NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: September 29 – October 5, 2017

Woman’s Theatrical Jacket

This week: Films from Taiwan that examine life after martial law; Modern Sky Festival; an Asian American mini film festival; a film not about Buddhism, but a Buddhist film; new exhibitions with Zhang Hongtu, at the Museum of Chinese in America, and about deities; and the Mid-Autumn Festival on October 4

Coming up:

The film series, Martial Law and After: Reflection of the 30th Anniversary of the End of Martial Law in Taiwan Cinema, which examines how the martial law period affected life in Taiwan, continues.

October 6 – Release concert for Min Xiao Fen’s new solo album Mao, Monk, and Me which combines her Chinese roots and influence by and immersion in jazz.

October 6 – The highly anticipated and criticized Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World opens at the Guggenheim.

October 7 – Taiwanese American Professionals New York chapter’s Mid-Autumn Festival Party and Soiree

October 7 – Walkthrough with Lin Tianmiao and Michelle Yun for Lin’s work Protruding Patterns now on view at Galerie Lelong

October 7 – Fou Gallery’s UNTITLEDdialogue returns with screenings and discussion of Tiger Cai‘s experimental short films.

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) Super Citizen Ko 《超級大國民》– Suspected of being a leftist, Ko spent around 30 years in prison and institutions, always obsessively worrying about the fate of his best friend Chen executed in the 1950s. Soon after his release, Ko goes in search of the truth and a part of himself. Only when he learns the truth is he able to pay his respects.

Followed by a panel discussion with the director, curators and Feng-mei Heberer, Assistant Professor of Dept. of Cinema Studies, NYU, moderated by Zhen Zhang, Director of Asian Film and Media Initiative and Associate Professor of Dept. of Cinema Studies, NYU.

Friday, September 29, 2 PM
Michelson Theater (721 Broadway, 6th Fl.), NYU


2) A China Scholar’s Rendezvous with Islam – Based on an essay for the upcoming issue of CUNY FORUM, Volume 5:1, on the necessary convergence of Islamic Studies and Asian studies. Prof. Xia will elaborate on his own personal and intellectual journey as a China scholar, discovering how Islam has become so essential to understanding conflict and cooperation in China and the East Asian region. Prof. Xia will also propose an Asian perspective in looking at the securitization of Islamic issues in the West and contemplate on some suggestions for solving the so-called clashes of civilizations.

Friday, September 29, 6 – 8 PM
Asian American Asian Research Institute, CUNY, Room 1000, 25 West 43rd Street


3) Hand in Hand 《牽阮的手》– A 17-year-old high school girl, Tian Meng-Shu, falls in love with a Japanese-educated physician, Tian Chao-Ming, who is 16 years her senior. Little did the fearless young lady know that their lives over the next 60 years would closely follow the thread of Taiwan’s post-World War II political history. The couple bravely face insurmountable obstacles to fight for Taiwan’s democratic and human rights movements under Martial Law.

Dir. Juang Yi-tzeng, Yen Lan-chuan, 2010. 140 min.

Friday, September 29, 6:15 PM
Michelson Theater (721 Broadway, 6th Floor), NYU


4) One Mind – One Mind is a rare cinematic portrait of life inside one of China’s most austere and revered Zen communities. The monks at Zhenru Chan Monastery continue to uphold a strict monastic code established over 1,200 years ago by the founding patriarchs of Zen in China.

Director Edward A. Burger (Amongst White Clouds) has lived and studied with Buddhist communities in China for over 15 years, and is the first Western filmmaker to be granted such unprecedented access to the daily rituals and traditions practiced in this remote mountain monastery.

More than a portrait of life within this monastic community, One Mind is an experiment in Buddhist filmmaking. A markedly quiet and contemplative film, Burger has crafted a documentary that is not “about” Buddhism, but rather a “Buddhist film.” Taking inspiration from traditional Zen stories and lessons told by elder monks and teachers at Zhenru monastery, each chapter of the film explores the trials and challenges we all must face when we set forth to become wiser, kinder human beings. In One Mind we learn that this journey begins when we turn our gaze inward—that no matter how far we have traveled and how many mountains and valleys we have crossed, the true adventure awaits us within the landscapes of our own mind.

Friday, September 29, 7 – 8:30 PM
Wednesday, October 4, 7 – 9 PM with Director Q&A
Rubin Museum of Art


5) Lu Meixu, Cello, and Guest Artists: Reflections – This performance features world premieres of several Chinese works for cello.

  • BEETHOVEN – Seven Variations in E-flat Major on the theme “Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen” from Mozart’s The Magic Flute for Cello and Piano
  • FANG DONGQING – Eight Drunken Immortals (US Premiere)
  • TAN DUN – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (arr. Guo Yifan)
  • LI XINYAN – The Dunhuang Lovers (World Premiere)
  • FANG DONGQING – Nu Gei Ri Le (US Premiere)

Friday, September 29, 8 PM
Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall


6) 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 29 – October 1
TADA! Theater, 15 W. 28th Street

7) First CACAGNY Mid-Autumn Film Festival of 2017 – The Chinese American Citizens Alliance of Greater New York hosts films by or about Chinese Americans with screenings accompanied by discussions with filmmakers and historians.

