NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: May 7 – May 12, 2016

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This week: Four events with four different performance artists; renowned contemporary Chinese writers come to New York; playwright Henry David Hwang; the opening of Midnight Kill, Yangtze Repertory Theatre’s latest production; a panel discussion about collecting Chinese art; films juxtaposing India and China; and new exhibition listings.

Coming up:

May 13 – One Day We Become Whites Chapbook Launch Reading.

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

May 20 – Taiwanese puppets.

May 21 – A documentary about artist Mu Xin.

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.

We post frequently on our Facebook page.   So check the page for links we share and get a heads up on events before we include them in these weekly posts.  Take a look also at our Instagram page.

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.


This week’s events

1) Open Letter to NYC: Reunification – Between faded family photographs, old video footage, and interviews collected through the years, Alvin Tsang’s Reunification bears the look and feel of a documentary that’s taken decades to produce. Perhaps it required all that time for Tsang to fully process his family’s history and confront his own emotionally turbulent upbringing. For the audience though, that passing of time is key to the film’s powerful portrayal of tireless emotional reconciliation. When his mother and two siblings first immigrated from Hong Kong to Los Angeles in the early 1980s, six-year-old Alvin was forced to stay behind with his working, and consequently absent, father. Spending the following three years often alone in an empty apartment, he longed for his family’s reunification. However, upon Alvin and his father’s arrival to America, that dream was utterly and permanently shattered under circumstances the filmmaker has yet to fully comprehend to this day.

Q&A with Alvin Tsang follows the screening.

May 6, 6:30 PM
Rooms 290 and 291, Shepard Hall, 259 Convent Ave, City College of New York
Free

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2) Huisi He and NoodleRice Studio at EOArts – Huisi He’s “Traps” is a body endurance performance art piece that consists of a series of contemporary dance movements and gestures that are linked to phrases that are given to the audience to say. When a certain phrase is said, a certain action will be executed by the artist while she stands with her eyes closed in the center of a floor filled with mousetraps that the audience has placed.   She always believes that art chose her when she tried to find freedom of expression. In the past years of art practice, making art has been a healing process for her to let go the negativity of her past experience in China.  The performance illustrates the outside obstacles and internal struggles that the artist has experienced when pursuing her dreams.

Preview the performance here.

NoodleRice Studio, a collective born in 2008 working at the intersection of film/video and live performance,  will present “Untitled 6”, an interactive performance art piece by Yao Zhang and Brian O’Mahoney. This piece is a surreal body transformation scene that attempts to explore the way the human body is understood in contemporary culture. NoodleRice is a collective born in 2008 working at the intersection of film/video and live performance. The art group was first conceived by Yao Zhang, a set designer for stage and film productions, and Liang Guo, a film director and cinematographer, while studying at the Beijing Film Academy. The founders of NoodleRice are dedicated to combine their knowledge and love for film and live performance, based on their observation and thoughts about human condition, society, politics, nature, space, time and all the things that exist in this universe.

Friday, May 6, 7:30 PM
Rabbithole Projects, 33 Washington Street, DUMBO, Brooklyn
Free

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3) The Nanjing Atrocities: Crimes of War – What is the relationship between war and war crimes? How does our understanding of World War II change when we confront the history of the war between Japan and China?

In this collaboration with Facing History and Ourselves, this workshop with Juan Castellanos introduces their new resource, The Nanjing Atrocities: Crimes of War, which details the events unfolding in China and Japan in the years leading up to World War II in East Asia, and the Japanese occupation of the city of Nanjing, China, in 1937. We will examine the choices individuals and groups make in the midst of war and issues of judgment and accountability during episodes of collective violence and in their aftermath.

Saturday, May 7, 9 AM – 4 PM
China Institute, 100 Washington Street (entrance at 40 Rector Street)
$10/Admission

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3) Collecting and Archiving: The Stories Behind Chinese Contemporary Art Panel Talk – Panel talk featuring Sylvain Levy (DSL Collection) and Jane DeBevoise (Asia Art Archive) . The discussion will be moderated by Eli Klein, with an introduction by Beili Wang.

