NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: March 16 – March 22, 2018

Elvis and Confucius

This week: The Afro Yaqui Music Collective welcomes guest collaborator Min Xiao-fen and also performs works by avant-jazz funk musician Fred Ho; live electronic performances accompanied by Yiyang Cao’s minimalist and hypnotic videos and installations; pipa player and composer Wu Man joins the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band for a shadow puppet performance; screenings of an award-winning documentaries about Chinese high school students attending an elite boarding school in the US and about a unique North American Chinese American streetball game; an analysis of Tsui Hark’s Taking of Tiger Mountain; David Henry Hwang and Huang Ro’s operatic tribute to Danny Chen; Asia Week events; and more…

Coming up:

3/31 – Chinese musician-founded International Chamber Orchestra of America presents New World, New Music, in which an orchestra plays as a performer wearing a VR headset interacts with a virtual environment

Early April – Huang Hsin-yao’s The Great Buddha + 《大佛普拉斯》 and Hu Bo’s  An Elephant Sitting Still  《大象席地而坐》are the Chinese language films screening at Film Society and MoMA’s New Directors New Films.

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

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.

Extended Deadline: March 16, 2018
Work-in-Progress Deadline: April 6, 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) RRR Project: Community Confetti Papermaking Workshops – Wing On Wo. & Co.’s Resist Recycle Regenerate fellows lead papermaking workshops that recycle confetti from the 12 garbage bags of confetti collected from the Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade.

Two hour-long sessions at 1 and 2 PM will be held.

Saturday, March 17, 1 – 3 PM
Wing On Wo & Co, 26 Mott St.


2) Afro Yaqui Music Collective’s Women Warriors: A Matriarchal Tune – In honor of women’s history month, and in acknowledging the growing failure of patriarchal global leadership, join The Afro Yaqui Music Collective for a celebration of women warriors in jazz and new multicultural music. The Collective will be collaborating with the Pipa virtuoso Min Xiao-Fen, whom the The New York Times has called “a pipa player like no other,” and the Village Voice proclaims has “taken ancient Chinese string music into the future.” Soprano Gizelxanath Rodriguez will be singing repertoire that traverses Peking Opera, Indigenous languages and the jazz-blues tradition, while emcee Nejma Nefertiti will contribute words and rhymes that reflect and challenge the times.

The Afro Yaqui Music Collective will also be performing works by the late, guggenheim award-winning Fred Ho, whose revolutionary Monkey Orchestra combined grooving jazz-funk with Peking Opera styles and wild improvisation. The band includes alumni from Fred Ho’s bands as well as a new generation of musical visionaries.

Saturday, March 17, 7 PM
Ginny’s Supper Club, 310 Lenox Ave


3) Wu Man & Huayin Shadow Puppet Band – Recognized as the world’s premier pipa virtuoso, leading ambassador of Chinese music and Grammy Award-nominated musician, Wu Man has carved out a career as a soloist, educator and composer who has given her lute-like instrument – which has a history of over 2,000 years in China – a new role in both traditional and contemporary music. Her collaborations with artists across disciplines have allowed her to reach wider audiences as she works to break through cultural and musical borders. Her work as a member of Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble and her prevalent role in the recent documentary on the ensemble entitled The Music of Strangers has brought her work to the attention of an even larger audience.

Wu Man joins the brilliant Huayin Shadow Puppet Band (formerly known as the Zhang Family Band) for performances of old tune traditional music with shadow puppetry. Amid vocal performances, the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band uses the yueqin, banhu, erhu, lute, fiddle and a variety of percussion instruments (including clappers, gongs, cymbals and a wood bench) to tell lively stories of rural life in remote China and draw the audience into places and sounds rarely heard in the West.

Presented in association with Asia Society New York

Saturday, March 17, 8 PM
New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 W 64th St


4) Funneled Smoke w/ Yiyang Cao, LDP. Crowe, Regula, Bellerue – Funneled Smoke is a series of live electronic performances which take place in an immersive video environment. This event features modular hardware video from Chinese artist Yiyang Cao. Through minimalist and hypnotic real-time videos and installations, Yiyang showcases a dark and science fiction inspired vision of the future in black and white.

