NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: April 29 – May 6, 2016

Jia Jun Zhang

This week: a film and a talk about the Cultural Revolution; Taiwanese American food; traditional and contemporary works for traditional Chinese instruments; silk; Lang Lang’s love letter to New York; Kublai Khan; a filmmaker retraces his father’s escape from China in 1966; and new exhibition listings.

Coming up:

May 6 – May 22 – Yangtze Repertory Theatre stages Midnight Kill, an original play by Co-artistic Director K.K. Wong that is based on an actual murder story that occurred during the Cultural Revolution in a mountain hamlet that where he lived.

May 7 and 10 – Chinese contemporary literature events at China Institute.

May 12 – Crossing Borders: Seven Short Videos from China and India.

May 14 – Pipa virtuoso Min Xiao-fen performs her solo project Mao, Monk and Me as part of the New York Guitar Festival.

May 23 – Wong Kar-wai at MoMA

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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This week’s events

1) Win Son and Yumpling Pop Up Taiwanese Dinner with Cathy Erway – The second of two pop-up collaborations between Win Son and Yumpling, two Taiwanese food projects, and Cathy Erway, author of The Food of Taiwan: Recipes from the Beautiful Island, in anticipation of the grand opening of Win Son, a Taiwanese-American restaurant, in May 2016.  Read about it here.

This dinner menu will be joint effort between Win Son’s Trigg Brown and Yumpling’s Jeffrey Fann. Both have been developing their own Taiwanese food concepts for the past few years and have hosted several dinners throughout the city.

Friday, April 29, 6:30 PM and 8:30 PM seatings
Win Son, 159 Graham Ave, Brooklyn
$35/per person (drinks and gratuity excluded)


2) Chinese Music Ensemble of New York 55th Anniversary Concert –  This concert by the Chinese Music Ensemble of New York will feature traditional Cantonese music, contemporary works for chamber ensembles, and several large-scale works, including the premiere of two movements of the zhongruan concerto Mountain Rhythms 《山韻》. Additional highlights include an acclaimed guest soloist on the jinghu, a special commissioned arrangement of the zhonghu piece On the Prairie 《草原上》 for orchestra, and a guest vocalist accompanied by the orchestra.

Sunday, May 1, 3 PM
Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Music Center, 129 W. 67th Street
$25/General Admission; $15/Student


3) 50th Anniversary of The Cultural Revolution in China: Public Voices 9 – Learn about the Cultural Revolution in China on its 50th anniversary with The New School’s University in Exile Scholar, Professor Xu Youyu, and interlocutor Andrew Nathan (Columbia University)

Monday, May 2, 6 PM
Theresa Lang Student and Community Center, The New School, 55 W. 13th St.
Free, but registration required


4) China – The Red Sons: A Screening and Conversation with Zheng Shengtian – Beginning in 1966, China’s Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution was a mass movement that shook the foundations of Modern China to its core.  The movement’s ubiquitous presence deeply disrupted all aspects of Chinese society, and has had a lasting impact on Chinese culture that is still present today.

China Institute in collaboration with Asia Art Archive presents a screening of China – The Red Sons (1968, 47 mins), shot by Australian filmmaker Roger Whittaker during a trip to China in 1968 organized by the Australian Union of University Students.  One of the few documentaries made in China during the Cultural Revolution, the film offers a unique record of people’s daily lives in this period, featuring interviews with students, pupils, Red Guards and the late Anna Louise Strong.

Following the screening, renowned curator, Zheng Shengtian, and Jane DeBevoise, Chair of the Board of Directors, Asia Art Archive will host a discussion.

Tuesday, May 3, 6:30 PM
China Institute in America, 40 Rector Street
$5/Non-member; Free/Member (Event is sold out)


5) Lang Lang’s “New York Rhapsody” – One of the world’s great piano virtuosos honors New York’s shining musical legacy in an intimate evening of duets with Rufus Wainwright, Suzanne Vega, Regina Spektor, Andra Day, Lindsey Stirling, Sean Jones, Jerry Douglas, Lisa Fischer, Kurt Elling, and more

Together they render a vividly colored portrait of New York featuring songs that span Gershwin to Alicia Keys. Lang Lang’s ”New York Rhapsody” is a love letter to the city he considers his adopted home, set in the heart of Manhattan at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s gorgeous and intimate Rose Theater.