Friday, September 29 – Sunday, October 1
21 Pell Street


8) Songs for the Sage: A Confucius Day Celebration – As part of its Confucius Day Celebration, China Institute hosts a performance of four original works by the New Asia Chamber Music Society. Composed by Hung Ping Chang, these works celebrate the essence of aesthetics and philosophy in Chinese culture, as reflected in China Institute’s exhibition Dreams of the Kings: A Jade Suit for Eternity, Treasures of the Han Dynasty from Xuzhou. Following the concert, participants are invited to a reception.


  • “The Wind Walk” for violin duet
  • “Rain Bamboo” for solo flute
  • “Pine Smoke_ Cursive” for string quartet
  • “Silk Road Fantasie” for string quartet

Saturday, September 30, 2 PM
China Institute


9) Modern Sky Festival – Now in its fourth year, returns to Central Park with Hong Kong music and film icon Edison Chen 陳冠希, indie-pop songwriter A Si 阿肆, seminal Beijing post-punkers Re-TROS 重塑雕像的权利, hip-hop crew HHH 红花会, and Modern Sky USA Records signees Calvin Love and Brian Hill and the Noh Starrs.

Saturday, September 30, 3 – 10 PM
Rumsey Playfield, Central Park (near 71st Street)


10) Banana Paradise 《香蕉天堂》– “Door Latch” and his friend followed the KMT army and moved to Taiwan in 1949. They concealed their real name and got many trials and afflictions to adapt the circumstances in that special situation. Even though there are a lot of embarrassing situations and he suffers many difficulties, Door Latch survives. However, bigger secrets will unfold.

Preceded by a talk on “Historiographies of Home in Wang Tong’s Cinema, Before and After the Lifting of the Martial Laws” by Guo-Juin Hong, Associate Professor of Dept. of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University; followed by a Q & A moderated by Liana Chen, Assistant Professor of Dept. of East Asian Languages and Literatures, George Washington University

Dir. Wang Tung, 1989. 116 min.

Wednesday, October 4, 1-3 PM
Room B126, Chanin Center Insdorf Screening Room, Hunter West Building, Hunter College


11) Imagining the Afterlife Through Han Dynasty Art   – Dr. Susan Beningson, Assistant Curator of Asian Art, Brooklyn Museum, will examine Han Dynasty artworks and what they reveal about the era’s thought and belief systems, as reflected in Dreams of the Kings.

Part 3 of the 5-week lecture series, “The Glories of the Han Dynasty”

Wednesday, October 4, 6:30 – 8 PM
China Institute


1) Chasing the Dragon 《追龍》 Donnie Yen stars as the infamous real-life drug kingpin Crippled Ho, who came to Hong Kong an illegal immigrant in 1963 and ruthlessly carved an empire from the chaotic underworld of drug dealers and corrupt police that ruled the city under notorious detective Lee Rock, played by Andy Lau.

At AMC Empire 25


2) Hong Kong Trilogy – For years Hong Kong was the beating heart of Chinese pop cinema, but reunification with the Mainland in 1997 upset the delicate balance that had fostered the city’s genius, and it has been a city in transition ever since. Who better to track that transition than Christopher Doyle, longtime resident, Wong Kar-wai’s frequent cinematographer, and a man with a sure-shot eye for the telling detail? In three docufiction segments, Doyle looks at three generations of Hong Kongers: School children, young “Umbrella Movement” activists, and the elderly. Overlaying audio from interview recordings onto loose narrative vignettes, Doyle creates sweet, richly textured, free-flowing portraits of a bevy of unforgettable characters, here just in time for the Umbrella Movement’s anniversary.

September 22 – September 27 at Metrograph



Wang Xu is one of the artists at The 2017 Socrates Annual which opens on Oct 1. The Socrates Annual – formerly known as The Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition – is an annual exhibition of new public art that addresses the most urgent issues of today.

Dongze Huo will be part of the group shows Live – Work – Play NYC which opens September 21 and Interactive which will be on view September 23 – October 15.

Fina Yeung will exhibit her mixed-media cardboard installations at ARTISTS CO-OP at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning which runs from September 21 – November 11.

