NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: March 30 – April 5, 2018

At the Yellow Crane Pagoda, Wuhan

This week: Two highly acclaimed films from China and Taiwan at the New Directors/New Films 2018 festival; a new work that uses Arthur Miller’s direction of a his Death of a Salesman in Beijing in 1983 as a jumping off point for examining how culture is translated; a new commissioned multimedia classical composition inspired by Antonin Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World; jazz singer Annie Chen; events with Wing On Wo. & Co.; a documentary about China’s role in the 2008 financial crisis; four new exhibition listings; and more…

Coming up:

April 7 and 8 – Chinese American Genealogy Conference

April 25 – Guangzhou Dream Factory, a film about Africans chasing the Chinese dream in the country’s southern city.

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

1) 4th D.C. Chinese Film Festival – The DC Chinese Film Festival has announced its open call for submissions. The Festival is determined to provide a global platform for Chinese-speaking filmmakers, films in the Chinese language, and films about Chinese-speaking cultures. We have been very impressed by the depth and breadth of its programming. Two years ago, we happened to be in DC during the festival and caught ‘The Chinese Mayor’ and was really impressed by the inquisitiveness of the audience and the long, unrushed, and thoughtful conversation with director Zhou Hao following the film.

Regular deadline: May 1, 2018


2) 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.

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) Annie Chen Quartet at Cornelia Street Cafe – Chen’s last concert in New York before leaving to China for 3 months residency at JZ Club Hangzhou and album release concerts in Beijing and Shanghai from April to July.

Friday, March 30, 6 PM
The Cornelia Street Cafe, 29 Cornelia Street


2) 店面 Residency: Artist Talk & Closing  – Wing On Wo & Co. wraps up the W.O.W. Project’s Second Storefront Residency with Artist-in-Residence Emily Mock.

The night will feature a casual conversation and discussion of Emily Mock’s work and experiences during her 6 month long residency, as well as interactive activities and a guzheng musical performance by Clara Lu.

Friday March 30, 7 PM
Wing On Wo & Co, 26 Mott St,


3) Confetti Papermaking Workshop with Wing On Wo & Co. – During Lunar New Year, you may have seen the Wing On Wo team around Chinatown collecting confetti from the Lunar New Year firecracker ceremonies. At this special workshop, join the fellows from Wing On Wo & Co’s Resist Recycle Regenerate project in transforming this confetti into paper pulp and then recycled paper.

Saturday, March 31, 1 PM
Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre Street


4) New World, New Music – New World, New Music is a celebration of the 125th anniversary of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World. As our contribution to the celebration, we have commissioned renowned composer and native New Yorker Bruce Adolphe and visual artists James Rouvelle and Lili Maya, known as maya + rouvelle, to create an integrative arts experience that will be premiered by the ICOA. The project underscores the values of ICOA: collaboration, cultural exchange, and innovative performance.

Adolphe’s inventive homage, titled Dvorshock, will feature London Philharmonic Co-leader Kevin Lin. As one of the founding orchestra member of ICOA, Kevin Lin will return to New York for the first time since his designation at London Philharmonic.

Saturday, March 31, 7 PM
Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street


5) Chitchat with Alex Chow – Alex Yong Kang Chow ( 周永康 ) was the secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students in 2014-2015 and the student leader who headed the only televised debate with the top official on political reform during the Umbrella Movement. He also served as the vice president (external) of the Hong Kong University Students’ Union and is one of the initiators of Community Citizen Charter Movement and the Community Press Crowdfunding Scheme in Hong Kong. Currently he is a master’s student at the London School of Economics and will begin in Fall 2018 his Ph.D. studies in Geography at the University of California, Berkeley.

Saturday, March 31, 7:30 PM
WeWork Times Square, 1460 Broadway


6) An Elephant Sitting Still 《大象席地而坐》– Sure to be remembered as a landmark in Chinese cinema, this intensely felt epic marks a career cut tragically short: its debut director Hu Bo took his own life last October, at the age of 29. The protagonist of this modern reworking of the tale of Jason and the Argonauts is teenage Wei Bu, who critically injures a school bully by accident. Over a single, eventful day, he crosses paths with a classmate, an elderly neighbor, and the bully’s older brother, all of them bearing their own individual burdens, and all drawn as if by gravity to the city of Manzhouli, where a mythical elephant is said to sit, indifferent to a cruel world. Full of moody close-ups and virtuosic tracking shots, An Elephant Sitting Still is nothing short of a masterpiece.