The panel talk precedes the opening of the exhibition “New voices: a dsl collection story,”which features works by nine artists: Chen Wei, Gao Lei, Gao Weigang, Hou Yong, Hu Weiyi, Li Wei, Wang Yuyang, Wang Sishun and Zhao Zhao. Curated by Beili Wang, the exhibition is inspired by the dsl collection, a body of work procured by Sylvain and Dominique Levy that documents the multiple narratives of art and culture in contemporary China.

Saturday, May 7, 11 AM
Klein Sun Gallery, 525 W. 22nd St.
Free, but RSVP requested

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4) New Voices: a dsl Collection Story Opening Reception – Read about the exhibition in the Current Art Exhibitions below.

Saturday, May 7, 12 PM
Klein Sun Gallery, 525 W. 22nd St.
Free
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5) Celebrated Voices of Contemporary Chinese Literature – China Institute has partnered with the Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation to bring some of China’s best-selling and most beloved writers to New York in two back-to-back events: Ouyang Jianghe: Sichuan’s Master Poet and Writers Roundtable: Liang Hong, Li Juan, and Yan Ge.

1:00 PM – 2:15 PM: Ouyang Jianghe: Sichuan’s Master Poet
Ouyang Jianghe belongs to the “third generation” of twentieth-century Chinese literature and is one of the so-called “five masters from Sichuan.” This event will feature a reading of his works in both English and Chinese, followed by a moderated discussion. This event will be conducted in English.

2:15 PM – 3:00 PM: Reception

3:00 PM – 4:15 PM: Writers Roundtable: Liang Hong, Li Juan, and Yan Ge

Following the reception, China Institute’s Renwen Society will host a roundtable discussion with three of Contemporary China’s rising literary stars, moderated by Dr. Yan Yue of the United Nations’ Chinese Language Program. Liang Hong, Li Jian, and Yan Ge all grew up in a rapidly changing China, and their stories have all garnered wide national attention. This discussion will be conducted in Mandarin Chinese.

Learn more about the participating authors in our post about the event.

Saturday May 7, 1 PM
China Institute, 100 Washington Street (entrance at 40 Rector Street)
$5/Non-member; Free/Member (email us for free tickets)

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6) Studies, A site specific dance by Tingying Ma – Studies is a dance theatre that takes place in non-places, whose movement sequence originates from an archival news photograph of 1980s Beijing.

In this piece, the dancer initiates the photo’s re-enactment in a form of theatrical happening to construct new perspectives of the Chinese Qi-gong practice as well as its social application. Under the lens of choreography, Qi-gong becomes a means for the individual body to occupy urban surface, establish that which has been erased, and reconstruct its relationship to community.

Dramaturged by Connie Kang
Performed by Tina Wang

Saturday, May 7, 4 PM
Sunday, May 8, 4 PM
Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.  RSVP for exact location
Free

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7) Son: Signal of Authority Opening Reception – Read about the exhibition in the Current Art Exhibitions below.

Saturday, May 7, 7 PM
inCube Arts, 314 W. 52nd Street, #1
Free

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8) Activating the Suffragettes! Performance Art by NY Women – Huisi He presents Traps at this night of live performance art by a local new generation of performance artists.

Saturday, May 7, 6 PM (He is scheduled for 9 PM)
Grace Exhibition Space, 840 Broadway, Bushwick, Brooklyn
$10 suggested donation

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9) Xiaoshi Vivian Vivian Qin: Debate Competition – For her Debate Competition performance, artist Xiaoshi Vivian Vivian Qin enlists local debate students from Maspeth High School to argue broad questions related to contemporary art.  Topic: Resolved: In the future, artist does not need a body.

The performance is part of Queens International 2016.

Sunday, May 8, 2:30 PM
Queens Museum
Free

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10) Live Show! Person Place Thing with Randy Cohen: David Henry Hwang – Join David Henry Hwang, Tony Award winning playwright in conversation with author and humorist Randy Cohen. This program will be a live-taping of Person Place Thing with Randy Cohen, an interview show based on this idea: people are particularly engaging when they speak not directly about themselves but about something they care about. Guests talk about one person, one place, and one thing that are important to them. The result? Surprising stories from great talkers.