Saturday, March 17, 9 PM – 1 AM
Unnamed Gallery, 46-55 Metropolitan Ave, Ridgewood


5) Asia Art Week Afternoon at Sotheby’s – A film and lecture at the auction house as part of Asia Week New York:

2:00 PM – Abode of Illusion: The Life and Art of Chang Daichien (1993)

If asked to list the world’s greatest artists, few Westerners would include a single Chinese painter despite the fact that China has nurtured the world’s oldest continuous painting tradition. Indeed, many “innovations” attributed to 20th century Western art have been in the China’s art mainstream for centuries. Abode of Illusion challenges this oversight, providing an intriguing portrait of Chang Dai-chien (Zhang Daqian) (1899-1983), considered by many to be the “Picasso” of China. Chang was a prolific artist who produced over 30,000 original paintings during his lifetime … and unknown numbers of forgeries.

Chang was revered throughout Asia for his versatility and ability to reflect Chinese art traditions in his paintings. Yet despite his fame, Chang spent his life in constant search for inspiration and new ideas. Abode of Illusion traces his journeys: from his Sichuan birthplace to the cabarets of Shanghai, from the Yellow Mountains of Huangshan to the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas in the Gobi Desert, from Hong Kong to Paris, and from the Brazil to Taiwan, where Chang built an idyllic garden estate he called “The Abode of Illusion.”

Chang was equally famous for his forgeries of Chinese masterpieces. His copies span a thousand years of Chinese art and demonstrate a virtuoso talent for emulating, and even improving upon, the work of painters before him. Today many of these forgeries, still attributed to others, hang alongside Chang originals in museums worldwide.

Abode of Illusion shows how Chang Dai-chien’s art – fake and genuine – illustrates essential differences between Western and Chinese approaches to art, and how originality and tradition, and abstraction and representation, are interpreted and valued across cultures.

3:00 PM – Tales of the Bearded One: Zhang Daqian, Sotheby’s, and Me
Lecture by Arnold Chang, Artist and Consultant to Chinese Paintings Department at Sotheby’s

4:00 PM – Challenging the Emperor of China. The story of Augustus the Strong and his 29,000 pieces of East Asian Porcelain
Lecture by Dr. Julia Weber, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

5:00 PM – Narratives and Traditions. Examining the Stories in Kangxi Porcelain
Lecture by Dr. Yibin Ni, independent scholar

6) Lecture: Xu Beihong: Pioneer of Modern Chinese Painting – Known as the father of modern Chinese painting, Xu Beihong (1895-1953) was a pre-eminent artist and art educator with an enduring legacy that has shaped the Chinese art scene to this day.

Xu attended the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts in France on a government scholarship from 1919 to 1921, followed by study sojourns in Germany, Belgium, Italy, and Switzerland where his exposure to Western art expanded. Returning to China in 1927, he gave Chinese painting a new lease of life by integrating the methods and techniques unique to Western painting with the traditional Chinese approaches. He was also the first Chinese artist to introduce European-style sketching from life and oil painting into the regular curricula of China’s leading art schools. His unequaled influence survived his untimely demise in 1953, through his deathless masterpieces, his pedagogical philosophy, and the collective contributions of his students to artistic China.

At this lecture, Xu Fangfang, daughter of Xu Beihong, will present her newly published memoirs, ‘Galloping Horses: Artist Xu Beihong and His Family in Mao’s China’, an account of Xu Beihong’s family and legacy in the context of the turbulent Mao era.

Xu Fangfang graduated from Beijing’s Preparatory Music High School affiliated to the Central Conservatory of Music in piano performance. She moved to the United States in 1981 and earned a B.A. in history from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. from Stanford University. In 2000, she became the founding director of the Music Department at Renmin University of China. She helped initiate and facilitate the first comprehensive solo U.S. exhibition of Xu Beihong’s works at the Denver Art Museum, Oct. 2011-Jan. 2012. She has published several articles on Xu Beihong and his art.

A book signing will follow her talk.

The event will include a video, Xu Beihong Lives in the Hearts of the People, produced by the Liao Jingwen Foundation for the Xu Beihong: Pioneer of Modern Chinese Painting exhibition, which took place Oct. 2011 – Jan. 2012.

