NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: January 18 – 25, 2018

Wuhan University Gate

This week: Chinese composers; music in classical Chinese literature; explorations of the human voice by Audrey Chen; a panel discussion about “new” Chinese food and new Chinese diasporic identity ; a talk about the Soviet influence on Chinese artists; exhibitions by Joyce Yu-Jean Lee about today’s media landscape, a Chinese painter that bridged tradition with the contemporary, and an experimental photographer; and more…

The [.Zip:Unzp the Future 释放未来] exhibition at 3LD Art & Technology Center is extended until 2/15.

Coming up:

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

1/26 – 2/10 – Metrograph’s wuxia series, Martial / Art

1/27 – Hong Kong-a-Thon!, a six-film marathon of genre defining Hong Kong action cinema from the 80s and 90s

2/16 – Chinese New Year

The weekly listing will now include open calls and other opportunities for artists, filmmakers, and others involved with Chinese culture in this intro section.

2018 Residency Program for Taiwanese Artists at Residency Unlimited – The Taipei Cultural Center in New York welcomes Taiwanese artists that specialize in visual arts and performance arts and curators to apply for a four-month residency at Residency Unlimited in Brooklyn.  The residency will cover, for two artists, round-trip air tickets to and from New York City, a monthly allowance of $2000 to cover living costs during the residency, and a $1000 exhibition production stipend.  Deadline: February 7, 2018

Fantastic Art China 2018: China-America Young Artists Exhibition – For the fourth year, the Central Academy of Fine Arts hosts the exhibition Fantastic Art China of which the “China-America Young Artists Exhibition” is a core event that provides an international platform that aims at building a cross-cultural dialogical mechanism that explores issues of common interest among young artists in China and the United States in an increasingly multicultural and globalizing world.  This year’s theme is “Modern Expressions of Traditions” and the organizers seek artworks in the forms of painting, sculpture, video, photogrpahy, installation, and mixed media that explore modern expressions of traditional art forms, methods, styles, materials, subjects, and themes inspired by current economic, political and social, regional and global conditions with a particular interest in more recent works (no earlier than 2014) that tackle issues of tradition and contemporaneity in the changing context of today’s art world.  The exhibition will be held February 15 -19 at the Metropolitan Pavilion.  As of press time, no link is available.  Please email us for submission details.  Deadline: January 31, 2018

41st Asian American International Film Festival – Asian Cinevision is accepting entries for the 41st Asian American International Film Festival to be held July 25 – August 4, 2018 in New York.  The festival the longest running and, with over 100 features and shorts, largest Asian/Asian American film festival.

Early bird entry deadline: January 19, 2018.
Regular deadline: February 16, 2018.
Extended Deadline: March 16, 2018
Work-in-Progress Deadline: April 6, 2018

Sixth Tone Fellowship – The English-language news website is partnering with the Fudan Development Institute to support eight young scholars for a six week research trip to conduct fieldwork.  This year’s topic is “Technological Innovation and Rural China” which asks “How can China use technology and innovative thinking to change the impoverished appearance of its vast countryside, improve the lives of its rural population, and close the gap between urban and rural areas?” Deadline: March 1, 2018

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) Focus! Festival: China Today: A Festival of Chinese Composition – The Julliard School’s annual festival, now in its 34th year, challenges the conventional wisdom of what Chinese music is with a six-concert series featuring over two dozen Chinese composers who live and work in China, except 94-year old New Yorker Chou Wen-chung included to celebrate his tireless efforts that brought brought many young Chinese composers to the U.S. for higher education.  Full program viewable here, and preview each concert through the program notes.

Friday, January 19, 7:30 PM
Monday, January 22, 7:30 PM
Tuesday, January 23, 7:30 PM
Wednesday, January 24, 7:30 PM
Thursday, January 25, 7:30 PM
Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Lincoln Center, 155 W 65th St.

Friday, January 26, 7:30 PM
Alice Tully Hall, 1941 Broadway


2) Soundless Existence: Music in Classical Chinese Literature – Music has played an important role in Chinese history, culture, and literature, but it can only be accessed through words, not sound. What caused this soundless existence? How did other cultures preserve music? Is it possible to reconstruct ancient melodies? Dr. Xurong Kong, a tenured professor of Chinese literature and culture at Kean University, will analyze the issues and challenges related to music recording, cross-cultural exchanges, and importantly, how to preserve and promote one’s own culture and heritage.

This lecture will be conducted in Chinese with no interpretation. Free, but advance registration is requested.

