NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: October 27 – November 2, 2017

Zhang Hongtu – Ping Pong Mao

This week: Films about plastic waste, writers jailed during the Cultural Revolution, a Chinese American who received one of the first Academy Awards in 1942 for a film that is now missing, a Chairman Mao lookalike; a ticket giveaway for an opportunity to meet influential leaders transforming Asia, including CEO of Didi Chuxing Jean Liu and musical virtuoso Wu Tong; a collaboration between a pipa player and ensemble with roots in many cultures; two new exhibitions with local Chinese artists; and more…

Coming up:

11/3 – Playwright David Henry Hwang and director Julie Taymor talk about the current revival of M. Butterfly

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.

Surprisingly, this illustration 'Two Lohans' (ca. 1480) is not from China, but from what is now present-day Iran. Because of the Silk Road and the extensive reach of the Mongol Empire, there was much cultural exchange — including Buddhism and art techniques and motifs –between China and the lands to the West. _ From the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Images of ascetic figures such as these, referred to as lohans in Buddhist tradition, appear regularly in Chinese art. This drawing, however, is inscribed in the lower left "Siyah Qalam" (literally, Black Pen), linking this tinted drawing to a series of similarly inscribed pieces preserved in albums in Istanbul's Topkapi Palace Library. While these materials require further investigation, signed and dated pieces in the albums fall mostly within the reign of the Aq Quyunlu ruler Sultan Ya'qub (r. 1478–90), who reigned at Tabriz. Drawings such as this one may have been practice studies, after Chinese originals. _ #buddhism #lohan #iran #china #chinese #art #chineseinfluence #chineseart #iran #silkroad #unexpectedchinese #aqquyunlu #persianate #arthistory

A post shared by Beyond Chinatown (@beyondchinatown) on

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 beyondchinatown@gmail.com.


UPCOMING EVENTS

1) Storm Under the Sun 《红日风暴》– This film documents the persecution of Hu Feng, a renowned writer and literary critic who championed artistic freedom and was jailed and purged in the 1950s. Hu was the first intellectual to be singled out and directly condemned by Mao. Initiated upon his arrest in 1955, the party-state’s Anti–Hu Feng Counter-Revolutionary Group Campaign led to the imprisonment of seventy-eight other Chinese intellectuals and the incrimination of more than 2,100 people. Throughout his long imprisonment and ever since his rehabilitation in 1981, Hu has remained a symbol of intellectual freedom to younger writers. This documentary, the first to examine these events after more than a half-century, invites survivors of the “storm” to reveal the truths that lie beneath China’s official history.

Dir.: Peng Xiaolian (彭小莲) and S. Louisa Wei (魏时煜)
2009, China, 137 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

Friday, October 27, 12 PM
Guggenheim Museum

+++++

2) Readymade 《现成品》– Mao Zedong died in 1976, but his impersonators are alive and well. This film documents the lives of two people who resemble Mao and assume Mao roles. Peng Tian is a villager from Mao’s home province of Hunan who walks into the Beijing Film Academy one day in full Mao dress to study film acting. Chen Yan is a housewife from Sichuan province, whose mother realized she looked like Mao twenty years earlier, but it isn’t until the twenty-first century that Chen gives the role a try.

Dir. Zhang Bingjian (张秉坚)
2009, China, 79 min.
Mandarin with Chinese with English subtitles

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

+++++

3) Multiflorate Splendor: A Documentary Screening & Talk with Professor Kenneth Hsien-yung Pai – A living legend and visionary of modern Chinese culture, Kenneth Hsien-yung Pai (白先勇), Emeritus Professor of University of California Santa Barbara, is an internationally acclaimed author generally considered among the greatest living stylists of Chinese fiction and prose. His works push bold modernist perspectives while exploring life in mid-20th century Taipei, China, and the United States. His publications include the collections of short stories “Lonely Seventeen”, “Taipei People”, and “The New Yorker”; the collection of prose writing Suddenly the Past; and the novel Crystal Boys. A higher proportion of Pai’s works have been turned into films, TV shows, and stage plays than almost any other contemporary Taiwanese writer. In recent years he has devoted his passion and energy to promote Chinese kunqu opera to the world. He is the general producer and artistic director of Peony Pavilion, which has toured China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the U.S.

The documentary Multiflorate Splendor, which explores Professor Pai’s accomplishments as an artist to the backdrop of a staging of his landmark adaptation of the Peony Pavilion will be screened. Following the screening, Professor Pai will speak with the audience and answer questions. This film will be screened with Chinese and English subtitles. The post-screening discussion will be conducted in English.

