NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: June 23 – June 29, 2017

Chalk Art Wuhan

This week: The Asian American International Film Festival reveals its line-up; an Ang Lee movie is screened outdoors; documentary films from Hong Kong’s Chinese Documentary Festival; a film about three kids from an aboriginal group in Taiwan; a new solo ritual music drama by Jen Shyu; and more…

There are eight new exhibition listings featuring mostly local artists in solo and group shows and a public art installation.  A couple of exhibitions are just a couple of days long.  So, don’t put off seeing them.

In addition to the listings below, the Mise-En Musical Festival, which brings together 46 composers selected from over 1,100 applicants from around the world for performances and workshops, takes place June 20 – 25.  Composers from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan — Tianyi Wang, Chin Ting Chan, and Yu-Hsin Chang — will premiere new works at various performances at different venues.

Online, MORE Architecture and NAi010 Publishers host a book launch in Amsterdam for Progress & Properity which examines whether China’s megacities, described as “efficient, with well-functioning infrastructures, top-notch public transport, proper housing, steady economic growth, a low crime rate, an attractive climate for foreign investors, and a glitzy skyline to boot”, can be a model for other cities around the world.  The event includes a panel discussion with architects that will be streamed online on Thursday, June 29, 8 PM Amsterdam time, 2 PM Eastern Daylight Time.  Read more about it and watch the livestream here.

If you’re a designer of Chinese descent, you might be interested in submitting your design to the Taiwan’s Golden Pin Design Award for review by recognized leaders in the design field and for the opportunity to attract commercial interest.  Submissions are being accepted through June 30, 2017.

Coming up:

July 14 and 15 – Eclectic vocalist Gong Linna joins the daring Bang on a Can All-Stars for two performances at the Lincoln Center Festival.

July 29 – Taiwanese bands Fire Ex, Dadado Huang + Berry j, and Sangpuy at Taiwanese Waves.

July 19 – Heidi Lau: The Primordial Molder opens at the Bronx Museum

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.

We’re looking for contributors!  If you’re interested in writing an article, contributing photos or artwork to be featured with our weekly events and exhibitions listing, letting us know about an event, send a pitch at


1) Pushing Hands 《推手》– Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ang Lee made his directorial debut in this drama about Mr. Chu, a widowed tai-chi master, who moves from Beijing to New York to reunite with his son. Lee captures the struggles that come with adjusting to a new life and a new culture.

Dir. Ang Lee
1991, 105 min.

Made possible by NYC Parks and the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA).  RSVP is requested.

Friday, June 23, 8:3 PM
Columbus Park, 67 Mulberry St.


2) W.O.W. on Wheels Zine Day – W.O.W. launches a mobile resource and community engagement center for the residents and members of the local Chinatown community that serves as a way to celebrate and disseminate the rich history of Chinatown’s art and activism and continue the tradition of connecting our community with local artists.

Saturday, June 24, 12 PM
Wing On Wo & Co., 26 Mott Street


3) Kunqu Summer Concert – Kunqu Society performs selections from classic works.

June 24, 2 PM
Queens Library at Flushing, 41-17 Main Street, Flushing


4) Masterpieces of Chinese Music – A quartet with erhu, pipa, zheng and ruan performs masterpieces from the time-honored traditions of Chinese classical and folk music as well as contemporary work unique to Music From China.

Saturday, June 24, 2:30 PM
Queens Public Library, Elmhurst, 86-07 Broadway, Elmhurst


5) Empire of the Sun  – Steven Spielberg’s spellbinding adaptation of J. G. Ballard’s memoir of his experiences growing up with his British expatriate family in Shanghai and being captured by the Japanese during World War II is a modern Hollywood epic of the highest order, and one of Spielberg’s greatest achievements. Thirteen-year-old Christian Bale’s breakthrough performance anchors this grand tale of survival, packed with Spielberg’s trademark visual sublimity, with help from his great cinematographer Allen Daviau.

Dir. Steven Spielberg.
1987, 152 mins. 35mm.

