NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: January 12 – 18, 2018


This week: Wang Bing’s observational documentary on the lives of migrant textile factory workers; the launch of Issue Two of The Shanghai Literary Review; exhibitions by an artist from Macau and by painters that show the relationship between Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China; and more…

The Cai Dongdong exhibition at Klein Sun Gallery is extended until 1/18.

Coming up:

1/19 – 1/26 – The Julliard School’s celebration of Chinese composers;

1/24 – A panel discussion hosted by New York magazine’s Adam Platt with New York next generation Chinese chefs.

1/20 – Vocalist and cellist Audrey Chen at Roulette

1/26 – The US theatrical run of Liu Jian’s Have a Nice Day 《大世界》

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 us on Instagram.

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) Legend of the Nega Pearls《鮫珠傳》-Once upon a time, in the city of Uranopolis, lived the Winged Tribe, a race capable of flying. But after losing a battle to humans, they gradually lost their ability to fly. Xue Lie, a royal descendant from the Winged Tribe, begins a search for the magical Naga Pearls in order to destroy the Human Tribe and avenge the death of his people. When Ni the thief, Gali the human prince, and Hei Yu the constable accidentally lay hands on a mysterious box containing the Naga Pearls, they find themselves hunted down by Xue Lie. After they have lost the pearls to Xue Lie eventually, they decide to team up and rush back to Uranopolis to thwart his evil plans. (Wikipedia)

Part of Shanghai Film Week

Friday, January 12, 1:30 PM
New York Film Academy, 17 Battery Place


2) Cock and Bull 《追兇者也》 – When a murder occurs in a small town in Southeast China, a local mechanic, known for his honesty, comes under suspicion. When the police target him to take the fall, he’s forced to try and exonerate himself, uncovering a number of disturbing facts, most much bigger than the initial crime. (Wikipedia). A black crime comedy that echoes the Coen Brothers.

Part of Shanghai Film Week

Friday, January 12, 4 PM
New York Film Academy, 17 Battery Place


3) Useless 《無用》 Useless introduces the viewer to the garment workers who often have no possible means of affording the very products they sew. Jia takes his camera to three centers of clothing manufacturing: Guangdong, Paris, and his own hometown of Fenyang. In the Chinese segments, factory workers struggle to balance the demands of Western culture with their much-treasured traditional culture. Enter activist Chinese designer Ma Ke, who relies upon hand craftsmanship for her garment production—a far cry from the Guangdong sweatshops.

Dir. Jia Zhangke
2007, China, 80 min.
Chinese with English subtitles

Tuesday, January 16, 5 PM


4) The Shanghai Literary Review Issue Two Launch  – Join the Asian American Writers’ Workshop for the launch of The Shanghai Literary Review’s second issue! TSLR is an English language literature and arts magazine based in Shanghai and New York, Featuring original artwork, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, book review, and translation from and about Asia. Nancy Huang, Jianan Qian, Joy Huang Stoffers, Jeremy Tiang, and Julie Wenglinski will be sharing their work from the magazine as well as taking questions about writing, translation, and literary journal publication. TSLR editors and contributors will be on hand to take questions and meet writers and artists, and TSLR Issues One and Two will be on sale that evening, as well as contributors’ individual publications.

Thursday, January 18, 7 PM
Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Asian American Writers’ Workshop, 112 W 27th St #600



1) Ex Files 3 《前任3: 再见前任》 – Buddies Meng Yun and Yu Fei break up with their girlfriends and indulge themselves in living the bachelor lifestyle again. However, as their ex-girlfriends reemerge in their lives, their “Single Plan” starts to unravel.

At AMC Empire 25


Group Shows and Local Artists:

Wang Xu is one of the artists at The 2017 Socrates AnnualThe 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.

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.

Additionally, during the month of January, FX Harsono’s Writing in the Rain is Times Square Arts’ Midnight Moment, a wonderful public art program that replaces the banal ads on a number of giant displays at the Crossroads of the World with worthwhile art.


Opening and Newly Listed:

1) Crystal w.m. Chan – I Am My Own Landscape (Gallery 456, 1/12 – 2/9) – In this solo exhibition, Macau-born Chan uses watercolors and black and white photographs of nude figures – her own body – with their recognizable forms yet undefinable shapes to ponder Western objectification and exotification of women and Chinese femininity and also to explore the contours of her own perception of self as influenced by her family.

