NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: October 20 – October 26, 2017

Japanese Snacks in Taiwan

This week: Documentary films curated by Ai Weiwei and director Wang Fen that offer glimpses of contemporary China; a talk about obesity amongst Asian Americans; Min Xiao-Fen joins a tribute to Thelonious Monk; electro-rock band The Either; a talk about a Chinese artist in Jazz Age Paris; a celebration of public art involving Taiwanese aboriginal culture and Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong’s sculptures and workshops; a collaboration between Junzi Kitchen and Fou Gallery; “New York Chinese Americana” at Wing On Wo & Co.; a documentary about Shirley MacLaine’s trip to China with a group of American women from various walks of life during the Cultural Revolution; and more…

Coming up:

11/4 – Music from China debuts new contemporary Chinese classical works

11/8 – Guo Xiaolu talks about her new book Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China at Asia Society

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) Falling from the Sky 《天降》– The little-known county of Suining in Hunan province is an ordinary yet magical place. As the planned landing site for the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, the area has experienced many instances of falling rocket debris since the 1990s. These mysterious and dangerous “visitors from the heavens” have disrupted the lives of its 160,000 residents. 2008 was both the year China hosted the Olympics and its “year of aerospace.” Beneath the veneer of these national celebrations, the residents of Suining were forced once again to face their peculiar fate of debris falling from the sky.

Dir. Zhang Zanbo (张赞波)
China, 2009, 145 min.
Mandarin and Hunan dialect with Chinese and English subtitles

Part of the film festival Turn It On: China on Film, 2000–2017 co-curated by Ai Weiwei and Wang Fen

Friday, October 20, 12 PM
Guggenheim Museum


2) The Road 《大路朝天》– In 2010 builders broke ground on the Xu-Huai Highway, a section of China’s 100,000-kilometer highway system in the mountainous western region of Hunan province. Zhang Zanbo spent more than three years at the construction site filming the conditions of the migrant laborers, contractors, officials, and local residents there. The rise of this highway has been marked by frequent public security incidents, acts of resistance, and mafia interventions. The construction has laid the landscape and many historical and cultural sites to waste. As this miracle of modern engineering takes shape, it offers an apt allegory for the dreams of a nation.

Dir. Zhang Zanbo 《张赞波》
China, 2015, 94 min.
Mandarin and Hunan dialect with Chinese and English subtitles

Part of the film festival Turn It On: China on Film, 2000–2017 co-curated by Ai Weiwei and Wang Fen

Friday, October 20, 2:30 PM
Guggenheim Museum


3) Dietary Beliefs & Obesity Prevention Behaviors of Chinese Americans on the East and West Coasts  The obesity epidemic is a widely recognized global health issue affecting all races and ethnic groups including Chinese Americans. A survey research study was conducted to explore the dietary beliefs and obesity prevention behaviors of Chinese Americans in the New York and Los Angeles county regions. A multi-state approach was used to compare East versus West coast participants on psychosocial determinants of behaviors conducive for the prevention of obesity. Practical and Insightful nutrition recommendations to reduce obesity risk will be presented in an intercultural context.

Friday, October 20, 6 PM
Asian American / Asian Research Institute – City University of New York, 25 West 43rd Street, Room 1000


4) Thelonious Monk at 100 – Min Xiao-Fen’s Blue Pipa Trio is among the performers paying tribute to jazz legend Thelonious Monk on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Friday, October 20, 7 PM
Metropolitan Museum of Art


5) Dream Walking 《梦游》 – This film follows four artists living on the margins of society whose passionate discussions belie their stark and impoverished living conditions. The subjects are performance artist Li Wake, painters Wang Yongping and Ding Defu, and poet Motou Beibei, who is hailed online as a genius but in reality works as a security guard. Overcome by ennui, lost in the uncertainties of their everyday lives and their artistic identities, the artists express certain hopelessness.