Saturday, June 24, 4 PM
Museum of the Moving Image


6) Tyrus – To art lovers, Tyrus Wong was a renowned painter who once exhibited with Picasso and Matisse. To film buffs, he is the visual genius behind such classic films as Bambi and Rebel Without a Cause. To Southern California beach-goers, he is the innovative kite designer whose colorful creations fill the sky. Tyrus takes viewers on a journey from the artist’s birthplace in Guangzhou, China in 1910 to the boarding houses of Los Angeles’s old Chinatown and the studios of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Pamela Tom’s expansive and insightful documentary explores the enduring impact of his work across multiple artistic mediums, as well as his personal journey navigating racial bigotry in twentieth-century America.

Director Pamela Tom will be in attendance for a discussion following the screening

Dir. Pamela Tom
2015, 77 min.

Saturday, June 24, 4 PM
Museum of the Moving Image


7) CrossCurrent – The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company presents a collection of new works created on her journey as an immigrant artist attempting to reconcile the two cultures inside her, one she was born into, the other she chose to become a part of.

Saturday, June 24, 7:30 PM
Martha Graham Studio Theater, penthouse level of 55 Bethune Street


8) Hang in There, Kids! 《只要我長大》– Three Atayal (泰雅) kids, raised in an isolated tribe in the mountains, decide to set out on their own to help their beloved paraplegic teacher fulfill her dream.

Dir. Laha Mebow
2016, 90 min.

The film was Taiwan’s entry to the  89th Academy Awards but was not nominated.

Sunday, June 25, 2 PM
Mid-Manhattan Library, 455 5th Ave


9) Mighty Peking Man 《猩猩王》 – The Shaw Brothers’ attempt to capitalize on the success of 1976’s King Kong resulted in Mighty Peking Man – an astonishing ensemble thriller lodged somewhere between envious knockoff and loving spoof. Danny Lee (of Inframan infamy) stars as an anthropologist hired by a slimy promoter to find the legendary Himalayan gorilla monster known as Utam, or Mighty Peking Man; even he fails to account for the possibility of the giant monkey’s partner, an orphaned bombshell named Samantha (Evelyn Craft, clad from start to finish in a primordial Ursula Andress-style leather bikini). ‘Mighty Peking Man’is a dazzling showcase of optical effects: rear-projected animal attacks, gushing prosthetic limbs, and more than a few matte-enabled civilian casualties – to say nothing of the Peking Man himself, yet another lovelorn ape whose charisma handily surpasses the puny interlopers on the ground.

Dir: Meng Hua Ho
1977, 86 min.

Screens as part of the series, Simian Verité

Monday, June 26, 7 PM
Anthology Film Archives, 32 2nd Avenue


10) AAIFF 40 Launch Party – The Asian American International Film Festival reveals the line-up for this year’s festival which runs from July 26 – August 5.  Come to find out what’s in store, enjoy happy hour specials, and have the chance to win free tickets.

RSVP requested

Tuesday, June 27, 7 – 9 PM
Fat Buddha, 212 Avenue A


11) Screening: China Now! Three Films from the Chinese Documentary Festival – A selection of works from Hong Kong’s Chinese Documentary Festival. Through a personalized lens, these films (one feature and two shorts) explore contemporary social issues in Hong Kong and China including spirituality, identity, and urban and rural development. Since its inception in 2008, the Chinese Documentary Festival has drawn the attention of filmmakers from around the world, especially those of mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, becoming a major forum for Chinese documentary filmmaking. With an award-winning feature and US premiere screenings, you can experience a taste of this prestigious festival in New York.

My Land 《吾土》
Dir. Fan Jian (范俭)
China / 2015 / 81 min
In Mandarin with Chinese & English Subtitles

Chen Jun farms in Beijing. In his shack, he set up an “Agony Hotline” for farmers and was elected “Beijing’s role-model.” Little did he realize the village committee had sold off the land he rented. As the bulldozers moved in, Chen and his wife stood firm. As they started to film their troubles, they captured their daughter growing up. However, as she grew, they also had to rethink staying on their land. ‘My Land’ won a silver medal for best feature documentary at the 2016 Chinese Documentary Festival and was featured at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.


Zero Acceleration 《此在.游回》
Dir. Wu Wei Yip, Woody (胡伟业)
Hong Kong / 2015 / 14 min
No Dialogue

In a city like Hong Kong that brims with noise and restlessness, some people engage in Buddhist practices like meditation and meditation walks to diffuse the distractions. This beautifully filmed documentary shows us a hidden oasis in this bustling city. US Premiere.