The featured musical guest for the evening will be Jack Hsu of Hsunami.Thursday, May 5, 6:30 PM

Tuesday, May 10, 6 PM
Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre Street
$20/Adult; $15/Student & Senior; Free/Member

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11) Celebrated Voices of Contemporary Chinese Literature: An Evening with Yu Hua – In the third event of its program jointly presented by China Institute and the Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation, Yu Hua, one of China’s best-known novelists, and Xudong Zhang, Director of NYU China House.  Together they will delve into the mimetic impulse in Yu Hua’s fiction, exploring the realist dimension of this writer who has been studied primarily under the rubric of modernism, experimentation, and the avant-garde.

Yu Hua is the author of five novels, six story collections, and three essay collections, including To Live, Brothers, and China in Ten Words. He is a Contributing Op-Ed Writer for the New York Times and his work has been translated into more than twenty languages. He is the recipient of many awards, including the James Joyce Award, France’s Prix Courrier International, and Italy’s Premio Grinzane Cavour. Yu Hua lives in Beijing.

Xudong Zhang is a Professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature at NYU. He is the Director of NYU China House, where he is an expert on modern Chinese Literature and Culture.

Learn more about Yu Hua s in our post about the event.

Tuesday, May 10, 6 PM
China Institute, 100 Washington Street (entrance at 40 Rector Street)
$15/Non-member; $10/Member (email us for free tickets)

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12) Chinese Film Short Course: Ju Dou 《菊豆》– Screening and discussion led by Jiaxuan (Jim) Zhang of Zhang Yimou’s and Yang Fengliang’s film of “[a] woman married to the brutal and infertile owner of a dye mill in rural China conceives a boy with her husband’s nephew but is forced to raise her son as her husband’s heir without revealing his parentage in this circular tragedy. This tale of romantic and familial love in the face of unbreakable tradition is more universal than its setting.” (IMDB) is the first in China Institute’s Film Short Course.

Wednesday, May 11, 6 PM
China Institute, 100 Washington Street (entrance at 40 Rector Street)
$30/Admission

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13) China’s Great Emperors – Emperor Huizong & the Song Dynasty – Independent scholar Alfreda Murck will talk about Emperor Huizong & the Song Dynasty as part of China Institute’s ongoing series.

Thursday, May 12, 6:30 PM
China Institute, 100 Washington Street (entrance at 40 Rector Street)
$15/Non-member; $10/Member

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14) A Floating Chinaman: A Reading and Conversation with Hua Hsu – Join scholar and New Yorker contributor Hua Hsu as he reads from his first book, A Floating Chinaman.  It’s an imaginative history of America’s sudden fascination with China in the 1930s, told through a playful tapestry of voices: best-selling authors and publishing house power brokers, oil company bosses and their trusty Chinese translators, snooping F.B.I. agents and wide-eyed exchange students.  Floating in the margins: H.T. Tsiang, a Chinese immigrant writer frustrated with American scene, slowly growing into his wise-ass ways, self-publishing his “American odysseys” and selling them in the streets of New York City.  Discussion to follow reading.

Thursday, May 12, 7 PM
Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre Street
$10/Adult; $5/Student & Senior; Free/Member

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15) Crossing Borders: Seven Short Films from China and India – This program features works by Surekha, Li Ming/Lin Ke/Yang Junling, Gigi Scaria, Li Xiaofei, Jennifer Wen Ma, and Cheng Ran/Item Idem that dwell on the outcome of rapid urbanization since China’s open markets of the 1980s, and India’s globalization in the 1990s.  While many of the Chinese artists’ largely conceptual films are dictated by industry, sophistication, and technological prowess, India’s homegrown, low budget modes converge on nature, humanity, and the common man with an emphasis on its earthy, gritty manner.  The impact of recent development and mobility is evident from China’s fast-transforming capitalist economy versus India’s slow moving democratic socialism.  By combining Chinese and Indian works, one can examine the presentation of reality by artists from both regions. For example, Li Xiaofei’s focus on the Chinese industrial production of salt can be contrasted with Scaria’s poetic rendering of salt farms on the northern border of India.  Similarly, Cheng Ran and Item Idem’s literal detonation of mass consumerism in JOSS sparks an interesting dialogue when compared to Scaria’s pithy satirical video POLITICAL REALISM on the demolition of socialist ideologies in India. Such comparisons not only generate an aesthetic discourse but also a socio-political and cultural dialogue.