Dir. Huang Wenhai
China, 2005, 86 min.
Mandarin with English subtitles

Part of the film festival Turn It On: China on Film, 2000–2017 co-curated by Ai Weiwei and Wang Fen

Saturday, October 21, 12 PM
Guggenheim Museum


6) It’s Happening!  Celebrating 50 Years of Public Art in NYC Parks – The city commemorates the Art in the Parks program which has brought over 2,000 works to NYC parks since 1967.  Among the programs are:

Taiwan Tribal Spirits Updated – Taiwan Tribal Spirit Updated is a cross-disciplinary art performance interweaving visual art, dance, and music with sculptures and installations, and underlining issues with the individual and the group. Taiwanese American artists undertake an extensive collaborative project that reinterprets Taiwanese tribal and migration themes and transforms them into a contemporary interactive happening. Yutien Chang’s large sculpture made with chicken wire and CDs responds to Catherine Lan’s digital silk prints that originate from found plastic sheets and disco lights. These everyday elements resonate with Lan and Beverly Tu’s costumes based on tribal motifs yet constructed from neon-colored and reflective vinyl materials engraved with cut out floral patterns, found curtains, bubble wrap, and plastic weavings. Original music composed by Shuo-An Chen takes elements from Elder’s Drinking Song from Taiwan’s indigenous peoples as its point of departure, and overlays them with bells and other tones to recall the forest.

Saturday, October 21, stage performances at 1, 1:30 PM and a later performance on grass.

Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong‘s interactive pieces from her Prosthetics for Conflict Resolution series will be on display, and she will lead Fine Lines, a participatory workshop that involves spatial drawing with the body.

Saturday, October 21, 11 AM – 3 PM
Taiwan Tribal Spirits Updated: Stage performances at 1, 1:30 PM and a later performance on grass.
Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong: Workshops at  11:30 AM, 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM
East Pinetum, Central Park (Behind the Met Museum)


7) We the Workers 《凶年之畔》–  For over thirty years, China has been swept up in rapid capitalist development. The “China miracle” has been built on the backs of hundreds of millions of migrant laborers. This film features workers from different provinces spanning two generations who have resisted this force through activist struggle and action.

Dir. Huang Wenhai (黄文海)
China, 2017, 173 min.
Mandarin with English subtitles

Part of the film festival Turn It On: China on Film, 2000–2017 co-curated by Ai Weiwei and Wang Fen

Saturday, October 21, 1:30 PM
Guggenheim Museum


8) Sit, Eat, Chew: A Guided Immersive Dance Tour of Chinatown – Sit, Eat and Chew (五味杂陈) is about those kinds of amazing, conversation-stopping stories that were never intended to be public.

There is a Chinese proverb – Wǔ Wèi Zá Chén 五味杂陈 – that uses the five tastes of cooking (sour, sweet, bitter, spicy and salty) to describe the complex emotions in life’s ups and downs. In Sit, Eat and Chew, this proverb connects to personal stories that have become the creative and emotional inspiration for dance theater performances in unusual local spots. Small groups are guided in their explorations of the works as they’re performed in five public and private locations throughout Chinatown, including a local hair salon, a private apartment, a park, restaurant, and the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA).

Led by Mei-Yin Ng, founder of MEI-BE WHATever ( in 2003 as a collective for the interaction of artists from diverse fields. Ng has been creating site-specific works for over 15 years in USA, Europe, and Asia.

Saturday, October 21
Sunday, October 22
Tours at 2, 2:45, and 3:30
Museum of Chinese in America


9) Almost Heaven – Ying Ling, a 17-year-old trainee at a funeral parlor in Changsha, is among a new and ambitious generation of youngsters from rural China who received high school diplomas and are trying their luck with better-paid jobs in the big cities, far from home. With a combination of humor and tenderness, the film captures Ying’s universal struggle to adapt to her new life: she calls her parents often, spends a night at the mall, and tries to stave off the boredom of daily work. The funeral parlor adds a dimension of drama, with long sequences of Ying practicing corpse-washing techniques on a mannequin, and then a colleague, before her nervous first encounter with a deceased person. It is an understated, unglamorous, and heartfelt coming-of-age story in a sobering environment.