Kong Rice 《港米》
Dir. Chan Yiu Hei, Purple (陈耀熙)
Hong Kong / 2015 / 15 min
In Cantonese with Chinese & English Subtitles

In recent years, a new wave of local farmers comprising professionals and university lecturers has emerged. They want to revive farming in Hong Kong and despite the dismal yield, they still give it their all. They also support causes including cultural preservation and saying “No” to the government and property conglomerates to protect the last oasis in Hong Kong from becoming yet another commercial complex. US Premiere.

Wednesday, June 8, 6:30 PM
China Institute


12) Jen Shyu – Premiere of Nine Doors – Born from Taiwanese and East Timorese immigrant parents, 2016 Doris Duke Artist Jen Shyu is a groundbreaking multilingual vocalist-composer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, producer, and Fulbright scholar.

For these special performances at National Sawdust, Shyu will premiere Nine Doors, a solo ritual music drama, through both narrative and abstract, integrative music-movement methodologies via the voice, Taiwanese moon lute, gayageum, piano, biwa, and electronics. Shyu will sing in eight languages including Japanese, Javanese, Indonesian, Taiwanese, Mandarin, Tetum, Korean, and English.

Nine Doors was inspired by the loss of Shyu’s friend Sri Joko Raharjo “Cilik,” who died with his wife and infant son in an automobile accident at the age of 30. Raharjo was a master of the Javanese art of shadow puppetry called wayang kulit. His 6-year-old daughter, who survived the crash, is the central character in Shyu’s piece. Time stops as she encounters powerful female legends—from the Wehali Kingdom of Timor to the Korean folkloric myth of Baridegi, the mother of all shamans—who become her guides. A mysterious phone booth in a gardener’s yard in Otsuchi, Japan, which has become a comfort to the families who lost loved ones in the 2011 Tsunami, also enters into the story, with the gardener having given Shyu permission to compose a piece with his poetry. The work reflects the parallels that exist between life and death, different cultures, and the importance of empathy over destructive assumptions that divide humanity.

Nine Doors incorporates Shyu’s 12-plus years of study of traditional music from five countries: epic storytelling (Pansori) and East Coast shaman music (DongHaeAhnByeolShinGut), both from Korea; music from sub-districts Aileu and Ataúro from East Timor; Hengchun Folk Song with moon lute from Taiwan; Ledhekan, which combines Javanese dance with improvisational singing (Sindhenan) from Indonesia; and the “speaking-of-the-song” or “katari” with Japanese biwa, the rare 4-stringed instrument originally used by monks and priests.

Use discount code ASIA5

Thursday, June 29
Performance 1: 7 PM
Performance 2: 10 PM
National Sawdust, 80 N. 6th Street


New York Asian Film Festival – Get wooed by die-hard romantics, unnerved by devil children, and bear witness to the fury of angry young men on paths of destruction in the sweet sixteenth edition of the New York Asian Film Festival. Wild cinematic outings that always have something to say about the human condition, this summer’s crop of titles range from the heartwarming to the desperately dark. Dive headfirst into the raging sea of talent from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and across South East Asia—filmmakers unafraid to take on controversial subjects and explore complex emotions.

The festival runs from June 30 – July 16 at Film Society Lincoln Center and SVA Theatre.  We’ll have a post dedicated to the festival soon and will list films from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan individually in upcoming weekly posts.


Ceramicist Heidi Lau is part of Morph, a group show at Asya Geisberg Gallery of contemporary ceramic sculpture.  The artists in “Morph” paint expressionistically with glaze, weave in hair, inlay surfaces, squash perfect forms, recombine tchotchkes, and subvert genres heedless of strict boundaries.  The exhibition runs through August 11.

Asia Society hosts Inspired by Zao Wou-Ki as part of a series of exhibitions that presents the work of New York City students created in response to the great artistic traditions of Asia.  This year the exhibition presents student artwork inspired by the Asia Society fall 2016 exhibition No Limits: Zao Wou-Ki.  The exhibition runs through August 6.

Opening and New Listed:

1) Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong – Constellation (Seward Park, June 2017 – June 2018) – Constellation is an architectural sculpture, construction performance, and series of urban discussions. The site-specific sculptural pavilion is composed of interlocked modules that are re-configured seasonally in three different transformations over the course of the exhibition. Each configuration provides a new topography for seating, snacking, gathering and socializing and is accompanied by public programming.