Saturday, January 20, 3 PM
China Institute


3) The Master of the Guqin: Chen Leiji – Chen Leiji, one of the world’s foremost exponents of the ancient Chinese guqin — a seven-stringed plucked zither — will perform a rare concert at Asia Society. With a background in both traditional Chinese and Western classical music, Leiji brings a unique perspective to the music of the guqin. Since being chosen to perform at the opening of the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, Leiji has become a phenomenon on the international stage, performing solo and ensemble programs across the globe. His passionate performance style breathes new life into an ancient instrument, thought to be at the very heart of ancient Chinese education. He will be joined by two special guest musicians, Sarah Tao He (erhu) and Guo Yazhi (suona).

Saturday, January 20, 7:30 PM (live webcast here)
Asia Society


4) Audrey Chen and Phil Minton: Voices – Berlin-based vocalist + cellist Audrey Chen and her collaborator Phil Minton plumb the depths of the most inherent and bodily instrument — the voice — producing improvisations are fearless, fragile, hungry, passionate, riotous, ululating and animalistic, yet ultimately human. Focusing primarily on the interplay between the uttered sounds of the mouth and vocal chords, he duo will express, pronounce, and intensely articulate (in their fashion) the many nuanced shades of their individual and collaborative conditions.

Saturday, January 20, 8 PM
Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue


5) In Search of China’s Soul: New York’s Next-Gen Chinese Chefs Talk Food and Identity – Red lanterns and dragons be gone! A gaggle of modern-minded restaurateurs from China has been opening chic new eateries that reflect the best of design-conscious Chinese gastronomy. From retro China Blue to hipster fast food Junzi Kitchen, these eateries are bringing the new China to New Yorkers. Can we find China’s soul in the 麻婆豆腐 (mapo tofu) of today? Chinese food lover Adam Platt asks them all about it.

Wednesday, January 24, 6 PM
China Institute


6) Mission Possible: In Conversation with Gish Jen – Join acclaimed author Gish Jen in conversation with MOCA President Nancy Yao Maasbach in the latest installment of Mission Possible. Followed by book signing.

Wednesday, January 24, 6 PM
China Institute


7) Figurative Diaspora – Artists & Curators Talk – In conjunction with the current exhibition Figurative Diaspora, the New York Academy of Art hosts a panel discussion featuring artist Vitaly Komar, founder of the Sots Art movement in the USSR, co-curators Mark Tansey and Peter Drake, and contemporary Chinese art specialist Michelle Loh.

Wednesday, January 24, 6:30 PM
New York Academy of Art, 111 Franklin Street


8) Web Panel: Film, Finance, and China – Join the China Hollywood Society and China Film Insider for their second jointly hosted online event: a web panel discussing co-financing with China. We’ll discuss what co-financing models exist, what the trends are, and what pitfalls to avoid as an independent producer.

Panelists will include Bennett Pozil, Executive VP at East West Bank; Cristiano Bortone of Bridging The Dragon, as well as returning speaker Rob Cain, founder of ChinaFilmBiz and writer at Forbes.

Thursday, January 25, 2 PM
Online link available after RSVP


9) Member Open House: MOCA Collections & Research Center – Did you know that only about 1 percent of MOCA’s collections are on view in the museum at any given time? The rest of the collections are housed at the archives, which are open to researchers and scholars by appointment only. Exclusively for MOCA Members, please join the Collections staff at MOCA Collections & Research Center and learn about what goes on behind the scenes after an object is donated to the museum. The evening will also include a tour of the archives, where attendees will be able to see artifacts and collections that may never be displayed anywhere else.

Thursday, January 25, 6:30 PM
Museum of Chinese in America


10) 店面 Residency: Sweeping Away Evil Panel – The Sweeping Away Evil Panel is a part of Emily Mock‘s 店面 Storefront Residency. Since October, Emily has been holding free workshops teaching paper cutting and shadow puppetry, and inviting participants to create a community shadow puppet theater activating stories about Chinatown, sweeping out evil, building home and safety, and overcoming in 2018.

This event asks panelists from several practices and fields how they “sweep away evil,” how they build home and safety for their communities, and what needs overcoming in the new year.

Thursday, January 25, 7 PM
Wing On Wo & Co., 26 Mott Street


1) A Better Tomorrow 英雄本色2018》-An adaptation of the original John Woo movie. A former drug smuggler attempts to start his life anew and repair his relationship with his estranged brother, who is an up-and-coming star in the police department’s narcotics division.

At AMC Empire 25


2) 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 Annual (Oct 1, 2017 – March 11, 2018). 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.