Dir. Carol Salter
United Kingdom, 2017, 75 min.

The Hollywood Reporter liked the film.

Sunday, October 22, 12 PM
American Museum of Natural History


10) Think!Chinatown Community Day Presents Eating Bitterness – Docent-led tour and performance at Eating Bitterness, a show is a meditation on the role of enduring adversity in the psyche of immigrant families, comprising nine artists’ work across sculpture, photography, painting, and performance. Just as each artist’s personal relationship to the chi ku mentality varies, each piece approaches the concept from a different perspective: as a virtue or a burden; with familiarity or estrangement; as part of an inheritance or against the backdrop of orientalism. Narratives of loss, alienation, and disorientation are woven throughout the work. The exhibition, located on the border of a gentrifying Chinatown, aims to be a space to constellate these ideas and for visitors to consider their own relationship to eating bitterness.

Sunday, October 22, 2 PM
384 Broadway


11) Pan Yu Liang: A Chinese Painter in Jazz Age Paris – Among many art, music and literature lovers, particularly devotees of Modernism, the expatriate community in France during the Jazz Age represents a remarkable convergence of genius in one place and period—one of the most glorious in history. Drawn by the presence of such avant-garde figures as Joyce and Picasso, artists and writers fled the censorious cultures of their homes in China, Russia and the United States to head for the free-wheeling scene in Paris, where they made contact with rivals, collaborators, and a sophisticated audience of collectors and patrons. The outpouring of boundary-pushing novels, paintings, ballets, music, and design was so profuse that it belies the brevity of the era (1918–1929). Among them was the fascinating and supremely talented painter Pan Yu Liang, the first woman from China selected for a scholarship at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. She joined an elite cadre of Chinese intellectuals already in Paris, including Xu Bei Hong, Fu Lei and Zhou Enlai. This talk will frame her achievement as an artist and teacher, including her tempestuous return to teach in Nanjing and Shanghai, with stories of other notable talents in the creative community of Paris between the wars.

Sunday, October 22, 3 PM
Room 1214 12th Floor, Pearl Studios NYC, 500 8th Avenue


12) Playing in Black – Electro-rock band The Either, the first band with an electric pipa, or “e-pa” headlines ahead of their EP release November 1.

Sunday, October 22, 7 PM
Blackthorn 51, 80-12 51st Avenue, Elmhurst, Queens


12) Junzi x Fou: Flavors of a New Landscape – Fou Gallery and Junzi Kithchen are delighted to invite you to celebrate the season and terroir with Michael Eade artwork and Lucas Sin’s tasting menus. Parallel with Fou Gallery’s current exhibition Michael Eade: Realms of the Soil, Lucas will serve a short tasting menu at 3 events, two at Junzi Kitchen and one at Fou Gallery

Eade purposefully creates landscapes based on real world places that are often associated with mythologies. Drawing inspiration from Eastern and Western art, botanical illustrations, collected objects and cell phone photos of real plants taken by Eade and his friends, Eade transforms his landscapes into his version of a “Utopia”. At Junzi Kitchen, terroir, season, and culture are similarly explored through the lens of modern Chinese cuisine. For this collaboration, in tandem with Michael Eade’s landscapes, Sin will host a short tasting menu that responds to Michael’s art and objects, exploring themes of the early fall.

Thursday, October 26, 7 PM
Junzi Kitchen, 2896 Broadway


13) WOW Maker Series Presents: Cynonyc – Join us as Lexton Dela Cruz Moy talks about his process in creating his own lifestyle brand, CYNONYC, redefining ‘New York Chinese Americana’. Lexton will be speaking at length about how he is using graphic design to honor and preserve the history, traditions and cultural custom of Manhattan’s Chinatown. CYNONYC and Wing On Wo & Co. will also be revealing a new tea line collaboration at the event. This is the second event of a series profiling different Asian American makers and creatives at Wing On Wo & Co.

