This week: A talk about a very important bridge in China; a rock band inspired by philosopher Zhuangzi; five new exhibitions with local artists and few recognizable names (not necessarily mutually exclusive); viewings at auction houses where you can get closer to objects of art than you think you should; screening of a new film by a winner of the Mao Dun prize for literature and an up and coming director; and the last weekend to see works by Taiwanese artists and Museum of Chinese in America’s exhibition that reflects the diversity of Chinese cuisine and the importance of food to the Chinese diaspora.
Post has been updated to include the screening of Someone to Talk To and an exhibition at Sleep Center.
September 15 – An experimental video and sound art performance that explores everyday life in Queens
September 22 – A talk about artist Pan Yu Liang who lived and studied in Paris during the Jazz Age
September 30 – Modern Sky Festival
Through October – Taipei Cultural Office’s commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the lifting of martial law in Taiwan.
Outside of New York:
On September 14, Cai Guo-Qiang’s public art project Fireflies opens in Philadelphia with a performance of choreographed pedicabs illuminated with lanterns.
The DC Chinese Film Festival runs from September 21 – 24 and includes a special program that highlights four waves of Chinese language films during the 80s and 90s.
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1) Enchanted Formosa – Presented in collaboration with Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York, Enchanted Formosa travels over one hundred years of Taiwanese history, from the Qing imperial era, to the Japanese colonial decades, and to the current republic. With songs from indigenous tribes, Hoklo groups, and Hakka villages, singer-songwriter Yu-Wei Hsieh and the band brings a spectacular concert that combines folk, pop, and alt-rock.
Friday, September 8, 7:30 – 9 PM
Flushing Town Hall
2) The Great Bridge: Matter and Memory of the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge – The Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge is one of the most significant cultural emblems of China in the 1960s – 1970s. Being regarded as both a political victory and a technological achievement, the Great Bridge became a popular icon that entered people’s everyday lives nationwide. In this lecture, Professor Andong Lu will introduce “Memory Project of the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge”, a research on collective memory and a bottom-up urban regeneration project, and interpret the artefacts and memories of the Great Bridge from a historical perspective to reveal this unprecedented landscape of collective memory. Professor Andong Lu completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge and was elected a Fellow of Wolfson College. He is now Professor at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Nanjing University. He initiated the Memory Project of the Grand Bridge together with a group of scholars and volunteers, intending to revitalize the memories of the bridge and to create a contemporary place of memory. Prof. Lu was extensively quoted in a recent CNN report “How the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge changed China Forever”
This lecture will be conducted in Chinese, with no interpretation.
Saturday, September 9, 6 – 7:30 PM
3) Chui Wan (吹万) – Chui Wan is a psychedelic rock band from Beijing who operate by Daoist philosopher Zhuangzhi’s idiom: “When the wind blows, every sound may be heard therein.” They were the first ever Chinese band to have an album chart on the CMJ Top 200 with their 2015 self-titled release.
Sunday, September 10, 8 – 11 PM
Baby’s All Right, Brooklyn
4) Someone To Talk To 《一句顶一万句》: A Screening and Discussion with Writer Liu Zhenyun and Director Liu Yulin – NYU China House and China Institute will present a screening of Someone to Talk To 《一句顶一万句》, directed by Liu Yulin with a screenplay by Liu Zhenyun (刘震云). Following the screening both Liu Yulin and Liu Zhenyun will take part in a discussion and Q&A with NYU China House Director Zhang Xudong about the film and Liu Zhenyun’s work as a writer.
Based on Liu Zhenyun’s novel One Sentence is Ten Thousand Sentences, Someone to Talk To is multigenerational depiction of the loneliness of modern life and the yearning for a kindred spirit. The story focuses on a pair of siblings – one in a failed marriage, one seeking marriage – and the tragicomic effects that struggling and faulty communication has on their relationships.