Peng Yuchang as Wei Bu and Zhang Yu as Yu Cheng in An Elephant Sitting Still

Dir. Hu Bo
China, 2018, 234 min.
Mandarin with English subtitles

Screens as part of New Directors/New Films 2018

The British Film Institute says the film is “an intimate and empathetic portrait of human suffering, with performances of astounding sensitivity.”  The Hollwood Reporter says the movie “stands as a memorial to a young talent who burned out too soon, and a much-merited run on the festival circuit is the least he deserves.”

Sunday, April 1, 6:30 PM
The Museum of Modern Art, 11 W 53rd St.


7) 2046 – Written at the same time as his In the Mood for Love and bringing together characters and narrative threads from both that film and Days of Being Wild, Wong’s 2046 completes his loose trilogy of achingly unrequited love stories. Brilliant longtime costume/set designer William Chang helps Wong to create new characters (a futuristic Japanese traveler, a female android) and resurrect familiar ones (Mood’s Chow and Li, Days’s Lulu) in a panoply of sublime garments that reveal markedly and mysteriously different facets of their selves.

Dir. Wong Kar-Wai
Hong Kong, 2004, 129 min.
Cantonese, Japanese, and Mandarin with English subtitles

Monday, April 2, 2:30 PM, 9:30 PM
Tuesday, April 3, 10 PM


8) The Great Buddha + 《大佛普拉斯》– Provincial friends Pickle and Belly Button idle away their nights in the security booth of a Buddha statue factory, where Pickle works as a guard. One evening, when the TV is on the fritz, they put on video from the boss’s dashcam—only to discover illicit trysts and a mysterious act of violence. Expanded from a short, Huang Hsin-yao’s fiction feature debut The Great Buddha + (the plus sign cheekily nodding to the smartphone model) is a stylish, rip-roaring satire on class and corruption in contemporary Taiwanese society.

Dir. Huang Hsin-yao
Taiwan, 2017, 104 min.
Taiwanese and Mandarin with English subtitles

Screens as part of New Directors/New Films 2018

Variety says the film “sport[s] an ingeniously cinematic concept that’s nimbly executed”.  The South China Morning Post says that the “film’s aesthetic recalls the work of American independents Jim Jarmusch and Kevin Smith as readily as masters of Taiwan’s New Wave.”

Tuesday, April 3, 8:45 PM
Museum of Modern Art

Wednesday, April 4, 6:30 PM
Walter Reade Theatre, 165 W. 65th Street


9) Salesman之死 – Cultural collisions abound as Arthur Miller and Ying Ruocheng, a titan of Chinese theater, mount a Mandarin production of Death of a Salesman in Beijing. What happens to a classic American play when it’s removed from its original context, and how far can China understand the American dream in 1983, just a few years after the Cultural Revolution? A tale of two very different societies making contact through theater, based on actual events.

In Mandarin and English.

Conceived by Michael Leibenluft & Jeremy Tiang; Written by Jeremy Tiang; Produced in association with Gung Ho Projects with support from the 14th St Y

This work-in-progress presentation is part of the Rough Draft Festival

Thursday, April 5 , 7 PM
Friday, April 6, 7 PM
Saturday, April 7, 7 PM
Blackbox Theater, 31-10 Thomson Ave., Long Island City


1) The China Hustle – In the midst of the 2008 market crash, investors on the fringes of the financial world feverishly sought new alternatives for high-return investments in the global markets. With Chinese indexes demonstrating explosive growth, the country suddenly emerged as a gold rush opportunity with one caveat: US investors were prohibited from investing directly into the country’s market. Makeshift solutions led to a market frenzy, until one investor discovered the massive web of fraud left in its wake. Jed Rothstein’s documentary rings the alarm on the need for transparency in an increasingly deregulated financial world by following those working to uncover the biggest heist you’ve never heard of.

Dir. Jed Rothstein
United States, 2017, 84 min.

At IFC Center


Group Shows and Local Artists:

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:

1) Xi Zhang (Marc Straus, 2/16 – 4/1) – Cultural identity and immigration are the most decisive issues of the day in international politics; frequently breeding conflict and misunderstanding. Zhang has tackled these subjects for almost a decade, having studied painting both in China and the US. His new paintings more poignantly than ever bring insight and balance to these heated subjects. His expressionistic canvases present elusive narratives: who are these characters? where are they? The oneiric environments are manifestations of their inner anxieties and dilemmas, places in-between dream and reality, where forbidding landscapes and atmospheres engulf the protagonists. They reflect the immediacy of the issues at hand, that the physical and psychological struggles are real, and pressing.

Visually, they are arresting-loud, vibrant colors amplify emotional depth. Conflating styles of the East and the West, Zhang’s work echoes water-colored landscapes of antique Chinese scrolls, but also the expressionistic gestures and exuberances of early 20th Century Germans and the Italian Transavantgarde of the 1980s.