Thursday, October 26, 7 PM
Wing On Wo & Co., 26 Mott Street


14) The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir – Following the normalizing of relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China in 1972, Shirley MacLaine led a group of American women from different walks of life – including an activist from Mississippi, a Texas housewife, a California shrink, a Puerto Rican sociologist, and a representative of the Navajo Nation – on a two-month tour of the Middle Kingdom. Feted by Communist Party representatives (including Deng Yingchao, wife of premier Zhou Enlai), the MacLaine delegation saw a new side of China to which Cold War-era moviegoers were rarely exposed, while bristling against the more “programmatic” aspects of the tour. From Beijing to Shanghai to Guangzhou to the Great Wall, the journey was captured in incandescent 16mm by documentarian Claudia Weill – who would go on to make the seminal Girlfriends a few years later.

Albeit playfully, MacLaine butts heads against notions of artistic genius and the common good, measuring carefully how Party authorities ensure that children grow up to live and work elbow-to-elbow. “One child has monopolized a toy airplane meant for all the children,” MacLaine’s voiceover advises. “We have to think this problem over.” Like Antonioni’s Chung Kuo, Cina, MacLaine and Weill’s film casts a deliberately anthropological eye to the processes it captures – in this instance, for the purposes of learning from Maoist feminism and taking camaraderie lessons back to the American heartland. Screening for the first time in over 40 years, The Other Half of the Sky is an invaluable travelogue; more than that, it’s an utterly sui generis glimpse at a goodwill interaction between American privilege and Communist discipline, made during the height of what we now understand to have been the Cultural Revolution.

Dirs. Shirley MacLaine and Claudia Weill
United States, 1976, 74 min.

Screening to be followed by discussion with Claudia Weill, Herb Hoi Chun Tam and Steve Macfarlane

Thursday, October 26, 7:30 PM
UnionDocs, 322 Union Avenue, Brooklyn


1) M. Butterfly  – The first Broadway revival of David Henry Hwang’s Tony Award-winning play stars Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe Award winner Clive Owen as Rene Gallimard, Jin Ha as Song Liling and is directed by Ton Award winner Julie Taymor. M. Butterfly, charts the scandalous romance between a married French diplomat and a mysterious Chinese opera singer – a remarkable love story of international espionage and personal betrayal. Their 20-year relationship pushed and blurred
the boundaries between male and female, east and west – while redefining the nature of love and the devastating cost of deceit.

In preview through October 25
Opens October 26
Cort Theatre, 138 W. 48th Street


2) The Foreigner – The film tells the story of humble London businessman Quan (Chan), whose long-buried past erupts in a revenge-fueled vendetta when the only person left for him to love — his teenage daughter — is taken from him in a senseless act of politically-motivated terrorism.

In his relentless search for the identity of the terrorists, Quan is forced into a cat- and-mouse conflict with a British government official (Brosnan), whose own past may hold clues to the identities of the elusive killers.

At various local theaters


3) Never Say Die 《羞羞的铁拳》– A boxer and a journalist accidentally exchange bodies after they are struck by current, embarking a series of adventures. The new comedy stars most of the cast members of Goodbye Mr Loser, the troupe’s highest-grossing movie and the first movie adapted from one of Mahua’s theater plays

At AMC Empire 25


4) Human Flow – In an epic film journey led by the internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei, Human Flow gives a powerful visual expression to this massive human migration. The documentary elucidates both the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact. Captured over the course of a year amid 23 countries, the film follows a chain of urgent human stories that stretches across the globe, and acts as a witness to its subjects and their desperate search for safety, shelter and justice; from the haunting lure of lives left behind to the unknown potential of the future. This visceral work of cinema is a testament to the unassailable human spirit and poses one of the questions that will define this century: Will our global society emerge from fear, isolation, and self-interest and choose a path of openness, freedom, and respect for humanity?