Sunday, March 18, 2 PM
China Institute


7) Opera Theatre of Saint Louis: An American Soldier: David Henry Hwang and Huang Ruo – Excerpts are performed from this new two-act opera based on the true story of Danny Chen, proud American and son of Chinese immigrants residing in Manhattan’s Chinatown. After enlisting in the U.S. Army, Chen is welcomed in boot camp, but in Afghanistan, his own base becomes enemy territory as military hazing turns deadly, posing powerful questions about what it means to be an American. Librettist David Henry Hwang and composer Huang Ruo discuss their collaboration with MOCA President Nancy Yao Maasbach, prior to the opera’s premiere in Saint Louis.

Sunday, March 18, 7:30 PM
Guggenheim Museum

Crippled Avengers 《殘缺》(aka Return of the Five Deadly Venoms) – Crippled Avengers may be the ultimate movie featuring the martial artists known as “The Venom Mob.” Warlord Chen Kuan-Tai goes insane after his enemies kill his wife and cripple his son. He proceeds to maim anyone who crosses his path. Four of his victims unite to seek bloody vengeance.

Sunday. March 18, 7:30 PM
Guggenheim Museum


8) Pride, Passion, and Patriotism: Exploring China’s Hunger for Antiquities – Christie’s Hong Kong auctions hit record numbers last March – bringing in a stunning $332.7 million in all, for important Chinese classical paintings, porcelains, bronzes and furniture from private collections. The high prices reflected what the auction house called “deep bidding” from buyers in mainland China. It wasn’t the first time Chinese buyers have stunned the Chinese classical art market. Remember the tiny “chicken cup” that fetched a record $36 million at a Hong Kong auction in 2014? The buyer, of course, was Chinese, a prolific art collector named Liu Yiqian. He celebrated his Ming Dynasty purchase by drinking tea from it. Come hear Cai Jinqing, President of Christie’s China, share her insights on China’s high-flying collectors and the burgeoning Chinese art market.

Tuesday, March 20, 6:30 PM
China Institute


9) Transforming the Liminal Hero: Border-crossing Interconnections in The Taking of the Tiger Mountain (2014) and Its Textual Pedigree – Known as a Hong Kong director of action-filled and visually spectacular blockbusters, Tsui Hark made a seemingly surprising move in 2014 and shot a 3D remake of the 1970 Maoist revolutionary opera film Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy in mainland China. Existing scholarship tends to see the remake as merely a reflection of the close marriage between politics and commerce in contemporary Chinese cinema.

This talk by Zhuoyi Wang, Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and LIteratures and the coordinator of the Chinese Program at Hamilton College, offers a more nuanced perspective on the remake, revealing how its deep historical dimension generated complexity and subtlety in Tsui’s approach. Rather than just commercially packaging and disseminating current state ideology, the remake reflects Tsui’s long-term personal and artistic navigation across multiple national and ideological borders. It embodies Tsui’s signature way of constructing alluring cinematic shapes for a liminal “Chineseness” that lacks substantial reference, consistency, and clear origin. Precisely for this void, the remake may resonate with a diverse range of Chinese cultural, political, and ethnic subjects.

Presented by the Asian Film and Media Initiative.

Wednesday, March 21, 6:00 PM
Michelson Theater, Department of Cinema Studies, NYU, 721 Broadway, 6th Floor


10) Curator’s Lecture: Part Two New Shanshui Photography—Chinese Landscape Photography with a New Dimension – Art of the Mountain’s second curator’s lecture will be conducted by renowned photography critic Jiang Rong (江融), guest curator of the exhibition, member of the United Nations Exhibitions Committee, and columnist in Photo World magazine. Jiang’s lecture will focus on the elements of the exhibition’s third section: New Landscape Photography.

Wednesday, March 21, 6:30 PM
China Institute, 40 Rector Street


11) Maineland Screening and Talkback with Director Miao Wang and Star Harry He – Following the screening of an award-winning documentary about affluent Chinese teenagers at an elite Maine boarding school (see below for more information and the trailer) China Institute hosts an on-stage conversation featuring director Miao Wang and the film’s protagonist, Harry Junru He.

Wednesday, March 21, 7 PM
AMC Empire 25


12) The FOLD Variations: Letters c/o 196 Canal & Poems from Unearthings – Experience the final days of FOLD: Golden Venture Paper Sculptures with an evening of in-gallery readings exploring the everyday lived experiences of the Chinese in America.

