursday, March 17, 4 PM
Secret Theater, 4402 23rd Street, Long Island City
$12/General Admission; $9/Seniors and Students

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14) Behemoth 《悲兮魔兽》– Political documentarian Zhao Liang draws inspiration from The Divine Comedy for this simultaneously intoxicating and terrifying glimpse at the ravages wrought upon Inner Mongolia by its coal and iron industries. A poetic voiceover speaks of the insatiability of desire on top of stunning images of landscapes (and their decimation), machines (and their spectacular functions), and people (and the toll of their labor). Interspersed are sublime tableaux of a prone nude body—asleep? just born? dead?—posed against a refracted horizon. A wholly absorbing guided tour of exploding hillsides, dank mine shafts, cacophonous factories, and vacant cities, Behemoth builds upon Zhao’s previous exposés (2009’s Petition, 2007’s Crime and Punishment) by combining his muckraking streak with a painterly vision of a social and ecological nightmare otherwise unfolding out of sight, out of mind.

Part of MoMA and Film Society Lincoln Center’s New Directors/New Films series.

Directed By Zhao Liang, 2015, 91 minutes
China/France
Mandarin with English subtitles

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15) From Jingdezhen to the Forbidden City: Porcelain for the Imperial Household – Virginia Bower, Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, will deliver a lecture on imperial Chinese porcelain from the collection of the Palace Museum in Beijing, discussing the artistry and ceremonial use of these artworks. Professor Bower did her graduate work in Chinese art and archaeology at Princeton University. Her special interests are Chinese ceramics and the arts and culture of the early imperial dynasties.

Thursday, March 17, 6:30 PM
China Institute, 100 Washington Street
$10/Non-members; $8/Members


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) A Brighter Summer Day 《牯嶺街少年殺人事件》– In a new restoration, BAM presents one of the towering masterpieces of the 1990s, Edward Yang’s breathtaking epic charts the coming-of-age of a teenage boy as he grows up amidst political turmoil, warring street gangs, and the encroaching influence of American pop culture in 1960s Taiwan.  The film’s novelistic sweep—its expansive running time, sprawling cast, masterful accumulation of details—creates a richly-realized, intoxicating portrait of young love, rock ‘n roll, and teenage abandon.

Martin Scorsese said the film is “one of the greatest films of a great filmmaker, who left us far too early.”

March 11 – 14
BAM Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn
$14/General Admission; $7/Members

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2) 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

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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

Asia Week New York runs from March 10 – 19.  Auction houses and dealers will exhibit their works and host talks.  Take a look at this roundup from artdaily.org and Asia Week’s calendar for more information. [Updated]

One place that stands out is M. Sutherland Fine Arts which will exhibit Hung Hsien’s paintings from March 12 – 19 with an open house on Saturday and Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM.  We visited the gallery in the past and found it to have a good appreciation of classical technique and imagery in modern times.

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Opening and newly added:

1) James Wong – Invasion of the Pods (Gallery 456, 3/10 – 4/15) – James Wong, a Chinese American self taught artist has been working non-stop for the past thirty years on his Future War marker drawings. This exhibition features his recent large multi panel works and the proliferation of pods– small flying ships, some that are robots, others with pilots.  These works range from two feet to eight feet long in a narrative comic strip format.

With an oeuvre of some six thousand five hundred drawings to date, he is immersed in his invented worlds at war.  Each military force is complete with its own logo, transportation fleet, war machines, arsenal, and personnel. Intense color, bold design and minute linear details are the calling card of James’ work. Drawings are created first with a black marker outline and templates, then followed by intense coloring into the wee hours.  In Wong’s artwork, the iconography of model airplanes, comic books, and architectural blue print drawings merges with game design, avatars and war technology.

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2) Qiu Xiaofei – Double Pendulum (Pace Gallery, 25th St, 3/11 – 4/23) – Qiu’s work is concerned with the expression of psychological and cultural forces through art, painting especially. The artist spent approximately the first decade of his career working in a representational style, painting objects from his personal and familial history to address his relationship with the past. Continuing to interrogate these same ideas, Qiu shifted to an abstract style circa 2012, exploring the potential of gestures, forms and colors to express the social subconscious.

In Double Pendulum, Qiu continues in this vein. Using palette knives, sprays guns, brushes, and other implements, Qiu creates improvisational works, reacting to and against drips, sprays and forms as they materialize on the canvas. His choice of acrylic paint—quicker drying than oils—forces him to work at a fast speed, which contributes to the looseness of his gestures and the negotiations between forms, suspending the paintings in an air of unresolved feeling. His process and speed are a means to translate his unconscious—which he construes as a repository for various cultural, social and political factors that have shaped him—onto the canvas, arriving at a purer form of self-expression untainted by rational thinking.

Although his work veers toward abstraction, figures and carefully rendered three-dimensional solids—cubes, spheres, cylinders and cones—are interspersed into the works. For Qiu, these forms evoke the rigors of his technical training and suggest an aesthetic entrenched in artificial rationalism. In other works, the artist collages mixed media elements onto or near the paintings, forcing these concrete and tangible objects to reconcile with the flatness of the picture plane. These pairings of opposite underscore the tension between the rational and irrational and further highlight the expressive psychology of his paintings.

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3) MARKING 2: Drawings by Contemporary Artists from Asia (Art Projects International, 3/3 – 4/3) – The exhibition features drawings by nine contemporary artists whose approaches to drawings are as diverse as their backgrounds. The exhibition offers conceptual investigations, studies of abstract line and form, and imagery as varied as invading soldiers and floral patterns. The works are the result of a range of activity from simply applying ink to paper, to three dimensional interventions, to unorthodox approaches to drawing.

Includes:

Jian-Jun Zhang’s China Chapter sculptures that are alterations to Chinese antiques. The three dimensional interventions add angles, elongation and other reshaping to the actual antique pot.

Zheng Xuewu’s orchestration of complex compositions by actively and freely transferring, one-by one, many hundreds of images onto paper using hand-carved woodblocks, cast metal printing type, stamps and found objects as printing tools. Often, Zheng finishes a work by painting into it by hand.

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Closing soon:

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)

Visit the exhibition calendar (http://ow.ly/pxe9o) for details for the current shows listed below.  As always, check the museum or gallery’s website for hours of operation.

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

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

Nearly There: Point(s) of Reference Reception (formerly HATCH Series x Spaces) (Spaces, 2/18 – 3/18)

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)

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)

MARKING 2: Drawings by Contemporary Artists from Asia (Art Projects International, 3/3 – 4/3)

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

James Wong – Invasion of the Pods (Gallery 456, 3/10 – 4/15)

Qiu Xiaofei – Double Pendulum (Pace Gallery, 25th St, 3/11 – 4/23)

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: Tango – Mao and Yayoi Kasuma.  Photo by Hansi Liao.