The title of the exhibition is taken from a poem by Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa who wrote: “I am my own landscape / I watch myself journey / Various, mobile, and alone”. Chan, a recent transplant to New York, says, “Sometimes I’m not able to notice the landscape around me. Often my body is the only thing I feel and see. I exist like a landscape, one that may not be so easily labeled.”

Opening reception: January 12, 6 – 8 PM

Crystal w.m. Chan –
Untitled, 2015. Watercolor on paper, 18 inches x 24 inches


2) Figurative Diaspora (New York Academy of Art, 1/16 – 3/4) – Curated by artist Mark Tansey and Dean of the Academy Peter Drake, Figurative Diaspora presents works of “unofficial art” – subversive, non-state sanctioned art – created by five Soviet artists and five contemporary Chinese artists. While other exhibitions have presented Russian underground art or Chinese post-Cultural Revolution art, Figurative Diaspora will be the first exhibition to trace the direct artistic influences of the USSR on the artists of the People’s Republic of China.

Historically, China had no tradition of oil painting. However, starting in the 1950s, young art students in China were trained by Soviet art instructors, in both the USSR and China, to make propaganda murals of Mao and idealized depictions of socialist workers. Two generations of Chinese artists thus received rigorous training in the tenets of Soviet Social Realism and classical technique. However, in both China and Russia, some artists began using their academic training to create subversive, mocking, political and, in some cases, highly dangerous works. This was deemed “unofficial art”: works made with official training but without state sanction. The Sots Art movement of the 1970s and 1980s, considered the USSR’s answer to Pop Art, used the iconography and propaganda symbols of Soviet Russia to deconstruct and explode established myths while Chinese artists used realism to question the official utopian view of Communist China. Figurative Diaspora reveals that figurative art, while being somewhat marginalized in the Western art training system, was being preserved and furthered in China and Russia, where art schools and movements were developing their own idiosyncratic language.

Read the full press release here.

Opening reception: Tuesday, January 16, 6 – 8 PM

Yu Hong – ‘Resolution’, 2015. Acrylic on canvas, 180 x 200 cm (70.87 x 79.74 in.). Courtesy of New York Academy of Art

Closing soon:

REN Studio: Extraordinary Ordinary (Biggercode Gallery, 12/10/17 – 1/17/18)

Cai Dongdong: Photography Autocracy (Klein Sun Gallery, 11/30/17 – 1/18/18)

Lin Yan: Gateway (Fou Gallery, 12/2 – 1/21/18)

What do you see?—Contemporary Art from Taiwan (Taipei Cultural and Economic Center, 11/30/17 – 1/26/18)

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.

REN Studio: Extraordinary Ordinary (Biggercode Gallery, 12/10/17 – 1/17/18)

Cai Dongdong: Photography Autocracy (Klein Sun Gallery, 11/30/17 – 1/18/18)

Lin Yan: Gateway (Fou Gallery, 12/2 – 1/21/18)

What do you see?—Contemporary Art from Taiwan (Taipei Cultural and Economic Center, 11/30/17 – 1/26/18)

[.Zip:Unzp the Future 释放未来] (3LD Art & Technology Center, 12/9/17 – 1/26/18)

Roadside Picnic – The Zone (Chambers Fine Art, 12/14 – 1/27/18)

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

Crystal w.m. Chan – I Am My Own Landscape (Gallery 456, 1/12 – 2/9)

Re-Re-positioning the Present (International Studio & Curatorial Program Project Space, 12/5 – 2/16/18)

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

chin(A)frica: an interface (NYU, Institute of Fine Arts, 10/27/17 – 2/18/18)

Selected works from AAAC Archive and Permanent Collection (384 Broadway, 1/8 – March)

Figurative Diaspora (New York Academy of Art, 1/16 – 3/4)

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)

Spirited Creatures: Animal Representations in Chinese Silk and Lacquer (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 10/21/17 – 7/22/18)

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

Lead image: Highway speeding deterrents somewhere between Shenzhen and Changsha.