Featuring: Wendy Chen, Xiaoyan (Stella) Li, Dani Frank, and Zoe Liu.
Wendy Chen reads from Unearthings, her debut work that confronts the complexities of cultural, ancestral, and familial inheritance.
Xiaoyan Li, Dani Frank, and Zoe Liu perform Letters Alive, inspired by personal correspondence from MOCA’s archives that they uncovered while interning at MOCA Collections and Research Center.
Thursday, March 22, 6:30 PM
Museum of Chinese in America

13) 9-Man Screening Ursula Liang’s award-winning documentary 9-Man uncovers an isolated and unique streetball tournament played by Chinese-Americans in the heart of Chinatowns across the USA and Canada. Largely undiscovered by the mainstream, the game is a gritty, athletic, chaotic urban treasure traditionally played in parking lots and back alleys and it is fiercely protected by a community of men who who require that 2/3 of players are “100% Chinese.” A 9-Man tournament grew in the 1930’s, at a time when anti-Chinese sentiment and laws forced restaurant workers and laundrymen to socialize exclusively amongst themselves. Today it’s a lasting connection to Chinatown for a dynamic community of men who know a different, more integrated world, but still fight to maintain autonomy and tradition.

Part of W.O.W. Youth Series


1) Maineland – Over 370,000 students from mainland China are enrolled in American high schools and universities – six times more than a decade ago – with $11.4 billion contributed to the American economy. Filmed over three years, Maineland follows two teenagers – fun-loving Stella and introspective Harry – who are part of this enormous wave of “parachute students” from China’s wealthy elite seeking Western-style education and the promise of a Hollywood-style U.S. high school experience.Through their stories, the film observes China’s place in the contemporary world order and its rise and how that rise is impacted by the West.

Dir. Miao Wang
2017, United States, 90 min.
In Chinese and English with English subtitles

Winner of SXSW Special Jury Award 2017.

At AMC Empire 25


2) Detective Chinatown 2 《唐人街探案》– A follow up to the Chinese hit “Detective Chinatown,” the new film reunites writer/director Chen Sicheng and stars Wang Baoqiang and Liu Haoran, who reprise their roles as detectives Tang Ren and Qin Feng, respectively. When the case of New York Chinatown godfather Uncle Qi’s missing son turns into a murder investigation, the detective duo Tang and Qin team up again to hunt down the killer—this time with some help from the International Detective Alliance. The main cast also includes Xiao Yang, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Michael Pitt and Japanese star Tsumabuki Satoshi.

At AMC Empire 25


3) Operation Red Sea 《 紅海行動 – Famed action director Dante Lam returns with this explosive follow-up to his 2016 box office smash Operation Mekong. When a terrorist plot to obtain nuclear materials is hidden under the cover of a violent coup, only the Chinese Navyas elite Jiaolong Assault Team have the deadly skill and precision needed to take on the situation.

At AMC Empire 25


Asia Week New York

Asia Week New York is an annual celebration of art from Asia during which dealers, galleries, auction houses, museums, and institutions open their doors for viewings, talks, and  other events that give the public opportunities to see rare, exquisite objects.  Last year, we saw photographs from late 19th century China and a world map by Chinese cartographers.  Many of the participating galleries are in the Upper East Side, so you can hop between them.  The list of participants and calendar of events can be viewed here.  As you’ll see, there’s a lot more than just Chinese art.  It can be overwhelming.  The three listings below are what’s caught our eye so far.  We’ll update the post by Saturday morning with additional things:

  • Louis Chan – The World Comes to Him (Sotheby’s 3/15 – 3/28) – Sotheby’s New York presents a selection of works by Luis Chan representing all stages of his artistic output. His artworks intuit the frenzied, dynamic development of modern Hong Kong over six decades, from a sleepy fishing hamlet to the metropolitan city of his late years. At the heart of this exhibition is the constant presence of a man who viewed the world wielding a paintbrush and wonderful joie de vivre.

    Louis Chan – ‘Fantasy Landscape with White Rhinoceros’, 1972

    A painter, teacher, writer, curator, and ardent cultural advocate, Luis Chan (1905-1995) was born in Panama in 1905 and moved to Hong Kong at the age of five. He hardly travelled beyond its shores, but avidly read international art publications, painted constantly and remained a pivotal figure in the development of 20th century Chinese art. Starting with Western-style oils and watercolor, Chan soon developed a diverse repertoire of styles that did not fit within any prescribed genre or movement. His works range from surreal Chinese ink landscapes, fantastical portraits in oil, to graphic Matisse-esque collages and bold abstract experimentations reminiscent of ‘action’ painting.

