NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: January 26 – February 1, 2018

The Road to Shu (detail)

This week: A gritty, critically acclaimed animated Chinese film; classic wuxia at Metrograph; extremely rare movies from Hong Kong; a retrospective of films by a Tibetan filmmaker; Jackie Chan at MoMA (!); a conversation with the first female editor of Runner’s World; a chance to win a trip to Taiwan and more!

Coming up:

2/16 – Chinese New Year!

Our weekly listing now includes 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 beyondchinatown@gmail.com.


UPCOMING EVENTS

1) Dragon Inn 《龍門客棧》– A wuxia watershed, Hu’s Ming dynasty-set Dragon Inn follows the three marked-for-death children of a framed-up imperial minister as they are pursued by the Black Arrow Troop, a unit of ruthless assassins, to the Dragon Gate Inn, a remote redoubt where both sides dig in and feel one another out in preparation for the inevitable all-in showdown. Hu’s first film in Taiwan after parting company with the Shaw Brothers finds him adapting the music of the traditional Beijing Opera to the rhythms of the fight film, creating in the process something both ancient and entirely new.

Dir. King Hu
1967, Taiwan, 111 min.
Mandarin with English subtitles

Screens as part of the series Martial / Art

Friday, January 26, 2:30 PM and 7 PM
Metrograph, 7 Ludlow Street

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2) Ashes of Time Redux 《東邪西毒》– The cream of Hong Kong/Taiwanese screen acting, including Brigitte Lin, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, and Leslie Cheung, unite in this otherworldly, elliptical, impressionistic, and entirely intoxicating arthouse wuxia, shot on location (with great difficulty) in the remote Gobi Desert.

Prompted by a necessary undertaking to preserve the original 1994 film’s surviving elements, Ashes of Time Redux is not merely a restoration but a stunning reorchestration of Wong’s sweeping wuxia epic, creating an even more intensified expression of the director’s singular sense of cinematic construction.

Dir. Wong Kar-Wai
1994/2008, Hong Kong, 93 min.
Cantonese with English subtitles

Screens as part of the series Martial / Art

Friday, January 26, 5 PM and 9:30 PM
Metrograph, 7 Ludlow Street

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3) Myth, Memory, and Migration: Stories from the Asian Diaspora – Myth, Memory, and Migration: Stories from the Asian Diaspora addresses the interconnections between race, sexuality, class, and debility in relation to cultural myths, migration, and memory. In dismantling the notion of a singular Asian identity, the artists from West, Central, South, Southeast, and East Asian diaspora highlight the complexity in their layered and transnational identities. They investigate the ways in which interweaving histories and ongoing legacies such as colonialism, US militarism, anti-blackness, and Islamophobia construct our understanding of and positionality to Asian identity through archiving, translating, and excavating myths, oral stories, and family lineages.

Friday, January 26, 6 PM
NARS Foundation, 201 46th St, Brooklyn

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4) Police Story 《警察故事》– Mainstream American audiences first encountered Jackie Chan in this brilliant, Keatonesque action-comedy, about a hyperkinetic Hong Kong cop who must clear his name when he’s framed for murder. Restored by Fortune Star at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory.’

Dir. Jackie Chan
1985, Hong Kong, 101 min.
Cantonese with English subtitles

Screens as part of the series To Save and Project: The 15th MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation

Friday, January 26, 7:30 PM
Sunday, January 28, 4 PM
MoMA

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5) Focus! Festival: China Today: A Festival of Chinese Composition – Closing concert for 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 26, 7:30 PM
Alice Tully Hall, 1941 Broadway

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6) Hong Kong-a-Thon! – In the 80s and 90s, Hong Kong ruled action cinema and this 12-hour, six-film marathon showcases the movies that shot first, hit hardest, kicked higher, took the longest falls, the biggest jumps, delivered the fastest punches, and left the audience with two smoking holes where their eyeballs used to be. Im not revealing the titles until they appear onscreen because its more fun that way, but rest assured that these six 35mm prints are deep cuts that haven’t played in New York City in years (if ever).

Out of print on DVD, or never available uncut and in their original language, these movies feature two-fisted heroines, hard-bitten cops, old school kung fu, hitmen, hitwomen, and no one is safe.

Don’t miss this showcase of Hong Kong’s greatest, strangest, funniest, fastest, and most furious action movies ever made!