Friday, October 27, 6 PM
China Institute

+++++

4) When the Bough Breaks 《危巢》 – Not long ago, Beijing’s Daxing District was covered with landfills from which neighboring scavengers eked a living. With the rapid construction of urban development across Beijing, the landfills have been covered over with the bright lights of the expanding city. Only one rickety shack still stands against the vagaries of so much change. This film documents a stormy year in the lives of its inhabitants.

Dir. Ji Dan 《季丹》
2013, China, 110 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 28, 12 PM
Guggenheim Museum

+++++

5) Guji Guji – A Very Special Duck by Boulevardteatern – Swedish theatre group Boulevardteatern presents the enchanting story of Guji Guji, adapted from the book by Chih Yuan Chen. The story begins when a crocodile egg lands in a duck’s nest. Out pops Guji Guji—a small crocodile that is raised as a duck. Mother Duck doesn’t care that Guji is different from the other young ones—they are her children and she loves them all, just the way they are. Problems arise when Guji Guji meets two big crocodiles that try to convince Guji Guji that he is a bloodthirsty, duck-eating crocodile, just like them! Guji Guji is a tale about differences and similarities, love, friendship, and learning to think for yourself.

Performance intended for children ages 3 – 8.

Saturday, October 28, 1 PM
Scandanavia House, 58 Park Avenue

Sunday, October 29, 2 PM
Flushing Library, 1-17 Main Street, Flushing

+++++

6) Plastic China 《塑料王国》 – This film documents a plastic recycling facility in a small town dedicated to the business of processing plastic waste. The facility is operated by two families: the family of the owner and a family of employees. Eleven-year-old Yi-Jie works alongside her parents while dreaming of attending school. Kun, the facility’s ambitious foreman, hopes for a better life. Plastic China examines global consumption and culture through the eyes and hands of those who handle its refuse.

Dir. Wang Jiuliang (王久良)
2016, China, 82 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 28, 1:55 PM
Guggenheim Museum

+++++

7) Dream of the Red Chamber: A Dialogue Between Pai Hsien-yung and Ben Wang – A living legend and visionary of modern Chinese culture, Kenneth Hsien-yung Pai (白先勇), Emeritus Professor of University of California Santa Barbara, is an internationally acclaimed author generally considered among the greatest living stylists of Chinese fiction and prose. His works push bold modernist perspectives while exploring life in mid-20th century Taipei, China, and the United States. His publications include the collections of short stories “Lonely Seventeen”, “Taipei People”, and “The New Yorker”; the collection of prose writing Suddenly the Past; and the novel Crystal Boys. A higher proportion of Pai’s works have been turned into films, TV shows, and stage plays than almost any other contemporary Taiwanese writer. In recent years he has devoted his passion and energy to promote Chinese kunqu opera to the world. He is the general producer and artistic director of Peony Pavilion, which has toured China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the U.S.

Professor Pai’s writings and lectures on ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ (红楼梦) are considered major touchstones of interpretation for this key text in world literature. On Saturday, Professor Pai will rdiscuss his thoughts on this novel in conversation with Ben Wang, Senior Lecturer of Language and Humanities at China Institute. This event will be conducted in Mandarin and will be followed by a reception.

Saturday, October 28, 2 PM
China Institute

+++++

8) An Afternoon of Chinese Theater - The Chinese America Arts Council presents four renowned and popular Peking opera programs, each with its own unique storyline, music, vocal performance, mime, dance, and acrobatics.

Double Spear Lou Wenlong 《雙槍陸文龍 》 is adapted from a historical novel at Song Dynasty which depicts a brave young warrior’s great combat ability and how the ongoing war affects each kingdom’s royal family, leading them to make sacrifices, pledging loyalty, or even slaughter each other.

Dream in The Boudoir 《春閨夢》is also based on historical event from the end of Han Dynasty, where the first persona, a newly wed wife, dreamt about her husband coming home from the battlefield yet the scene suddenly turned into a bloodshed. From ecstasy to being horrified, she woke up abruptly, only later to find the news of her husband’s death.

Battle of Wan 《戰宛城 》depicts a well-known strategic battle of late Eastern Han Dynasty, where Zhang Xiu rebelled against Cao Cao and hit his camp surprisingly at night.

