NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: July 5 – July 11 , 2017

Lin Fengmian – The Fiery Battle of Red Cliffs

We missed last week’s event post so, this week’s listing includes a couple of extra days on the front end.  If you caught our list of recommended films at the New York Asian Film Festival, you hopefully looked at the full list of films being screened and hopefully went to see one of the eight Chinese language films this past weekend.

Most of our listings this week are for films, but the Museum of Chinese in America has a food-related event that might appeal to those interested in gardening; artist Jia-Jen Lin participates in a salon talk; and Asia Society hosts a discussion about Hong Kong 20 years after its return to China.

Be sure to see Considerate Creations: Chameleons – Part II at Gallery 456 and Age of Empires: Chinese Art of Qin and Han Dynasties at The Metropolitan Museum of Art before they close next weekend.

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.

On Cloud River Mountain, she sings in both Mandarin and English over the groove-driven melodies and lush soundscapes of the All-Stars, weaving ancient Chinese storytelling together with Western songwriting in a raucous musical mix. Inspired by the verses of classical Chinese poet Qu Yuan, these seven songs channel the mystical stories of the past and merge them with the churning, clanging sounds of the future.

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.

August 4 and 7 – Death Ray on Coral Island 《珊瑚岛上的死光》, China’s first sci-fi movie 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.  For art, images, and other instances of Chineseness we see, follow 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) Soul Mate 《七月与安生》– With this one-of-a-kind romantic drama, Derek Tsang sinks us deep into the tale of two young women, whose friendship burns as strong as an amorous passion. It has the pace and buoyancy of the most moving love stories. Their friendship, which blossoms when they are 13, is founded on a mutual curiosity of their differences, which is only amplified as they reach adulthood. Plump-faced Qiyue, aka “July” (Ma Sichun), is grounded and quiet and from a stable family; waiflike Ansheng (Zhou Dongyu) is fierce, fickle, and unafraid to explore the world even if it means living on the streets. Despite their love for one another, life—as much as their love for the same man—drives them apart. Soul Mate is an umistakably mature, honest and intelligent, and demonstrates again that Chinese-language cinema is at the vanguard of exploring the modern human condition.

Dir. Derek Tsang
2016, Hong Kong/China, 108 min.

Screens as part of the New York Asian Film Festival

Friday, July 7, 6 PM
Walter Reade Theatre, 165 W. 65th Street


2) Operation Mekong 《湄公河行動》– In this box-office smash from China, based on a true story, two Chinese commercial vessels are ambushed while traveling down the Mekong River in the waters of the Golden Triangle, one of the largest drug-manufacturing regions in the world. Thirteen sailors are executed at gunpoint, and 900,000 methamphetamine pills recovered at the scene. The Chinese government immediately sends a band of elite narcotics officers led by Captain Gao Gang (Zhang Hanyu) to uncover the truth behind the murders. After it is discovered that the drugs had been planted by the henchman of a notorious drug-cartel leader named Naw Khar, the governments of Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, and China launch a joint task force to apprehend the criminal—but the road to justice is paved with dangerous and deadly obstacles. “Breathlessly assaultive, vastly entertaining…an enjoyably giddy, propulsive rush right until the final titles,” Jessica Kiang, Variety.

Dir. Dante Lam
2016, China, 123 min.
In Mandarin, Cantonese, Thai, and Burmese with English subtitles

Friday, July 7, 7:30 PM
Museum of the Moving Image


3) The Taking of Tiger Mountain 《智取威虎山》-Tsui Hark’s take on the Chinese national epic about 30 PLA soldiers taking down a 1000-strong bandit army strips out the ideology and makes it all about the action. That means heaping helpings of tiger attacks, a Lord of the Rings-sized mountain fortress, bandits wearing black lipstick, ski attacks, a tank, a fight atop a crashing biplane, a New York City traffic jam, and Tony Leung Ka-Fai sporting an outrageous fake nose. A spectacular bandit siege of a snowbound village reminds us that the cinematic craftsmanship of this 3D true believer remains unequalled. Tsui ensures that not a second goes by when something isn’t shooting, stabbing, exploding, or leaping off the screen.