Saturday, January 27, 12:30 PM
Anthology Film Archives, 32 2nd Ave.

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7) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 《臥虎藏龍》– Outside of the Chinese diaspora community the pleasures of the wuxia had widely been unknown by more than a handful of Western connoisseurs. That all changed with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, a kind of Greatest Hits reel that became a surprise sleeper classic, bolstered by lighter-than-air action sequences, a coterie of wild women warriors including Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi, and Cheng Pei-pei, and a hefty dose of romantic longing. The kind of crossover charmer Chinese filmmakers have been trying to emulate ever since.

Dir. Ang Lee
2000, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, US, 120 min.
Mandarin with English subtitles

Screens as part of the series Martial / Art

Saturday, January 27, 1 PM
Metrograph, 7 Ludlow Street

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8) The Silent Holy Stones – “The place where the story took place is none other than my home village, where the mountains and waters have always haunted my dreams. I long to tell the true stories — in my own way — that have come up in my home village, to disclose the real looks of her, and to reveal the genuine conditions of life of the people there … a reciprocal infiltration between tradition and modernism.” — Pema Tseden

A 10-year-old Buddhist novice nicknamed “Little Lama” returns home from the remote Guwa monastery for the New Year celebration. After a long journey on horseback over icy steppes, he finds himself glued to his family’s new TV, watching the popular Chinese television series Journey to the West. Meanwhilethe villagers are rehearsing their annual staging of a traditional Tibetan opera for the New Year. The juxtaposition shows a young monk who finds himself magnetically drawn to the secular world, which calls to him through the TV. The Silent Holy Stones has the immediacy of a documentary, delivering a compelling and intimate insider’s look of everyday life in Tseden’s hometown, where traditional life rubs up against modernity and globalization.

The character Little Lama in The Silent Holy Stones was played by a real monk, Luosang Danpai, who later de-robed, got married, and is now living a layperson’s life.

Written and directed by Pema Tseden, the film is entirely in the Tibetan language and with nonprofessional Tibetan actors. The film won the Best Directorial Debut at the 25th Golden Rooster Awards in China and is an official selection of the Pusan International Film Festival, the International Buddhist Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and the San Francisco International Film Festival.

Part of the retrospective film series Pema Tseden: Celebrating a Tibetan Voice

Saturday, January 27, 4 PM
Asia Society

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9) A Touch of Sin 《天注定》– Jia’s jarringly to-the-moment film, based on scandalous stories from around Mainland China circulated via Weibo posts and focused on four individuals in four provinces pushed towards violence by rampant injustice, might not seem at first to have much to do with the martial arts movie—but Jia borrows from the vernacular of the wuxia in depicting violence, his film’s English-language title invites an explicit comparison to a King Hu’s classic, and sauna employee Xiao Yu’s transformation to woman warrior channels the spirit of Hsu Feng in the Hu film.

Dir. Jia Zhangke
2013, China, 135 min.
Mandarin with English subtitles

Screens as part of the series Martial / Art

Saturday, January 27, 5 PM
Metrograph, 7 Ludlow Street

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10) The Search – A director, his assistant, and a businessman drive through the Amdo region of Tibet, scouring small villages to find actors for their adaptation of Prince Drimé Kundun, an opera traditionally performed for the Tibetan New Year. The story recounts a prince — an early incarnation of Buddha — who gives away all his possessions, including his wife, his children, and even his own eyes. The quintessentially Buddhist story exemplifies compassion and self-sacrifice, yet leaves the crew frustrated in their search for actors who can live up to the legendary roles.

Driving through the country’s stunning landscapes, they find that while some of the traditions they hope to capture on film still exist, others are disappearing — revealing a Tibet where the ancient and the modern co-exist. Unfolding against the backdrop of a religious parable and shifting times, The Search offers a sensitive, nuanced look at contemporary Tibet.

Followed by a Q&A with the director, Pema Tseden.

Part of the retrospective film series Pema Tseden: Celebrating a Tibetan Voice

January 27, 7:30 PM
Asia Society

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11) Old Dog – A family on the Himalayan plains discovers their dog is worth a fortune, but selling it comes at a terrible price.