“The Broken Bridge” 《斷橋會 》is an act of the renowned play The Legend of the White Snake 《白蛇傳》. The white snake is pregnant with a human’s baby, only to find her husband betrayed her. With mixed feelings of rage and despair, this act depicts the couple’s dramatic journey of struggle, love, and forgiveness.

Following the Peking operas Juin-Ling Wang Chinese Music Orchestra Ensemble will perform.

Sunday, October 29, 2:30 PM
New York Chinatown Community Center Theater at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association

++++++

9) Finding Kukan – In the late 1930s China is in dire straits. The country will collapse under Japan’s military juggernaut if it doesn’t get outside help. Chinese American firebrand Li Ling-Ai jolts Americans into action with a new medium — 16mm Kodachrome color film. She hires photojournalist Rey Scott to travel to China and capture a citizen’s perspective of the war-torn country, including the massive bombing of the wartime capital Chungking (now Chongqing). Their landmark film Kukan screens for President Roosevelt at the White House, is called “awesome” by the New York Times, and receives one of the first Academy Awards for a feature documentary in 1942. Why have we never heard of Li Ling-Ai? And why have all copies of Kukan disappeared? Filmmaker Robin Lung goes on a 7-year quest to find the answers.

Filmmaker Robin Lung will be in attendance.

Sunday, October 29, 3 PM
21 Pell Street

+++++

10) Meet the Asia Game Changers – It’s one of the highlights of the Asia Society calendar: The day the annual class of Asia Game Changers — a remarkable group of leaders who are transforming Asia, and the world is honored. Join for a special opportunity, fun, and inspiration — before the awards are actually given — to meet some of the remarkable members of the “Class of 2017”: The great actor Dev Patel, the transformative Chinese CEO of Didi Chuxing Jean Liu, Cambodia’s environmental champion Leng Ouch, the great musical virtuoso Wu Tong, a young rapper from Afghanistan, and a remarkable glass-ceiling-smashing young girl from Mongolia.

Asia Society has offered our readers 10 tickets to this event.  Email us at beyondchinatown@gmail.com if you would like a ticket.

Wednesday, November 1, 1:30 – 3 PM
Asia Society

+++++

11) Eileen Chang’s Traces of Love: A Ben Wang Lecture Series – Eileen Chang (张爱玲, 1920-1995) is the most celebrated and imitated writer of 20th century China. An unusually keen and cool observer of the hauntedness of the human heart, her rich dramas capture the dark corners in the minds of her characters, most of whom are misfits of pathos in a quickly changing time and world.

In this three-session lecture series, China Institute Senior Lecturer Ben Wang delves into Chang’s life and work by focusing on Traces of Love (留情), one of her finest novellas. Its central theme is the makeshifty and falsified nature of love and relationships among its cast of characters. With meticulous descriptions of urban environments, climates, colors and sounds as the backdrop, Eileen Chang transforms her characters and their unsavory manners into a poignant and memorable literary masterwork not to be missed by those who are interested in modern Chinese literature.

Participants are asked to attend all three sessions. The registration fee includes a copy of the text for each participant. The lecture will be conducted in English. No previous knowledge of the Chinese language is required.

Thursday, November 2, 6:30 PM
China Institute

+++++

12) Junzi x Fou: Flavors of a New Landscape – Fou Gallery and Junzi 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 over the course of 3 events.

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.

At the two events at Junzi Kitchen, you are invited to a sit-down dinner with the artist and the chef to learn about the inspiration and creative process. For the last event at Fou Gallery, you can walk through the exhibition with the artist, appreciate the artworks while trying the small plates and cocktails created by the chef. Together with Sin and Eade, enjoy a flavorful and inspiring experience that brings art into life.

Thursday, November 2, 7 PM
Junzi Kitchen, 2896 Broadway

+++++

13) 2017 Taiwan Rising Stars Classical Music Concert – New Asia Chamber Music Society presents Mozart’s Piano Quartet in G minor, K. 478; Fauré’s Piano Quartet No. 1, in C minor, Op. 15; and Lan-In Winnie Yang’s Ballade for Piano Violin, and Cello

Thursday, November 2, 7:30 PM
Taipei Cultural Center, 1 E. 42nd Street

+++++

14) Artists of the Aga Khan Music Initiative Ensemble Present Contemporary Music From the East – The Aga Khan Music Initiative Ensemble is a collective of master musicians who create new music inspired by their own deep roots in the cultural heritage of the Middle East and Mediterranean Basin, South Asia, Central Asia, West Africa, and China. This special performance features three master musicians from the ensemble: Homayoun Sakhi, master performer of the Afghan rubâb; Salar Nader, virtuosic tabla player; and Wu Man, world-renowned pipa player. These three unparalleled musicians link countries and continents, and present and past, through their explorations of diverse forms of classical, folk, and contemporary concert music.