‘Constellation’ rendering. Courtesy of the artist.


2) Mountain River Jump! (山河跳) – Reality Check 《鬥法》– (Sleep Center, 6/10 – 7/25) – Mountain River Jump! (山河跳!) is an artist duo formed by the psychic twin sister artists Shan Huang and He Huang. They enjoy studying intangible beings and performing out-of-time practices, as they attempt to transform supernatural and transcendent experiences into touchable forms, and to approach humanism with occultism. As Mountain River Jump!, through conceptual ways they jump out from the three realms (trailokya) – the desire realm, the form realm, and the formless realm.

Open to public for events and by appointment:


3) Gendered Words (Cloud Gallery, 6/19 – 6/30) – Curated by Sonya Zhang, Gendered Words is a multi-media group exhibition celebrating the Pride month 2017. The show will showcase artwork from 8 female artists, exploring the theme of identity through the lens of those who are involved in or are advocates of the LGBTQ community. Synthesizing multi-media installations with painting, illustration and photography, the exhibition seeks to render an interactive experience for the viewer.

Participating artists: Emma Yi, IChin Liao, Iris Xing, Jieting Chen, Jingyi Wang, Raina Dai, Star Li, Sonya Zhang

Opening reception: Wednesday, June 21, 6 – 9 PM, Cloud Gallery, 66 West Broadway


4) Artist Pixy Liao participates in two group shows:

NSFW: Female Gaze (Museum of Sex, 6/21 – TBC) – NSFW: Female Gazeco-curated by VICE Media’s Creators, showcases over 25 emerging female artists from various disciplines dedicated to powerful feminine narratives. Every day, women are faced with a world of images that reflect male perspectives on sexual desire. The artists in NSFW Female Gaze both reclaim and break out of women’s historical roles as muse and object. The exhibition showcases a fearless new visual language of desire that defies social norms and expectations. The artists featured in the exhibition are working at the intersections of identity and life experience, genre and process. They are exploring sexuality on their own terms, bringing to light new angles of expression. From Instagram and GIF platforms to textile, painting and photography, these artists take a diverse and fearless approach to sex, shattering mythologies of female sexuality and restructuring stereotypes to explore a more complex relationship between gender, pleasure, fantasy and desire.

Pixy Liao, Starting you day with a good breakfast together, digital C-print, 2009. Image courtesy of the artist.

A New Ballardian Vision (Metro Pictures x Leo Xu Projects, 6/29 – 8/4) – As a part of CONDO Complex New York, a gallery swap between New York galleries and national and international partners, Metro Pictures hosts Leo Xu’s two-part exhibition A New Ballardian Vision. The show brings together a selection of works that reflect recent social, technological and environmental developments through the lens of author J.G. Ballard’s (1930–2009) writings. Xu conceived the exhibition as two distinct chapters; the first features Metro Pictures artists Nina Beier, Camille Henrot, Martin Kippenberger, Oliver Laric, Robert Longo, Trevor Paglen, Jim Shaw and Cindy Sherman. The second chapter focuses on a younger generation of Chinese artists represented by Leo Xu Projects, including aaajiao, Chen Wei, Cheng Ran, Cui Jie, Li Qing, Liu Shiyuan and Pixy Liao.


5) Material Mythos (Geary Contemporary, 6/22 – 7/29) – Geary Contemporary presents a group exhibition featuring works by Laura Bernstein, Ben Dowell, Heidi Lau, Sangram Majumdar, and Clintel Steed. Material Mythos is a convergence of artists that engage the conversation of invented and sustained mythologies through material and object. Many of the works endeavor to build onto existing cultural mythos that the artist has been bestowed through heritage.

Heidi Lau, Skeleton of the Universe, 2013. Glazed ceramics, 36 x 36 x 36 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

Opening reception: Thursday, June 22, 6 – 8 PM, Geary Contemporary, 185 Varick Street


6) Virtuality (7s Lab, 6/23 – 6/30) – a collaboration between a group of Chinese artists and 7s Art, a Chinese lifestyle space hidden in the Lower East Side.

Opening reception: June 23, 6 – 10 PM, 36 East Broadway, 2nd Floor


7) Off Center (Gallery Max, 6/27 – 7/1) – “Off center” is not congruent with misplacement, denial, or going astray.