The Tibetan nomad mastiff is an exotic prize dog in China, fetching as much as millions of dollars from wealthy buyers. When a young man notices several thefts of mastiffs from Tibetan farm families, he decides to sell his family’s dog before it is stolen. His father, an aging Tibetan herder, is furious when he discovers their dog missing, and seeks to buy it back, setting off a series of events that threaten to tear the family apart, while showing the erosion of Tibetan culture under the pressures of contemporary society.

Pema Tseden’s third feature is a humorous, tragic allegory and a sober depiction of life among the impoverished rural Tibetan community.

Followed by a panel discussion with Pema Tseden.

Part of the retrospective film series Pema Tseden: Celebrating a Tibetan Voice

Sunday, January 28, 2 PM
Asia Society

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12) The Grandmaster 《一代宗師》– Wong’s seventh film with Tony Leung Chiu-Wai appeared in the midst of a spate of movies about its subject, the legendary martial artist Ip Man, but being a Wong movie The Grandmaster was something else entirely, a travelogue through the tumultuous history of China and Hong Kong from the years of the Sino-Japanese War on, pulsing with a feeling of loss and passionately displaying the beauty of tradition. The set pieces, including a train platform showdown showpiece for Zhang Ziyi, rank with Wong’s very highest accomplishments.

Dir. Wong Kar-Wai
2013, Hong Kong, 130 min.
Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese with English subtitles

Screens as part of the series Martial / Art

Sunday, January 28, 5 PM and 10 PM
Metrograph, 7 Ludlow Street

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13) Mission Possible: In Conversation with Betty Wong Ortiz of Runner’s World – Join the first female Editor in Chief of Runner’s World Betty Wong Ortiz in conversation with MOCA President Nancy Yao Maasbach.

Wednesday, January 31, 6 PM
Museum of Chinese in America

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14) TaiwanNowBoarding: NYC! – Pack your bags, bring your passport, and swing by Marquee New York for a chance to WIN an instant trip to that very night!

February 1, 6:30 PM
Marquee, 289 10th Ave.


ONGOING FILMS, SHOWS, AND EVENTS

1) Have a Nice Day 《大世界》 -A hard rain is about to fall on a small town in Southern China. In a desperate attempt to find money to save his fiancée’s failed plastic surgery, Xiao Zhang, a mere driver, steals a bag containing $1 million from his boss. News of the robbery spreads fast within the town and, over the course of one night, everyone starts looking for Xiao Zhang and his money… Liu Jian delivers a whirlwind neo-noir, cementing his place as a pioneering force in independent Chinese animation.

Read reviews at China File, NPR, and VCinema.

At Angelika Film Center


ART EXHIBITIONS

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.

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Opening and Newly Listed:

1) Zhang Engli – The Garden (Hauser & Wirth, 1/25 – 4/7) – A champion of overlooked spaces and objects, painter Zhang Enli works from sketches, photographs, and memories to render his experience of the world in variegated brushstrokes and intimations of figures. His works, grounded in his immediate surroundings, involve a ceaseless scrutiny of ways of seeing. For the paintings on view in ‘The Garden,’ Zhang Enli has drawn inspiration from the gardens that populate the industrialized cityscape of Shanghai, articulating his impressions of their organic forms through expansive, immersive paintings that envelop viewers in an uncanny sense of recognition.

Having achieved acclaim for his earlier figural paintings, Zhang Enli has dedicated recent years to developing his own abstract visual language. In his latest body of work, Zhang Enli’s uninhibited, intuitive approach to color and form ideally complements his signature focus upon the quotidian. Among works on view in ‘The Garden,’ are ‘The Skeleton,’ ‘The Classical Painting,’ and ‘The Gold Arowana,’ a series that advances his unique approach to abstraction and explores the deceptively poetic aspects of everyday contemporary life.

Visit the exhibition page for the full press release.

The Parrot’s Wings, 2017
Oil on canvas
200 x 180 cm / 78 3/4 x 70 7/8 in
© Zhang Enli
Courtesy the Artist and Hauser & Wirth

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2) Qiu Anxiong – Of Mountains and Sea (Boers-Li Gallery, 1/28 – 3/3) – This exhibition, Qiu Anxiong’s fifth with the gallery, will showcase the third and last installment of Qiu’s widely-acclaimed animation trilogy: New Classics of Mountains and Seas (2006-2017) along with related paintings and drawings. The animation’s first episode was shown in 2013 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the exhibition: Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China. Later that year, the second episode was presented in Copenhagen at the Arken Museum of Modern Art.