Chinese Indonesian artist FX Harsono is one of the artists in Asia Society’s After Darkness: Southeast Asian Art in the Wake of History which runs from September 8, 2017 – January 21, 2018.  A frequent theme in his work is about being part of the ethnic Chinese minority in the country.  From the exhibition page:

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) TWO ROCKS: Nobuo Sekine and Zhang Hongtu (Baahng Gallery, 9/20 -10/21) – TWO ROCKS showcases the work of modern sages, Nobuo Sekine and Zhang Hongtu, from the 1980’s and 1990’s, pivotal years in their contributions to art. Sekine is a key founder of Mono-ha, a group of artists that gained prominence in Tokyo in the late 1960’s for their rejection of the traditional ideas of representation. Primarily known as a sculptor, Sekine incorporates natural and industrial materials in his work, and his work explores the properties and interdependency of these materials with their surrounding space. In the late 1980’s, he returned to his original training as a painter, and began creating Phase Conception – a series of “paintings” of phases. Concurrently, in the late 1980’s, Zhang, a forerunner of Political Pop Art, immigrated to New York where he would discover Pop Art against the geo-political backdrop of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. Zhang is known for using various painting styles and media to produce artistic critiques of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, including through his appropriating images of Mao Zedong. His newer works have branched into environmental concerns, and include his classical Chinese landscape paintings, which, traditionally painted in black-and-white, are added with sensuous, toxic colors.


2) In Focus: An Assembly of Gods (Asia Society Museum, 9/26/17 – 3/25/18) – This exhibition features a large and marvelously detailed Chinese pantheon painting featuring a range of Buddhist, Daoist, Confucian, and popular Chinese deities. The religious traditions to which these gods belong have coexisted in China for well over one-thousand years. While the discrete religious and philosophical traditions maintained their integrity, over time deities, and sometimes even historical figures, were co-opted by popular religions, from which syncretic imagery of pantheon paintings and prints emerged.

Anonymous. (Detail) Chinese New Year Pantheon. Qing dynasty (1644–1911), late 18th–early 19th century. Ink and colors on paper. Private Collection. Photography by John Bigelow Taylor 2017


3) Ding Yi: Appearance of Crosses (Timothy Taylor Gallery, 9/29 – 10/28) – Ding Yi has been making abstract paintings using crosses and grids since the late 1980s. The cross, whether a + or an x with thematic variation, is a motif that the artist has declared a formal mark without meaning, in order to emphasise his rationalist approach to painting. The context of Ding’s work has always been the incredibly fast-paced development of the industrial urban environment in post-socialist China, and the work, whether predominantly black, painted on tartan, or elaborated in intense fluorescent colours, all bear the title Appearance of Crosses with a date. Ding’s practice encompasses painting, sculpture, spatial installation and architecture.

Ding Yi’s work will also be on view at Sean Scully Studio (9/29 – 11/7, 447 West 17th Street).


4) FOLD: Golden Venture Paper Sculptures (Museum of Chinese in America, 10/5 /17 – 3/25/18) – As a way to actively engage visitors in a conversation about immigration issues, FOLD: Golden Venture Paper Sculptures will present the story of the passengers of the Golden Venture, a ship carrying 286 undocumented Chinese passengers that ran aground in New York City in 1993. Selected from MOCA’s collection, over forty sculptures collectively created by the immigrants while detained for years at York County Prison will be on display. Through symbolic representations that include caged birds and American eagles, the sculptures give shape to both the quantitative and qualitative time spent waiting for uncertain legal outcomes. For most of these sculptures, their forms are Chinese folk art, but their subject matter is uniquely American. Idiomatic expressions and art-related theories of the “fold” as a form, action and metaphor will be used as an organizing principle for the exhibition’s content and design. In addition to archive materials, recent interviews with immigration attorneys and supporters of the Golden Venture detainees will also provide multiple perspectives on the attainment of the American Dream.

A ship made entirely of folded paper by refugees detained after the Golden Venture ran aground. Photo courtesy of the Museum of Chinese in America.


Closing soon:

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)

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)


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.

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)

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)

Yang Jiechang: The Whip (Chambers Fine Art, 9/7 – 10/17)

Sun Xun: Time Spy (Sean Kelly Gallery, 9/8 – 10/21)

Lin Tianmiao: Protruding Patterns (Galerie Lelong, 9/7 – 10/21)

TWO ROCKS: Nobuo Sekine and Zhang Hongtu (Baahng Gallery, 9/20 -10/21)

Heidi Lau: The Primordial Molder (Bronx Museum of the Arts, 7/19 – 10/22)

Ding Yi: Appearance of Crosses (Timothy Taylor Gallery, 9/29 – 10/28)

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

East of Que Village: The Ends of Nature (The Walther Collection, 10/6 – 11/25)

Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World (Guggenheim, 10/6/17 – 1/8/18)

Streams and Mountains without End: Landscape Traditions of China (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/26/17 – 1/9/19)

Patty Chang: The Wandering Lake, 2009 – 2017 (Queens Museum, 9/17/17 – 2/18/18)

FOLD: Golden Venture Paper Sculptures (Museum of Chinese in America, 10/5 /17 – 3/25/18)

In Focus: An Assembly of Gods (Asia Society Museum, 9/26/17 – 3/25/18)

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

Lead image: Woman’s theatrical jacket, Qing Dynasty, 19th century. Silk damask applique, silk thread embroidery on satin, plain weave silk, 33 1/2 x 114 in. (85.1 x 289.6 cm) On view as part of From the Imperial Theater: Chinese Opera Costumes of the 18th and 19th Centuries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art