Tuesday, May 3, 8 PM
Rose Theater, 10 Columbus Circle
Tickets begin at $55


6) My Life in China – Filmmaker Ken Eng’s father would always tell his family the story about how he walked for 7 days and 6 nights before swimming for 4 hours to Macau to escape starvation in 1966. In 2007, Eng and his father retraced his father’s epic journey back to rural China to America in search of a better life.

Thursday, May 5, 6:30 PM
Museum Of Chinese In America, 215 Centre Street
Free, but RSVP required.  Sold out, but waiting list available.


7) Oriental Silk: Screening and Conversation – Oriental Silk (dir. Xiaowen Zhu, 2016, 30 min.) is named after the first silk importing company in Los Angeles. Lambent and wistful, this gorgeous film explores the worldview of its owner Kenneth Wong. As he goes through his daily routine, he talks about how the legendary store’s fortunes rose in close connection with the Hollywood entertainment industry, then fell with the proliferation of cheaper silk in the new global economy; how he himself came to be the owner of the shop and caretaker of the family legacy; and about his deep feelings for the shop, its history, and its future. Oriental Silk is a film about touch and tactility, about craft and value, about the colors of memory. The screening will be followed by a conversation with the director Xiaowen Zhu, Christina H. Moon (The New School), and Thuy Linh Tu (New York University).

Thursday, May 5, 6:30 PM
Department of Anthropology, Kriser Film Room, 1st Floor,NYU, 25 Waverly Place
Free, no registration required


8) China’s Great Emperors – Morris Rossabi, Senior Scholar and Adjunct Professor, Columbia University; Distinguished Professor of History, CUNY Queens College will talk about Khubilai Khan & the Yuan Dynasty.

Thursday, May 5, 6:30 PM
China Institute, 40 Rector Street
$15/Non-members; $10/Members (Full series: $75/Non-members; $50/Members)

Ongoing Films and Shows

1) A Touch of Zen 《侠女》– Complete and uncut 4k restoration of the classic 1971 wuxia film.

In 15th century China, toothily nerdy scholar and painter Shih Jun and his nagging mother live next to an abandoned fort reputed to be haunted – so who is that mysterious, beautiful Hsu Feng who’s moved in? – a ghost? And what is that stranger who wants his portrait painted really up to? And what about the doctor who won’t take money and is the blind fortune teller really blind? But a flashback to scheming and murder at the highest levels of the court starts the answers and the battles coming: the elaborate ambush at the fort that engulfs an entire assassination cohort, to the chortling delight of its unlikely strategist – until, he realizes, in the light of day, there are dead people here; the fight in the bamboo forest that took 25 days of shooting (its hollow was sunlit only a few hours a day); the fight through incredible rock formations and rivers cutting between up-rearing crags; and a final showdown in spectacularly godforsaken desert that leaves one opponent’s vision reduced to color negative, the other bleeding golden blood, a climax mystically Buddhist (Taiwanese writer/director Hu admitted that he himself was not Buddhist). Hu’s epic of wuxia (ancient martial arts), begun in 1969, entailed meticulous preparation and care – the fort took 9 months to get right, partly to let the overgrowing vegetation to grow in place; and an epic battle with the producer, who insisted it be released in two still-truncated parts; Hu only got it his way in 1975, when a nearly complete version was shown at Cannes, where it won the Grand Prize for Technical Achievement – and an apology from his studio heads. This new restoration of Hu’s complete 3-hour epic returns the exemplar and template of an entire genre to his original vision.

Dir. King Hu
In Mandarin, with English subtitles.
180 mins.

Film Forum 4/22 – 5/5


2) Finding Mr. Right 2: Book of Love 《北京遇上西雅图之不二情书》– Being the sequel of the hugely successful 2013 movie “Finding Mr. Right”, the pair will rekindle their romance and head to new and exotic locations in the U.S. and Europe. Both Chinese actor Wu Xiubo and actress Tang Wei return to reprise their original roles.

At AMC Empire 25.