Being off center means making choices consciously, targeting towards a direction subjectively, being inclined towards a certain angle, or brainstorming in a way that departs from what is traditional.

Being off center is a shared experience in a variety of disciplines of mankind. Whether it be a success or a failure, the attempts and experiments in the end would become new discoveries.

The artists in this exhibition deliver on purpose unconventional approaches and media, attempting to break through the fetter of their existing methodologies.

Curator: Yangxingyue Wang
Artists: Wanying Liang, Tianming Liu, Ke Ma, Siyuan Tan, Caison Wang, Yibo Xu, Emma Yi, Jinyao Yuan

Opening reception: June 27, 6 – 8 PM, Gallery Max, 552 Broadway, 4th Floor, Suite 401 (Buzz #9)


Closing soon:

Rewoven: Innovative Fiber Art – Part III (El Museo de Los Sures, 4/18 – 6/30)

Virtuality (7s Lab, 6/23 – 6/30)

Gendered Words (Cloud Gallery, 6/19 – 6/30)

Off Center (Gallery Max, 6/27 – 7/1)

Celebrating the Year of the Rooster (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1/25 – 7/4)


Current shows:

Visit the exhibition calendar for details for the current shows listed below. Check the museum or gallery’s website for hours of operation.

Rewoven: Innovative Fiber Art – Part III (El Museo de Los Sures, 4/18 – 6/30)

Virtuality (7s Lab, 6/23 – 6/30)

Gendered Words (Cloud Gallery, 6/19 – 6/30)

Off Center (Gallery Max, 6/27 – 7/1)

Celebrating the Year of the Rooster (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1/25 – 7/4)

Considerate Creations: Chameleons – Part II (Gallery 456, 6/16 – 7/14)

Age of Empires: Chinese Art of Qin and Han Dynasties (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 4/3 – 7/16)

NSFW: Female Gaze (Museum of Sex, 6/21 – TBC)

Summer Selections (Art Projects International, 6/21 – 7/22)

Mountain River Jump! (山河跳) – Reality Check 《鬥法》(Sleep Center, 6/10 – 7/25)

Jennifer Wen Ma: Eight Views of Paradise Interrupted (Sandra Gering Inc, 5/11 – 7/28)

Material Mythos (Geary Contemporary, 6/22 – 7/29)

A New Ballardian Vision (Metro Pictures x Leo Xu Projects, 6/29 – 8/4)

Ji Zhou: Real Illusion (Klein Sun Gallery, 6/22 – 8/5)

Show and Tell: Stories in Chinese Painting (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 10/29/16 – 8/6/17)

Hansel and Gretel (Park Avenue Armory, 6/7 – 8/6)

Morph (Asya Geisberg Gallery, 6/22 – 8/11)

Body, Self, Society – Chinese Performance Photography of the 1990s (The Walther Collection, 4/14 – 8/19)

Jennifer Wen Ma: Entry Niches (Van Doren Waxter, 5/11 – 8/25)

Informality (group show with Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong, NYFA Gallery, 5/4 – 9/1)

Transitions: Dong Yuan, Lam Tung-pang and Lao Tongli (Chambers Fine Art, 6/22 – 9/2)

Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant (Museum of Food and Drink Lab, 11/11/16 – 9/3/17)

Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy: Stories of Chinese Food and Identity in America (Museum of Chinese in America, 10/6/2016 – 9/10/17) 

Infinite Compassion: Avalokiteshvara in Asian Art (Staten Island Museum, 10/22/16 – 9/25/17)

Ian Cheng (MoMA PS1, 4/9 – 9/25)

Cinnabar: The Chinese Art of Carved Lacquer, 14th – 19th Century (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 6/25/16 – 10/9/17)

From the Imperial Theater: Chinese Opera Costumes of the 18th and 19th Centuries (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 6/25/16 – 10/9/17)

Colors of the Universe: Chinese Hardstone Carvings (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 6/25/16 – 10/9/17)

Dreams of the Kings: A Jade Suit for Eternity, Treasures of the Han Dynasty from Xuzhou (China Institute, 5/25 – 11/12/17)

Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong – Constellation (Seward Park, June 2017 – June 2018)

Lead image: Chalk art in Wuhan. From Tauno Tõhk / 陶诺’s Flickr account