This week: Experimental video and sound performance that contemplates the Borough of Queens; a production of a Chinese classic; a lecture about China’s most important historian (see below for ticket raffle info), Xu Bing; Chinese photographers look at China; and more…
September 22 – A talk about artist Pan Yu Liang who lived and studied in Paris during the Jazz Age.
September 26 – David Henry Hwang talks about the Julie Taymor directed Broadway Revival of his M. Butterfly
September 27 – October 13 – A film series that examines how the martial law period affected life in Taiwan.
September 30 – Modern Sky Festival
Outside of New York:
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) 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.
All performances at 8 PM
Friday – Sunday , September 15 – 17
Thursday, September 21
TADA! Theater, 15 W. 28th Street
2) Stillness in Queens – Malaysian-born Chinese musician/composer JunYi Chow, Asian Cultural Council grantee flutist Seungmin Cha provide the live score to video artist Karen Y. Chan‘s film footage of the present and past for an experimental video and sound art performance that explores the beauty and quietude of everyday life in Queens. Audience members are invited to experience the borough in a new way, and an evening of stillness, by engaging in a multi-dimensional dialogue between video and sound. The performance provides an accessible space for deep contemplation on the complexities of Queens within the simplicity of stillness.
The cultural landscape of Queens is in constant flux and continues to grow. There is a need to invigorate the heart of the diversity by bringing people of different backgrounds closer together through shared experiences. Stillness in Queens is a multi-faceted cultural event that not only makes experimental practices accessible to the public, it also invites Queens residents and visitors to come together for an artistic experience that offers, through a lens of stillness, a new perspective of the borough. The project hopes to enrich cultural life in Queens by engaging disparate communities in a shared experience of creative contemplation and awareness.
Friday, September 15, 8 PM
Flushing Town Hall
3) Princess Raccoon – A young prince banished to a deadly, sacred mountain falls for a raccoon princess (played by Zhang Ziyi, don’t ask). A fever dream of color, patterns, and movement with obviously fake sets that are bewilderingly elaborate (and sometimes even animated). The story is filled with non-sequiturs, and the musical numbers run the gamut in style and genre.
Dir. Seijun Suzuki, 2005
In Japanese and Mandarin
Friday, September 15, 9 PM
Monday, September 18, 6:30 PM
Quad Cinema, 34 W. 13th Street
4) Under the Red Moon: A Chinese Family in Diaspora – The three Huang sisters dispersed during WWII: two came to America while one remained in Shanghai, along with her mother, a concubine. Join MOCA for a talk with Amy S. Kwei as she discusses her new historical novel inspired by her own family history and experience, Under the Red Moon: A Chinese Family in Diaspora. As the sisters navigate living abroad, experience and interact with American culture and people, and struggle to protect their family fractured by war and revolution, we gain insight into the particular experiences of a generation whose immigration journeys were shaped by wartime China. Hailed by Kirkus Reviews as ‘an absorbing exploration of mid-20th century China,’ Under the Red Moon is a story about a family facing personal upheavals at the intersection of major political changes.
Followed by reception and book-signing.
Sunday, September 17, 2:30 PM
Museum of Chinese in America
5) Sima Qian and Shiji / Records of the Grand Historian – In this talk Professor Yu Renqiu, Professor of History at SUNY Purchase, will discuss the life of Sima Qian, the greatest historian in traditional China, his masterpiece Shiji (太史公書), and his work’s lasting impacts on Chinese historical wring and culture.
First of 5-week lecture series, “The Glories of the Han Dynasty”
China Institute has offered us two tickets for each of the lectures in this series. Email firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, September 18, 11:59 PM, if you’re interested in being picked for one.
Wednesday, September 20, 6:30 PM
6) The Conformist 《冰之下》– On the frigid Sino-Russian border, where fortunes are made overnight, unemployed middle-aged police informant Bo (Huang Bo) stumbles across a gun, and decides to try for a big break of his own as a stickup man. Shortly after he goes on the lam in eastern Russia, where a one-night stand turns into something more complicated, and Bo discovers the possibility of something to live for even as his time may be running out. A breakout role for pop singer Bo, awarded at the Shanghai International Film Festival.
Dir. Cai Shangjun, 2017. 123 min.
Followed by Q&A with director Cai Shangjun and screenwriter Gu Xiaobai.
Part of the series ‘New Noir Chinese Crime Films’
Wednesday, September 20, 7 PM
Metrograph, 7 Ludlow Street
Wednesday, September 20, 7 PM
Kellen Auditorium, The New School, 66 5th Ave
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.