Liu Zhenyun is one of China’s most beloved and critically acclaimed contemporary fiction writers known for his humorous and dramatic explorations of modern life.. His novel One Sentence is Ten Thousand Sentences won the Mao Dun Literature Prize in 2011. He has adapted many of this books into screenplays, and is particularly known for his collaborations with director Feng Xiaogang on films including Cell Phone 《手机》, Back to 1942 《一九四二》, and I Am Not Madame Bovary 《我不是潘金莲》.
Liu Yulin is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Film program. Her short film “Door God” won a silver medal in the narrative category at the Student Academy Awards and Best Woman Student Filmmaker at the Directors Guild of America Student Film Awards in the East Region. Someone to Talk To is her first feature film and has played at numerous festivals including the Busan International Film Festival and the New York Asian Film Festival.
Thursday, September 14, 7 PM
Room 102, 19 University Place, New York University
5) Romance of the Western Chamber – This musical adaptation of the classic Romance of the Western Chamber 《西廂記》has an English book and lyrics by Howard Rubenstein, music based on Chinese folk melodies by Max Lee. The story dates from the 13th century, with authorship attributed to Wang Shifu and/or Guan Hanqing. The play has held the Chinese stage almost continuously for eight centuries in spite of intermittent condemnations for “obscenity.” It is a “rich girl, poor boy” love story, with almost insurmountable obstacles in the way of the lovers, many of them overcome with the help of the heroine’s devoted attendant and friend.
Thursday, September 14, 8 PM (first performance of a multi-week run)
TADA! Theater, 15 W. 28th Street
ONGOING FILMS, SHOWS, AND EVENTS
1) Twenty Two 《二十二》- Twenty Two follows the lives of the elderly survivors who were forced into sex slavery as ‘Comfort Women’ by the Japanese during World War II. At the time of filming, only 22 of these women were still alive to tell their story; through their own personal histories and perspectives, they tell a tale that should never be forgotten to generations unaware of the brutalization that occurred.
Read about the film here.
Opens at AMC Empire 25 September 8.
2) The Sinking City – Capsule Oddyssey 《西謊極落之太爆太子太空艙》– Hong Kong is just a ridiculous place that full of lies. In this prosperous city, there are a group of people that have to live in the ‘space capsule’, which are large seminar room that subdivided into small living rooms. In such a small living place. Tsz Hin is a popular online blogger that critics on property market in the cyber world. Unfortunately, he is in debt that can’t even pay for the housing rent in real life. In order to save money for paying the debt, Tsz Hin has to lives in ‘space capsule’, he even lied to his girlfriend for travelling New York to work as an intern. Tsz Hin begins to know other weird neighbors in this urban living places. Ah Fung, a traid member, He is frustrated in working as a grey goods dealer for making a living. One time, he joined a social stabilization event and accidentally defeated government official, and being portrayed as a people’s hero. Cheong, the ex-prisoner that back to his robbery business, which helped his friend Quan (who was a rapist) in saving a beauty’s life in a robbery incident. Ah Shing, a weird guy that having an unusual living operate columbarium business at the space capsule living area. He just accidentally found a 2 million rewarded lost dog. Ah Ming, the van driver that would like to find a nice place for having sex with girlfriend, he even amended his van as a motel for living in country park. It seems everything is just ready for them to enjoy, unfortunately it turns out they have to escape from a gun battle…. This group of people are all struggling in fighting for their ideal lifestyle which shows the spirit of Hong Kong.
Have a read of South China Morning Post‘s review
Opens at AMC Empire 25 September 8
It is that time of the year again — the fall edition Asia Week, a preview of the larger event in the spring, takes place from September 8 to 16. A number of galleries will open to the public Sotheby’s will hold viewings in advance of auctions its auctions Important Chinese Art and Fine Classical Chinese Paintings & Calligraphy; and Christie’s hosts viewings of lots for upcoming auctions Fine Chinese Paintings, Marchant: Nine Decades in Chinese Art, Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, and auction of Chinese snuff bottles.
Hai-Hsin Huang‘s humorous and insightful observations of people out in the world — including one of the enormous drawings showing a moment at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will be on view as part of Revealing Reflected Refractions at Tiger Strikes Asteroid August 4 – September 10.