Surekha – Urban F(r)ictions: Romeos and Juliets (2009-10, 9.5 min, digital)
Li Ming, Lin Ke, Yang Junling – The Afternoon of June 1 (2006, 8 min, digital)
Surekha’s work documents the laughing club established by retired middle class Indians, while The Afternoon of June 1 portrays the inertia of young Chinese students in Shanghai.

Gigi Scaria – Salt SALT (2013, 4.5 min, digital)
Li Xiaofei – Assembly Line – A Packet of Salt (2013, 7.5 min, digital)
A film about salt harvested from seawater in India, followed by another about the industrial production of salt in China.

Jennifer Wen Ma – Brainstorm (2009, 10 min, digital)
Wen’s film utilizes the Chinese ink technique to convey the vast expanse of China’s swiftly transforming natural landscape.

Gigi Scaria – Political Realism  (2009, 3.5 min, digital)
Cheng Ran & Item Idem – Joss  (2013, 6 min, digital)
These two films reflect a satirical demolition of socialist ideologies in India and the power of consumerism in China.

Curators Michelle Y. Loh and Bansie Vasvani will be present for a Q&A after the program.

Thursday, May 12, 7 PM
Anthology Film Archives, 32 2nd Avenue
$11/General Admission; $9/Student and Senior


Ongoing Films and Shows

1) Midnight Kill – This original play by written and directed by Yangtze Repertory Theatre Co-Artistic Director K.K. Wong tells of a school campus in a Chinese rural village during the 1970’s that becomes a theater of twisted, oppressed but indelible human desires. Daily mundane activities become an absurd performance of ordinary people’s basic emotions. The play is based around an actual murder story that occurred in a mountain hamlet in Anhui province, where Wong lived for five years.

The play is a drama set among the teachers of a small elementary school in a rural farming village in northern China during the early 1970s, when China’s Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution was at its height. Under the country’s autocratic rule, extreme forms of collectivism, asceticism, and class warfare ran rampant in every corner of the country. In this crucible of passion, ideology and deprivation, a married woman has been having an affair with a young teacher. The play opens with the scene where the teacher has already killed the woman. The rest of the play traces their relationship as a flash back, eventually revealing the motivations behind the killing.

Presented by Yangtze Repertory Theatre of America.

May 6 -22
Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 PM, Sundays at 2:00 PM
Theater for the New City (Joyce & Seward Johnson Theater), 155 First Ave.
$20/General Admission; $15/Senior and Student
Wednesdays: Pay what you can.

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2) Dragon Inn 《龙门客栈》 – The Chinese wuxia (martial arts) genre was forever changed after the emergence of King Hu’s Dragon Inn. Set during the Ming dynasty, the film sees the emperor’s minister of defense framed by a powerful court eunuch and executed. Soon after, the minister’s children are hunted by a clan of elite assassins known as the Black Arrow Troop. The ensuing pursuit takes them to the remote Dragon Gate Inn, where mysterious strangers begin to gather and paths—and swords—soon cross. Masterful compositions by cinematographer Hua Hui-ying (A Touch of Zen) capture tightly choreographed set pieces, each one more splendorous than the last—with the stakes always rising. A clear inspiration for myriad subsequent movies, from Ang Lee’sCrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, this thrilling landmark of film history returns to the screen in a new, beautifully restored digital transfer, created from the original negative. A Janus Films release.

Opens at Film Society Lincoln Center May 6.

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3) 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.


Current Art Exhibitions

In addition to the listings below, three local artists are participating in group shows:

Naomi Kuo in Rhapsody in Color at Samuel J. Wood Library at Weill Cornell Medical College.  Through 6/10.