Dir. Tsui Hark
2014, Hong Kong, 149 min.
In Mandarin with English subtitles

Screens as part of the New York Asian Film Festival

Saturday, July 8, 12:30 PM
Walter Reade Theatre, 165 W. 65th Street


4) The Chinese Kitchen Garden: Farm to Table Home Cooking – In their new books, Pat Tanumihardja and Wendy Kiang-Spray both explore recipes and techniques on seasonal vegetable planting and cooking through the stories of their family’s cultural heritage. Join Pat and Wendy with Kian Lam Kho, food writer and co-curator of MOCA’s exhibition, Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy: Stories of Chinese Food and Identity in America for a conversation about culinary and gardening traditions and tips.

Saturday, July 8, 2:30 PM
Museum of Chinese in America


5) A Quiet Dream – A slice of life following three misfits and their beloved muse (Han Ye-ri, in a typically unorthodox performance), a young Chinese-Korean immigrant who cares for her paralyzed father while running a bar. In a creative twist, each of the three male protagonists is played by a well-known Korean actor-director, embodying personas from their own debut films: a former small-time gangster played by Yang Ik-june (Breathless), an introverted North Korean defector played by Park Jung-bum (The Journals of Musan), and a milk-drinking, epileptic played by Yoon Jong-bin (The Unforgiven). In the guise of a quietly suburban comedy, the film addresses the hard-hitting issue of how people react to the trauma of geographical and social displacement, a subject close to home for Chinese-Korean director Zhang Lu. What makes the indie A Quiet Dream such a breath of fresh air is that it always remains hilarious and heartfelt, and maintains its poetry within an impoverished suburban milieu. U.S. Premiere.

Followed by Q&A with Director Zhang Lu and Actress Han Ye-Ri

Presented with the support of Korean Cultural Center New York

Dir. Zhang Lu
2016, South Korea, 115 min.
In Korean, Mandarin with English subtitles

Screens as part of the New York Asian Film Festival

Wednesday, July 12, 6:30 PM
Walter Reade Theatre, 165 W. 65th Street


1) 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.  Read about our recommended films here.

2) Our Time Will Come 《明月幾時有》 – Set in the 1940s, the film tells the story of a legendary woman “Fang Gu”, who is one of the key figures during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong. It also portrays the fight and struggle for freedom and independence by youths of the resistance groups. (Wikipedia)

The Hollywood Reporter says: “While not without its longueurs or tonal inconsistencies, the film is a beautifully mounted and emotionally engaging piece. But its discreet aesthetics might be out of sync with audience tastes in both mainland China and Hong Kong, even though it should generate a better reception there than the much longer and more obtuse The Golden Era.”

At AMC Empire 25


3) Reset 《逆时营救》 – Xia Tian (Yang Mi) is a single mother who works as an associate researcher, helping to complete a technology that can allow people to go back in time. One day, her son Dou Dou is kidnapped by a mysterious man (Wallace Huo) and she was forced to hand over her life’s work. She takes a risk and travels to a time an hour and fifty minutes earlier in hopes of saving her son.

In what we think is a compliment, Variety says the “movie is ripe for an American remake”.

At AMC Empire 25


Opening and New Listed:

1) Shanlin Ye & KAORUKO: On the Verge (Jim Kempner Fine Art, 6/17 – 7/23) – A two person exhibition of paintings by Shanlin Ye and Japanese artist KAORUKO.

Shanlin Ye creates figurative watercolors that explore the coarse, imperfect and aberrant side of human existence. Seeking to express the natural beauty of the female body in exuberant moments of daily life, Shanlin utilizes the reflective and ethereal nature of watercolor to depict these ephemeral moments. On exhibit will be selections from her Day Dreamer series, a series of colorful figurative works featuring unusual scenes of individual lives, each depicting a sweet secret, hidden desire or wild fantasy. There will also be works from her Reflection series, a series of black and white portraits that explore the mysteries of the human face. In a representational abstract style, Shanlin superimposes finely detailed patterns and images over emotionally charged portraits. Born in China and now living in St. Louis, Ye’s work was recently selected as a national juried competition winner for Paperworks 2017, selected by juror Akili Tommasino, Curatorial Assistant at the Museum of Modern Art.