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) Joyce Yu-Jean Lee – State of the DysUnion (New Jersey City University Galleries, 1/25 – 3/1) – State of the DysUnion is an exhibition by Joyce Yu-Jean Lee about the media landscape today. In the Trumpian age of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” diverse truths prompt her to ask: How does the media reflect and/or script dominant ideologies about the public sphere, socio-economic class, political partisanship, cultural nationalism, and geopolitics? How can individuals exert agency over their media consumption? How does society measure truth or qualify neutrality?

Through animated video installations, Lee presents a snapshot of current journalism, advertising and the internet. Daily headlines and photographs are indexed and projected onto a suspended cylindrical screen which streams a wide spectrum of social and political perspectives. Experimenting with sculptural video projection and intervention of the gallery architecture, State of the DysUnion calls audiences to examine their contemporary visual language, it’s documentation, distribution, and role in developing culture and history.

Joyce Yu-Jean Lee, On the Brink, 2014, School 33, Baltimore, MD, 2-channel video projection, custom screen, artificial grass.


2) Wang Ningde: Form of Light (Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, 1/11 – 2/17)  Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery presents Form of Light, its first exhibition with multidisciplinary artist Wang Ningde. Form of Light is an investigation into the very essence and mysteries of the photographic process. Although the term “photography” is generally considered to have been coined by Sir John Herschel in 1839, he may, in fact, have been preceded by the Brazilian Hércules Florence, who used the French equivalent, “photographie,” to describe his own experiments in 1834. Regardless, the etymology of the word is the same: based on the Greek φῶς (phōs), meaning “light” and γραφή (graphê), meaning “drawing, writing,” together meaning “drawing with light”. Ningde’s method of composing these works eschews the chemical process of fixing an image to a surface, relying instead on an organized fragmentation of a singular image on a series of transparencies, which when exposed to a specific lighting, creates a composite shadow image. The end result is the artist quite literally drawing with light, creating ghostly images through a process that relies on both computers and the human hand.

Wang uses photographic processes without creating photographs by definition. The effect is closer to that of a camera obscura, an image or representation of reality hovering over reality itself. Furthermore, the gridded images, composed of hundreds of units, subvert the tendency of traditional photography towards the lone cropped image which we refer to as a photograph.

Wang Ningde, Thicket No. 2, 2017. Transparency film, acrylic, honeycomb aluminum board.


3) Jizi: Journey of the Spirit (WhiteBox, 1/17 – 2/24) – In the last quarter of the twentieth century, many Chinese scholars, critics, and artists decried traditional Chinese painting (Zhongguohua) as out of step with an increasingly global culture. Over an almost half-century career that spanned a dynamic period of Chinese history the painter Jizi (1942–2015) countered that assertion, arguing that painting could indeed be traditionally and authentically Chinese while also addressing themes of universal significance.

Jizi’s work confronted the legacy of the Revolution’s antipathy to religion and traditional Chinese life and attitudes. Deeply interested in the spirit, the artist’s work contains a strong metaphysical strain and sheds light on the complex, and at times contradictory, impulses at work in contemporary Chinese art and culture. Jizi was by and large self-taught, synthesizing the techniques and philosophy of traditional Chinese ink painting with individualistic expression culled from early modernist artists in the West. In turn, New York-based Abstract Expressionists such as Kline, Motherwell, and Dzubas drew influence from traditional Chinese ink painting. These overlapping strands can claim particular resonance for New York audiences.

Jizi: Journey of the Spirit, a memorial retrospective curated in association with the artist’s son, Chunchen Wang, includes a selection of Jizi’s large-scale ink paintings and a monumentally-sized, rarely seen, scroll. The artworks in “Jizi: Journey of the Spirit” reveal the artist’s decades-long search for a synthesis of styles, cultures, and ideas that honor tradition, reinforce the ideal of a universal oneness of all things, and embrace personal expression.

Jizi, The Extension of Time No. 2, 2013, ink on paper.


Closing soon:

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)

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

Roadside Picnic – The Zone (Chambers Fine Art, 12/14 – 2//17)

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

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)

Roadside Picnic – The Zone (Chambers Fine Art, 12/14 – 2//17)

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 – 2/9/18)

[.Zip:Unzp the Future 释放未来] (3LD Art & Technology Center, 12/9/17 – 2/15/18)

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

Wang Ningde: Form of Light  (Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, 1/11 – 2/17)

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)

Jizi: Journey of the Spirit (WhiteBox, 1/17 – 2/24)

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

Joyce Yu-Jean Lee – State of the DysUnion (New Jersey City University Galleries, 1/25 – 3/1)

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: Gate at Wuhan University. Photo by Andrew Shiue