Fina Yeung will show her Urban Cages, a mixed media cardboard painting installation about her memory of growing up in a very crowded city, Hong Kong, at Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition’s Wide Open 7 (5/7 – 6/12).   At Fridge Art Fair (5/7 – 5/9), she will exhibit The Phantom Self painting series

Xiaoshi Vivian Vivian Qin is part of Queens International 2016.  Through 7/31.

Opening and newly added:

1) Son: Signal of Authority (inCube Arts, 5/7 – 5/28) – This group show curated by Boliang Shen and Zhanglun Dai entitled Son: Signal of Authority, gathers four artists from China, Israel and United States.

The Son, in the modern era, is often portrayed as one who constantly strives to free himself from the Father. The modern Son is the Son that tends to forget, split, subvert and self-authorize.

Yet, the Son always signals something that is outside of and superior to him, which presents itself as the Authority. Son could never truly be detached as he claims. The emancipation of modern Son, therefore, remains problematic.

Highlighting works of four artists, Yan Xing, Rafael Kelman, Ben Hagari, and Chen Zhou, who are all within 35 years old,  “Son: Signal of Authority”investigates the situation of the concept of the Son in our time, a time that the Authority, whether household or public, is believed to be precarious and obscure. Rather than justifying the emancipation of modern Son, here the Son is rendered as a fluctuating signal of the Authority, and a sort of contemporary culture symptom that needs to be interrogated.

YAN Xing, DADDY Project, 2011, edition of 4, Single channel digital video (color, sounds) 58’27” Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne

YAN Xing, DADDY Project, 2011, edition of 4, Single channel digital video (color, sounds) 58’27”
Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne

2) New Voices: A DSL Collection Story – (Klein Sun Gallery, 5/7 – 6/18) – Featuring works by nine artists: Chen Wei, Gao Lei, Gao Weigang, Hou Yong, Hu Weiyi, Li Wei, Wang Yuyang, Wang Sishun and Zhao Zhao. Curated by Beili Wang, the exhibition is inspired by the dsl collection, a body of work procured by Sylvain and Dominique Levy that documents the multiple narratives of art and culture in contemporary China.

Historically, art has served as the zeitgeist of a moment in time, and as a palimpsestic model on which traces of the past still remain, however faint. Contemporary art on a world stage is constantly negotiating this relationship – but what if that relationship was broken? What if a collective history was erased? Today, China faces this strange, complex issue. The nine artists in this exhibition, born after the China Economic reform (1976-1989), possess no memory or experience of the hermetic Cultural Revolution, or even the periods before those, which were rewritten by the Revolution.

Thus, “New voices: a dsl collection story,” reveals the practice and works of China’s youngest generation of artists, who have distinctly different points of cultural and historical reference in comparison to their predecessors. Within this boundless sphere, they create alien works that are transcendent of the notion of contemporary, translating their identities into a new autonomous language. Using new materials and concepts, these artists and their works are pushing Chinese contemporary art to unchartered territories, and because of that, their works are of higher value than any previous generation of Chinese artists.

Gao Weigang, Where #4, 2015 Gold on the stainless steel 88 7/8 x 22 x 3 1/8 inches (213 x 56 x 8 cm)

Gao Weigang, Where #4, 2015
Gold on the stainless steel
88 7/8 x 22 x 3 1/8 inches (213 x 56 x 8 cm)

3) Chen Dongfan – Spring Blossoms – Colorful paintings at an unusual space that is a mattress store (Coco-Mat, 195 Lexington Avenue, 5/6 – 6/5)

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Closing soon:

Woods (Cloud Gallery, 3/30 – 5/14)

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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.

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)

Son: Signal of Authority (inCube Arts, 5/7 – 5/28)

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

New Voices: A DSL Collection Story – (Klein Sun Gallery, 5/7 – 6/18)

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: Taca Sui (塔可) ‘Tomb of Prince Lu #1’ 《鲁王墓》, 2015. Archival pigment print on baryta paper, 20 3/4 x 31 1/2 in. (53 x 80 cm) on view at Chambers Fine Art