In addition to an installation at Fully Loaded: Tainan – New York 2017, Lulu Meng‘s will also exhibit her sculpture series Impression in which “softness and movement [of articles of clothing are] frozen in the solidity of the object” is part of the Fourth AIM Biennial at the Bronx Museum of the Arts.
Fou Gallery shows the fecund botany-themed works of Michael Eade in Realms of Soil. The opening reception is September 9, 5 – 8 PM.
Opening and New Listed:
1) Xin Wen (Sandy): Dimensions of Living (Sleep Center, 9/11 – 9/13) – This show features six sections that reflect ever-changing city environments through small scaled living spaces, based on the artist’s experience in different metropolises: Guangzhou, Tokyo, Shanghai, Montreal and New York, as well as one abstract 3-dimensional place named City X. Each section explores urban and interior architectural design through different social contexts to provoke new thoughts about how we perceive our surroundings.
During the past seven years, Sandy has lived in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Melbourne, Tokyo and New York. Each new urban environment presents her with a fascinating canvas in which to explore changing urbanization processes, and what this brings to the space that people live in. Sandy imagines how the metropolis might shape an individual’s lifestyle, represented through her focus on smaller scales and details, which is her own way to record her thoughts and observations of cities and spaces.
Opening reception: September 11, 7 PM
2) Streams and Mountains without End: Landscape Traditions of China (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/26/17 – 1/9/19) – About a thousand years ago, the Chinese landscape painter Guo Xi posed the question, “In what does a gentleman’s love of landscape consist?” This question is at the heart of the exhibition, which explores the many uses of landscape in the Chinese visual arts.
This exhibition, which showcases more than 120 Chinese landscape paintings in three rotations, offers insights into the tradition and reveals distinctions between types of landscape that might not be obvious at first glance. What initially appears to be a simple mountain dwelling, for example, turns out to be the villa of the painter’s friend, encoding a wish for his happy retirement. Similarly, what seems at first to be a simple study in dry brushwork turns out to be an homage to an old master, an expression of reverence for what has come before.
Drawn primarily from The Met’s holdings and supplemented by a dozen private loans, the presentation is augmented by decorative art objects with landscape themes.
3) Lin Tianmiao: Protruding Patterns (Galerie Lelong, 9/7 – 10/21) – Galerie Lelong & Co. is pleased to present Protruding Patterns, a solo exhibition of work by Beijing-based artist Lin Tianmiao that will transform the main gallery with woven carpets. For the first time, viewers are encouraged to touch Lin’s intricate, labor-intensive work with textiles and thread.
Over the past six years, Lin has collected around 2,000 words and expressions about women in various languages. Pulling from popular novels, newspapers, the internet, and colloquial dialogues, she has gathered phrases such as “divinité,” “Mori girl,” and “leftover women.” Some are predictably derogatory to women, demonstrating the continued ubiquity of sexist attitudes reinforced by language, while others are directly recovered from obsolescence, representing the nuanced mix of confusion, humor, self-deprecation, and empowerment that accompanies the shifting consciousness of women. This lexicon is woven into thickly raised wool forms so that viewers can feel the visceral and literal protruding patterns while touching and walking on the carpets.
4) Anonymous Others (The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, 9/7 – 9/10) – After September 11, 2001, Judith Butler stated in her book Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence that, “This fundamental dependency on anonymous others is not a condition that I can will away. No security measure will foreclose this dependency; no violent act of sovereignty will rid the world of this fact.” Butler then posed the question, “Who ‘am’ I, without you?” to further investigate the ties by which we are constituted. According to Butler, such inevitable precariousness of life that results from the necessary connections between individuals also constitutes the possible harm from anonymous others. Given the social and political environment in the United Stated over the past year, Butler’s theory still provides a lens through which we may reconsider the relationship between you and me. Echoing Butler’s theory and current circumstances, this exhibition features three young artists who are exploring the possible response to Butler’s question by adopting a variety of media and forms including photography, performance, and multi-media installations. Viewers are invited to interact with artworks through sight, touch, even taste, to experience the boundary between human and machine, physical and nonphysical.