Thursday, November 2, 8 PM; Live webcast here.
Asia Society


ONGOING FILMS, SHOWS, AND EVENTS

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.

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 November 2
Q&A with Ai Weiwei following the 1:50 PM screening on 10/14
Angelika Film Center, 18 W. Houston Street


ART EXHIBITIONS

Group Shows and Local Artists:

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 will 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 the Soil.

Opening and Newly Listed:

1) Fuyou: Staying Drifting (BIGGERCODE, 10/21 – 29, 2017) – BIGGERCODE presents a solo exhibition of Senbo Yang curated by Zi Gu, Jing Li, and Ruixuan Li.  Fuyou: staying drifting examines a cultural nomads’ life, one that is both physically and metaphorically unstable. Resulting from his residency at I-Park Foundation, Inc. Fuyou is the first solo exhibition of Berkeley-based Chinese artist, Senbo Yang (b. 1990). Featuring more than ten installations and mixed media works, the exhibition explores tranquility in the face of precariousness through the artist’s multiple encounters with the same model of IKEA bed across time and space. Placing the bed in unstable environments is a poetic abstraction of Yang’s state of constant flux during times of vagabondage. Through a landscape architectural lens, the bed became a register and metric of natural phenomena. When phenomena such as light and shadow, clouds and rain, wind and fog came into contact with the bed, all of these conditions were made more tangible.

From Senbo Yang’s fuyou series, image courtesy the artist.

BIGGERCODE Gallery is located at 472 Broome Street in SoHo.

+++++

2) Wei Xiaoguang: Durable Pixels  (SLEEPCENTER, 10/27 – 11/17, 2017) – The exhibition, Curated by Rui Lin, will consist of three phases. In the first opening Durable Pixels, Wei Xiaoguang will exhibit his recent works on the study of digital formalism. Examining the extremely reified images in the age of contemporary technology, and the visual logics generated within, the works explore the value of painting beyond the artistic expressions, and seek an alternative opportunity for contemporary abstraction beyond the romanticism of the practical world.

“I see my works as examples of how self-conscious painting mannerism functions as a critical method in this post-death-of-painting period, where both representation and abstraction do not need to hide themselves in contradictions.

I understand mannerism as a way to accept decisions in art as finite, and to conceptualize the art-making process as a predetermined set of rules and procedures that function as its building elements. Just like the more or less visible pixels (picture elements) used in digital media. Combining familiar methods and pictorial styles has been informing my works in different ways: from retinal to conceptual.”
–Wei Xiaoguang

In the following three weeks, Wei will collaborate with Jeffrey D’Alessandro to conduct a study of dimensional interchange in the gallery space. D’Alessandro is a kaleidoscope mirroring of this meme age, a trendy martyr of the retro-handicraft. He uses “original handicraft” to ascend the dimensions of Wei’s drawings, making them into sculptures.

The second opening, The Ambassadors of Faust, brings forth the sculptures produced by the series of experiments, and their documentation to be displayed in the gallery space.

First opening reception: Friday, October 27, 6 – 9 PM
Guided Tour and artist talk: Saturday, November 4,  3 – 5 PM
Second opening The Ambassadors of Faust: Friday, November 17, 6 – 9 PM

SLEEPCENTER is located at 9 Monroe St., Bsmt, New York
Hours: Noon – 6 PM Friday – Sunday; Weekdays by appointment via sleepcenterny@gmail.com

+++++

Closing soon:

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.

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

Fuyou: Staying Drifting (BIGGERCODE, 10/21 – 29, 2017)

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)

Wei Xiaoguang: Durable Pixels  (Sleep Center, 10/27 – 11/17, 2017)

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, 10/15 – 12/15)

Song Dong: Eating the City (ACAW x Mana Contemporary, 10/15 – 12/15)

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: Zhang Hongtu – Ping-Pong Mao, 1995.  Ping-pong table, 2 paddles, 2 ping-pong balls, net, 30 × 108 × 60 in (76.2 × 274.3 × 152.4 cm).  Seen at Queens Museum as part of the first U.S. survey of the artist’s work that ran from October 18, 2015 – February 28, 2016.  Photo by Andrew Shiue.