See the full press release for information about KAORUKO’s paintings in which she depicts languid women in contemporary domestic spaces, set against traditional kimono patterned backgrounds.

Shanlin Ye – ‘Reflection #11’, 2017. Watercolor on paper, 22 x 15 in.


2) Drea Cofield & Ping Zheng: Summer 2017 (Nancy Margolis Gallery, 6/29 – 7/29) – Nancy Margolis Gallery introduces two artists, Drea Cofield, and Ping Zheng who will exhibit their small works on paper; Cofield, watercolors, and Zheng, oil stick paintings.

Ping Zheng, born in China, grew up in a traditional Chinese family where being female was synonymous with inferior status. This left her with a low opinion of herself as a woman and a human being. Ping and family lived in many geographic regions with beautiful contrasting landscapes. The outdoors became a solitary playground where she could be herself, fire up her imagination without fear of bringing on the disparagement she faced at home. Today nature is woven into her art and life, remaining central to both.

New worlds opened for Ping when attending western colleges in London, and the United States. Exposed to new ideas of personal freedom, and gender equality she began to absorb these ideas and transfer them to her practice.

The paintings in this exhibition draw on her personal history, past memory, metaphors for all that energized her from within. Transferring powerful feelings into shapes, intense color, remembered landscapes, makes these small paintings strong eloquent soliloquies. Ping’s art is about herself, it is an assertion of the present, a rejection of the past, and a straddling of a line between abstraction and figuration.

Ping Zheng – ‘Life’, 2016. Oil sticks on paper, 11 x 14 in.


Group Shows:

Nightshift (The Clemente, 7/8 – 7/31) – Nightshift is a group exhibition of digital artworks, which deconstructs physical realities on the 1st floor of the LES Gallery and shifts into a dark void filled with illuminated installations on the 2nd floor of the Abrazo Interno Gallery. These works range from mixed media imaging, sculptures, projections, interactive installations, and experimental animations by recent graduates of the MFA Digital Arts program at Pratt Institute. Artists include Sung Ah-Jun, Steven Baltay, Ben Ross Davis, Eona Jiawei Gao, Nianjia Han, Caroline Voagen Nelson, Taezoo Park, Leah Roh, Fuensanta Sobejano, Ruyin Tsai, and Cedric Yon. Curated by Leah Roh and Caroline Voagen Nelson.

The LES Gallery & Abrazo Interno Gallery are open daily from 3:30 – 7 PM and located at 107 Suffolk Street between Rivington and Delancey.

Opening reception: Saturday, July 8, 7 – 10 PM.

Painter Dongze Huo is part of the Connective Project, an immersive art installation of thousands of pinwheels that will create an evolving, undulating wave of color and beauty that will blanket the two-and-half acre former Rose Garden, a hidden landscape in Prospect Park’s northeast corner that is the focus of future restoration by Prospect Park Alliance.  Dongze Huo is selected, among other artists, and his work will be printed and transformed into one of 7,000 pinwheels that will be showcased in the Rose Garden, constructed of weather-resistant, compostable paper made from stone dust.  The installation will be up from July 7 – 17.

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.

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.


Closing soon:

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)

Installation view, “Age of Empires,” the Metropolitan Museum of Art, photo by Hansi Liao.


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.

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)

Dongze Huo in the Connective Project (Rose Garden in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, 7/7-7/17)

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

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

Shanlin Ye & KAORUKO: On the Verge (Jim Kempner Fine Art, 6/17 – 7/23)

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)

Drea Cofield & Ping Zheng: Summer 2017 (Nancy Margolis Gallery, 6/29 – 7/29)

Nightshift (The Clemente, 7/8 – 7/31)

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: Lin Fengmian (1900 – 1991) – The Fiery Battle of Red Cliffs, ink and color on paper,  27 x 26.4 in. (68.5 x 67.1 cm)