All of the three artists were born and raised in China after 1985 and received their graduate education in New York City as international students. They are not only witnessing the social and political shift in America’s society but are constantly challenged as both insiders and outsiders as well. As insiders who are attempting to develop their art careers in the States as non-citizens, they are restricted by visa and legal status. As outsiders, the positions that art-making provides them with, they are pushed to find a way to respond to the shift through art. Therefore, such duality enables them to be the ones who are exposed to possible harms from anonymous others because of their vulnerable status. It also gives them power to be anonymous others who actively respond to the current circumstances. Thus they approach the topic as anonymous others themselves but engage all the anonymous others in the mean time.
5) Sun Xun: Time Spy (Sean Kelly Gallery, 9/8 – 10/21) – Sean Kelly presents an exhibition of new works by Sun Xun, widely considered to be one of China’s most talented and ambitious young artists. A major new 3-D animated film entitled Time Spy, produced in late 2016, will be presented alongside a selection of the woodcuts used to create the film. This will be Sun Xun’s second exhibition with the gallery. Composed of thousands of images of individual hand-carved woodcuts, Time Spy marks an evolution in the artist’s practice. Constantly developing new techniques in his process, Sun Xun adopts a different medium for each of his animations. For this film, he produced thousands of woodcuts and then transformed images of each woodcut into 3-D film, with each frame of film requiring eighteen pictures per second to pass in front of the camera lens.
The film employs images of traditional Chinese themes such as the five elements—metal, wood, water, fire, and earth—in a symbolic exploration of the nature of time and how we try to make sense of it. Motion is a leitmotif of the film, as a violin with wings flies through a sky filled with spinning moons, while rotating machinery gives way to strange landscapes and oscillating pressure valves. Sun Xun’s films do not have a “story,” but their themes usually arise out of trips he takes to other countries.
Opening reception: Thursday, September 7, 6 – 8 PM
6) Maya Lin: Ebb and Flow (Pace Gallery, 9/8 – 10/7) – Pace Gallery presents Maya Lin: Ebb and Flow featuring 9 new installations and sculptures that continue the artist’s ongoing investigation of water in its different states. The exhibition includes wall and floor pieces made from recycled silver, glass marbles, steel pins, and marble. Lin’s fourth exhibition with Pace since she joined the gallery in 2008, Ebb and Flow is on view at the 537 West 24th Street gallery.
Opening reception: Thursday, September 7, 6 – 8 PM.
Anonymous Others (The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, 9/7 – 9/10)
Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy: Stories of Chinese Food and Identity in America (Museum of Chinese in America, 10/6/2016 – 9/10/17)
Visit the exhibition calendar for details for the current shows listed below. Check the museum or gallery’s website for hours of operation.
NSFW: Female Gaze (group show with Pixy Yijun Liao, Museum of Sex, 6/21 – TBC)
Anonymous Others (The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, 9/7 – 9/10)
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)
Diaspora, Drifting and Accumulation: Long-Bin Chen Sculptural Works (Frederieke Taylor Gallery, 9/7 – 9/30)
Maya Lin: Ebb and Flow (Pace Gallery, 9/8 – 10/7)
Referencing Alexander Calder: A Dialogue in Contemporary Chinese Art (Klein Sun Gallery, 9/7 – 10/7)
Yang Jiechang: The Whip (Chambers Fine Art, 9/7 – 10/17)
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)
History’s Shadows and Light (Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, 8/29 – 10/12)
Sun Xun: Time Spy (Sean Kelly Gallery, 9/8 – 10/21)
Lin Tianmiao: Protruding Patterns (Galerie Lelong, 9/7 – 10/21)
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)
Streams and Mountains without End: Landscape Traditions of China (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/26/17-1/9/19)
Lead image: Wu Guanghong – The Great Wall, 1981. Ink and color on paper, 37 3/8 x 69 7/8 in. (95 x 177.5 cm)