At AMC Empire 25
Without getting too involved with the more political aspects of certain groups’ fight for Taiwan’s representation in the United Nations, a team of architectural designers have created an art installation named Taiwan Matters at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (E. 47th Street and 1st Avenue). On view on September 16 and 17, the installation consists of six parts, all of which imitate the geographical landscape of Taiwan. Visitors will be able to move around the pieces freely, enabling the art installation a new perspective, creating new spaces and functionality.
Lulu Meng exhibits her sculpture series Impression in which “softness and movement [of articles of clothing are] frozen in the solidity of the object” as part of the Fourth AIM Biennial at the Bronx Museum of the Arts which is on view through October 22
Fou Gallery shows the fecund botany-themed works of Michael Eade which invoke a certain Chinese aesthetic in Realms of Soil.
Opening and New Listed:
1) China through Chinese Eyes (Photoville, 9/13 – 9/24) – Presented by Yuanjin Photo and Sixth Tone and curated by Ye Charlotte Ming, Yan Cong, David M. Barreda, this exhibition explores social, cultural, and economic issues central to the Chinese people and captured through the eyes of Chinese photographers. It features the work of several visual storytellers published in Chinese media outlets, whose images piece together a nuanced view of this dynamic country, as they help China understand itself.
2) Zhou Hongbin: Habitat (Michele Mariaud Gallery, 9/7 – 9/21) – In the “Habitat” series, her beloved pet rabbits are multiplied through digital magic, and shown swimming energetically through a mysterious watery world. It is an imaginary collage where the bunnies appear adorable in a safe, quiet, soft and clean environment “I choose to be represented by familiar pets like my own bunny to create a habitat, similar to a personal garden, utopian and self-centered, where different moments of my own life are fixed and combined in the same picture” The artist has said she intends to create “lovely and pure thoughts and avoid the conflict of reality.”
3) Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao: Central Park New York: 24 Solar Terms (Foley Gallery, 9/6 – 10/15) – The title of the show takes its name from the ancient Chinese lunar calendar, which divides the year into 24 segments, each segment given a specific solar term. This system provided a time frame for agriculture, everyday life and festivals.
Over the years, Liao has transitioned from large format film to digital photography. By digitally manipulating multiple exposures of Central Park while adapting a vertical format traditionally found in 17th century Chinese scroll paintings, Liao pays homage to both his Taiwanese heritage and identity as a New Yorker. Central Park New York, 24 Solar Terms looks at a dynamic and ever-changing landscape. At once familiar, the “lung of Manhattan” still reveals surprises. Liao invites us into mysterious enclaves primed for intimacy and reflection carefully hidden among the familiar public gathering sites and well-founded landmarks.
4) Patty Chang: The Wandering Lake, 2009 – 2017 (Queens Museum, 9/17/17 – 2/18/18) – A project that redefines the role of artist, image, object and performance in the construction of narratives through an exhibition that integrates video projection, photography, sculpture, publication, and performance as one expansive body of work.
The Wandering Lake, 2009-2017 allows viewers to navigate through Chang’s personal, associative, and narrative meditation on mourning, care-giving, geopolitics, and landscape. The exhibition has been structured to replicate the complex way in which stories develop through geography, history, cultural mythology, fiction, and personal experience. While Chang’s multi-year project was in part inspired by turn-of-the-century colonial explorer Sven Hedin’s book The Wandering Lake (1938)—which tells the story of a migrating body of water in the Chinese desert—the project also chronicles the loss of Chang’s father as well as her pregnancy and the birth of her son.
An artist book has been conceived as an organically integral part of the project. The book conceptually mirrors the installation in the galleries and is comprised of a photo essay by Chang detailing her travels to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of Western China, the site of the wandering lake, and other aquatic locations, along with selected excerpts from the aforementioned literatures and other sources in relevant topics written by authors including Jill Casid, Herman Melville and Alice Walker. The book is co-published with Dancing Foxes Press, an independent publishing platform whose projects render ideas that emerge from the minds of artists, writers, and scholars, and are often driven by content and collaboration.
Exhibition opening: September 17
Visit the exhibition calendar for details for the current shows listed below. Check the museum or gallery’s website for hours of operation.
China through Chinese Eyes (Photoville, 9/13 – 9/24)
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)
Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao: Central Park New York: 24 Solar Terms (Foley Gallery, 9/6 – 10/15)
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: A Massive and Superbly-Decorated Famille Rose Balluster Jar and Cover, Yongzheng Period (1723 – 1735). Seen as part of Marchant: Nine Decades in Chinese Art auction pre-viewing as part of Asia Week at Christie’s.