3) Chongqing Hotpot 《火锅英雄》- After a preamble involving masked bankrobbers, our Chongqing potbolier settles into the story of three old schoolfriends (and former boy-band wannabes, naturally), now business partners who want to offload a dud restaurant built into one of the titluar city’s warren of underground caves. Embarking on some illegal renos, the trio accidentally blasts a hole through the floor of the bank next door; rather conveniently for Liu Bo (Chen Kun), who’s racked up a huge gambling debt with the psychopathic Brother Seven. (The Georgia Straight)

The Hollywood Reporter says “Chongqing Hot Pot is a crowd-pleaser, hitting all the right beats and loaded with stylistic conventions familiar to anyone who has seen Ning’s Crazy Stone or anything by Park Chan-wook.”

At AMC Empire 25


Finally, at the NYC Independent Film Festival at the Producers Club, 358 West 44th Street:

Art/Experimental Films Session #4, April 30, 12 PM

Take the High Line – The viewer is taken for a surreal ride on the High Line in Manhattan. It loosely incorporates elements of Alice in Wonderland, beginning with chasing a rabbit and ending with Alice transforming into a born again flower child.

Dir. Peter Meng
5 Min, United States, 2015

Current Art Exhibitions

Opening and newly added:

1) HER Gaze: An Exhibition of Contemporary Women Artists from Taiwan (Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, 5/3 – 5/25) – This exhibition featuring 20 works from 8 female artists returns for the month of May.  Read our review here.


2) Qian Wu – The First Solo Exhibition of Qian Wu’s Artworks (2011-2016) (Gallery 456, 4/29 – 5/20) – Qian Wu was born in Xiamen City, Fujian Province, China. His interest in art began early in life and start learning to paint since the age of six. He graduated from the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, and the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University. From 2012 to 2015, he also studied at the Art Students League of New York. He currently lives and works in New York City.

Qian Wu - '2011-01'

2011-01, Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas, 30″ x 20″ each (Set of 2)


3) Christophe Pouget + Hung Yi – Crossroads of the World (Emmanuel Fremin, 4/7 – 5/21) – In this joint exhibition, Yi creates animated an personified interpretations of animals based on symbols from Taiwan which are traditionally believed to be lucky. He decorates the whimsical sculptures with traditional Taiwanese patterns and texts that are aligned with good fortune.

Hung Yi - '5 Fingers Mountain'

Hung Yi – 5 Fingers Mountain. Courtesy of Emmanuel Fremin Gallery.


Closing soon:

Face to Face: Regina Bogat, Wang Keping (Gallery Zurcher, 3/10 – 4/29)

Contemporary Photography Asian Perspectives (Laurence Miller Gallery, 3/10 – 4/30)

HerStory Chinese American Women — 165 Years of Struggle and Success (Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, 4/1 – 4/30)

MARKING 2: Drawings by Contemporary Artists from Asia (Art Projects International, 3/3 – 4/30)


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.

Face to Face: Regina Bogat, Wang Keping (Gallery Zurcher, 3/10 – 4/29)

Contemporary Photography Asian Perspectives (Laurence Miller Gallery, 3/10 – 4/30)

HerStory Chinese American Women — 165 Years of Struggle and Success (Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, 4/1 – 4/30)

MARKING 2: Drawings by Contemporary Artists from Asia (Art Projects International, 3/3 – 4/30)

Woods (Cloud Gallery, 3/30 – 5/14)

Qian Wu – The First Solo Exhibition of Qian Wu’s Artworks (2011-2016) (Gallery 456, 4/29 – 5/20)

Christophe Pouget + Hung Yi “Crossroads of the World” (Emmanuel Fremin, 4/7 – 5/21)

HER Gaze: An Exhibition of Contemporary Women Artists from Taiwan (Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, 5/3 – 5/25)

Taca Sui (塔可) – Steles – Huang Yi Project 《碑錄—黄易计划》 (Chambers Fine Art, 3/31 – 5/28)

Chinese Textiles Ten Centuries of Masterpieces from the Met Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/15/15 – 6/19/16)

Chinese Lacquer Treasures from the Irving Collection, 12th–18th Century (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/15/15 – 6/19/16)

Cao Fei (MoMA PS1, 4/3 – 8/31)

Stage Design by Ming Cho Lee (Museum of Chinese in America, 4/28 – 9/11)

Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 10/31/15 – 10/11/16)

Lead image: China Chapter #60 and China Chapter: New Village Pot by Jian-Jun Zhang. Courtesy of Art Projects International, New York