Through October 26
Q&A with Ai Weiwei following the 1:50 PM screening on 10/14
Angelika Film Center, 18 W. Houston Street


Group Shows and Local Artists:

Chen An-An and Chang Yun Han, two artists from Taiwan participating in residencies through Residency Unlimited, will show new works in a group show that reference the city’s challenges and juxtapositions: solitude within intimacy, comfort within states of transition, and the impulse to follow the “American Dream.” The artworks in the exhibition consider moments of growth and passage, through love, memory, new beginnings, and piecing together private emotions in a material form.  At Residency  Unlimited, 360 Court Street #4, Brooklyn, October 19 – 22, with an opening reception October 19, 6 – 8 PM.

Artists Cecile Chong, Cui Fei, Ming-Jer Kuo, Suzanne Song, and Xin Song participate in EFA Open Studios, at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, 323 W. 39th Street, October 19 – 21.

He Wei, co-founder of He and Hu, shows works on paper at Carma Asian Tapas starting October 4.

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.

Fina Yeung will exhibit her mixed-media cardboard installations at ARTISTS CO-OP at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning which runs rom 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. She will also participate in Eating Bitterness,  a group show what meditates on the role of enduring adversity in the psyche of immigrant families, comprising nine artists’ work across sculpture, photography, painting, and performance.

Fou Gallery shows the fecund botany-themed works of Michael Eade which invoke a certain Chinese aesthetic in Realms of Soil.

Opening and Newly Listed:

1) Guo Hongwei: The Pre-existent Painting (Chambers Fine Art, 10/1 – 11/12) – The Pre-existent Painting by Guo Hongwei converts the main gallery into a natural history lab, comprised of 80-100 new watercolors and painted objects rendered through relentless observation and conceptual deduction of natural minerals. These experimentations are juxtaposed with a series of drawings about India made in 1990s and a recent installation Futurama by Blum-Reddy, exploring acts of tracing, archiving and the processes of collecting that are evident in both artists’ practices.

While Guo meticulously traces the growth pattern of natural minerals and ultimately recreates them through painting and artificial materials, Blum-Reddy who works mainly with texts and symbols painstakingly reproduces names of various natural and manmade entities in India, from railroad stations, to phonebooks, to listings of official governmental offices, to rivers and mountains. Blum-Reddy’s approach to documenting places and events where she lives, at once creates a direct dialogue with Guo’s pictorial archiving of organic objects he comes across. Co-presented with Chambers Fine Art & Twelve Gates Arts Through December 9.

Presented as part of Asia Contemporary Art Week (ACAW) 2017 signature program: THINKING PROJECTS— Pop-Up exhibition series

Guo Hongwei,The Illustration Book of Natural Forms,2017
Watercolor on paper
Image courtesy the artist


Closing soon:

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)

Musquiqui Chihying: Resistance is Futile (Gallery 456, 10/6 – 11/3)

Fan Yu (ACAW x Sundaram Tagore Gallery, 10/12 – 11/4)

Current shows:

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

 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)

Musquiqui Chihying: Resistance is Futile (Gallery 456, 10/6 – 11/3)

Fan Yu (ACAW x Sundaram Tagore Gallery, 10/12 – 11/4)

Guo Hongwei: The Pre-existent Painting (Chambers Fine Art, 10/1 – 11/12)

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)

Closer to the Beautiful World (Klein Sun Gallery, 10/12 – 11/25)

ACAW THINKING PROJECTS Pop-Up: Yang Xin (Beijing) (Klein Sun Gallery, 10/12 – 11/25)

Li Jun: Zi Jie at East Lake (ACAW x Mana Contemporary, Oct 15 – Dec 15)

Song Dong: Eating the City (ACAW x Mana Contemporary, Oct 15 – Dec 15)

Uncharted Waters (Boers-Li Gallery, 10/6 – 12/23)

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

Ai Weiwei: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors (multiple sites NYC, 10/12/17 – 2/1//18)

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)

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

Lead image: Street vendor selling Japanese snacks in Taichung, Taiwan.  From Flickr user