  • Made in Asia (Opera Gallery, 3/14 – 3/27) – Made in Asia,  a collection of works dedicated entirely to, or inspired by Asia, features many high-profile artists and works including exciting pieces by Japanese ‘pop’ artists Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara alongside Chinese socio-political painters Yue Minjun, Wang Guangyi and Zhang Xiao Gang, a ‘video robot’ sculpture by Korean Paik Nam June will rub shoulders with Andy Warhol’s notorious Chairman ‘Mao’ and delicate, expressive works by Yan Pei Ming and Zhang Huan will contrast with the heavy yet intricate sculptures of Seo Young-Deok. The exhibition will also showcase a number of sublime, saturated, mixed media artworks by Zhuang Hong-Yi, his abstracted sculptural paintings, incorporating oriental rice paper, offer visitors an immersive experience, a moment of transendental calm amongst the eclectic energy of this powerful exhibition.

    Yan Pei Ming – ‘Tête No. 5’, 2003

  • Nicholas Girndley Works of Art – An adjustable wooden yokeback folding chair (!) from late Ming or early Qing China and watercolors of emperors are among the objects on exhibit.

    Folding yokeback chair, late Ming to early Qing


Group Shows and Local Artists:

Lu Zhang’s artist studio during her residency at NARS foundation becomes a dating hotspot through her project It Takes Ten Years Practice to be on the Same Boat.   Inspired by the Chinese proverb “十年修得同船渡” translated as “it takes ten years practice to be on the same boat,” the project builds the concept of yuánfèn in which one’s good deeds in past lives will lead to the “fateful coincidence” of meeting another person in this current life, whether as friends, lovers or acquaintances. The proverb also implies that we be open, patient and appreciative of moments when we encounter each other.  Read more about it here.

Hong Kong artist Wong Ping and Chinese artists Song Ta and Shen Xin are part of the New Museum’s triennial group show Songs for Sabotage which “questions how individuals and collectives around the world might effectively address the connection of images and culture to the forces that structure our society. Together, the artists in Songs for Sabotage propose a kind of propaganda, engaging with new and traditional media in order to reveal the built systems that construct our reality, images, and truths. The exhibition amounts to a call for action, an active engagement, and an interference in political and social structures urgently requiring them.”

Think!Chinatown’s Everyday Chinatown invites you to call in to listen in on members of the Chinatown community as they share stories of commonly found household items in Chinatown. Window displays of these objects will be scattered around the neighborhood from the Lunar New Year to March 31. This project of cultural translation, self-representation, and inter-generational exchange is funded by the Citizen’s Committee for NYC.


Opening and Newly Listed:

Stay tuned for new listings.


Closing soon:

Fernando Villela and Zhe Zhu: Time Flies So First Things First (Fou Gallery, 2/16 – 3/18)

Zhen Guo: A Denied Existence (Gallery 456, 2/23 – 3/23)

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)

Shifting Momentum: Abstract Art in Taiwan (Taipei Cultural Center at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, 3/8 – 3/30)

Art Across Archives (384 Broadway, 2/17 – 3/31)

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.

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

Fernando Villela and Zhe Zhu: Time Flies So First Things First (Fou Gallery, 2/16 – 3/18)

Zhen Guo: A Denied Existence (Gallery 456, 2/23 – 3/23)

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)

Shifting Momentum: Abstract Art in Taiwan (Taipei Cultural Center at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, 3/8 – 3/30)

Art Across Archives (384 Broadway, 2/17 – 3/31)

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

Liu Shiyuan: Isolated Above, Connected Down (Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, 2/22 – 4/7)

Wang Dongling: Poetry and Painting (Chambers Fine Art, 2/25 – 4/14)

Zao Wou-Ki: Watercolor. Ink on Paper. Porcelain (Marlborough Gallery, 3/15 – 4/14)

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: Elvis and Confucius in Times Square as part of Hello Kongzi, a “pop-up new media carnival” and cultural renewal program that has traveled the world.