This exhibition features the U.S. premiere of New Classics of Mountains and Seas, Part III, which was completed in 2017 and made its debut last March at our Beijing location. Projected onto a large-scale screen, the 30-minute video depicts an apocalyptic future in the post-information age, where the deteriorating environment turns humankind itself into virtual reality. Men and women sit silently playing video games, some dressed as their gaming characters. Animals are re-purposed as mechanical tools – a deer becomes a motorcycle, a shellfish serves as a mask against air pollution. We see a dragon treadmill, lobster VR glasses, a turtle keyboard. This recalls Part I of the trilogy in which sheep evolve into fleshless skeletons; and Part II, in which elephants morph into warring tanks.

In Part III, the artist delineates an explicitly political edge: fish eyes serve as surveillance cameras installed throughout the city while devilish-looking men keep watching. The urban landscape is projected onto circuit boards transported on a production line housed in a dark factory. Through the artist’s characteristically trenchant images, polluted air transforms into a toxic sea; towering high-rises mass into distorted mountains, while the once-existent mountains and seas of nature have become a lost utopia.

Visit the exhibition page for the full press release.

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3) The Fuck Off Generation: Chinese Art in the Post-Mao Era, Part 1 (Ethan Cohen Gallery, 1/31 – ??) – The monumental exhibition Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World opened at the Guggenheim Museum in the end of 2017. The far-reaching, impressive selection of artworks and artists, once again, put Chinese Contemporary art in the spotlight for international curators, scholars, collectors and art professionals. Being a very recent, recognized phenomenon in the history of art, Chinese Contemporary came to the fore of global culture in the last three decades.

From the very beginning, Ethan Cohen Gallery made its name for pioneering the genre of contemporary Chinese art, particularly the movements that arose in the wake of Mao Zedong’s death. As a reaction to and conversation with Theater of the World, the gallery is proud to present an alternative more intimate narrative to the story told by Guggenheim curators and researchers. This Ethan Cohen Gallery show, entitled The Fuck Off Generation: Chinese Art in the Post-Mao Era, is in some ways a corrective to the Guggenheim’s rather conventionally encyclopedic approach that missed the defiant fervor and dramatic innovation of the era’s avant-garde spirit. Chinese artists were bursting out of the imposed constraints of the Mao years and even of what went before, the inexhaustible past centuries of traditional art. With the current show, the gallery aims to add a sharp inflection missing from the Guggenheim’s vision of that time and scene.

The end of the 1980s in China was a turning point for global politics and the world economy. The country straddled residual neo-communist authoritarian rule and unfettered free enterprise generating a headlong momentum that culminated in the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989. For artists who grew up with the Cultural Revolution’s legacy of oppressive political and artistic controls, the new era demanded fresh experiments in the language of expression. Young artists rose to the occasion. In many ways they led the charge to a wider freer horizon. China’s opening to the West furnished them with the esthetic tools to grapple with epochal changes, to question and subvert, implode and rebuild the artistic conventions. Many of the works in this show at first glance may not seem explicitly radical or provocative to our contemporary eyes, yet each piece was indeed groundbreaking.

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4) YOR/K/ONG (349 W. Broadway, 2/1 – 2/4) – An exhibition featuring emerging artists from two of the world’s most dynamic metropolises: New York City and Hong Kong. \

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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)

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

YOR/K/ONG (349 W. Broadway, 2/1 – 2/4)

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)

Roadside Picnic – The Zone (Chambers Fine Art, 12/14 – 2/17/18)

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.

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

YOR/K/ONG (349 W. Broadway, 2/1 – 2/4)

Roadside Picnic – The Zone (Chambers Fine Art, 12/14 – 2/17/18)

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 – 2/9/18)

[.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)

The Fuck Off Generation: Chinese Art in the Post-Mao Era, Part 1 (Ethan Cohen Gallery, 1/31 – ??)

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

Qiu Anxiong – Of Mountains and Sea (Boers-Li Gallery, 1/28 – 3/3)

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)

Zhang Engli – The Garden (Hauser & Wirth, 1/25 – 4/7)

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: Gu Fuzhen (1634 – 1716) – The Road to Shu (detail), inspired by Li Bai’s famous poem “The Road to Shu is Hard!” which describes the perilous mountain scenery of Sichuan Province