In his painting The Castle a blind boy ambles across the surface of a luxuriously large bed. It is a place of affluence with well-appointed furniture and large architecturally impressive windows; and yet the foreground is overgrown with wild foliage. Entropy is quickly breaking down the productive bubble. The blind resident is oblivious to his precarious position, an apt metaphor for the modern moment, where wealth may provide an illusionary place to retreat from looking at the wider world. Christina’s World relocates Andrew Wyeth’s iconic character from the idyllic American heartland to a harsher shanty town. Piecemeal shacks are crumbling in the background, while Christina stumbles through a fallow landscape of dead trees and refuse. Toxic green ground and orange skies drive home the mental trauma of the setting. The exported American Dream is forced to be reconsidered with shocking contemporary realities.

Yet, Zhang is not a pessimist ─ his narratives remain open; there is beauty and hope within. For Zhang a brighter future is always possible but requires sincere acknowledgment and apprehension of current obstacles.

Xi Zhang – ‘Limbo’, 2017, Acrylic on Canvas, 58 x 72 in.


2) Jesse Chun: Name Against the Same Sound (Baxter Street / The Camera Club of New York, 3/14 – 4/14) – A solo exhibition of multi-media works by Jesse Chun, organized by consulting curator Howie Chen (Chen & Lampert).

Name Against the Same Sound investigates the geopolitical conditions of the English language through examining E.S.L (English as a Second Language) learning resources. Jesse Chun, a New York-based visual artist from Seoul, Hong Kong, New York, and Toronto, draws from a transcultural relationship to language to re-interpret English pedagogy through a multilingual, and non-linear perspective. Chun’s work explores the technological and ideological machinery underlying the process of cultural assimilation and translation, focusing on the hegemony of English and the subjectivization of non-native speakers in the process of learning the language.

Chun underlines the textuality of the exhibition by presenting a space to be read and decoded: appropriated pages from ESL workbooks, fragments of audio from YouTube tutorials, manipulated imagery from standardized tests, and abstracted graphemes are presented on various substrates and media. The installation consists of digital prints on paper and aluminum, sound, video, drawing, and text-based works. Mediated by the process of abstraction and the poetry of translation, Chun’s works consider conditions and aesthetics of readability.


3) Benrei Huang: My Own Keepers (Gallery 456, 3/30 – 4/27) – Artist statement:

It’s been ten full years since I started creating paintings with a bunny named Nini in them.

Earlier on, people kept asking me, “Why bunnies?” Now in retrospect, this accidental intruder in my life has brought me down an amazing road I had never thought I’d go down, and for longer than I could have ever expected. It has more or less become my keeper on a path of exploration. Because of this, the once clear and repeated explanations to that question are now impalpable and too complicated for words. A lot of my viewers have projected their own life experiences into my works; a vivid reflection of their life and on-the-spot emotions. My audience, old and new, has unwittingly become partners of my work.

Opening reception: March 30, 6 – 8 PM


Art of the Mountain: Through the Chinese Photographer’s Lens (China Institute, 2/9/18 – 2/17/19) – In Chinese legend, mountains are the pillars that hold up the sky. Mountains were seen as places that nurture life. Their veneration took the form of rituals, retreat from social society, and aesthetic appreciation with a defining role in Chinese art and culture.

Art of the Mountain will consist of three sections: Revered Mountains of China will introduce the geography, history, legends, and culture that are associated with Chinese mountains and will include photographs by Hou Heliang, Kang Songbai and Kang Liang, Li Daguang, Lin Maozhao, Li Xueliang, Lu Hao, Zhang Anlu, Xiao Chao, Yan Shi, Wang Jing, Zhang Jiaxuan, Zhang Huajie, and Zheng Congli. Landscape Aesthetics in Photography will present Wang Wusheng’s photography of Mount Huangshan, also known as Yellow Mountain, to reflect the renowned Chinese landscape painting aesthetic and its influence. New Landscape Photography includes the works of Hong Lei, Lin Ran, Lu Yanpeng, Shao Wenhuan, Taca Sui, Xiao Xuan’an, Yan Changjiang, Yang Yongliang, Yao Lu, Zeng Han, Gao Hui, and Feng Yan, who express their thoughts on the role of mountains in society.

Wang Wusheng – ‘Huangshan A104’, 1984. Inkjet print, 24 x 40 3/8 in.


Closing soon:

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)

Xi Zhang (Marc Straus, 2/16 – 4/1)

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

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

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 – ??)

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)

Xi Zhang (Marc Straus, 2/16 – 4/1)

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

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

Jesse Chun: Name Against the Same Sound (Baxter Street / The Camera Club of New York, 3/14 – 4/14)

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

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

Benrei Huang: My Own Keepers (Gallery 456, 3/30 – 4/27)

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: A building at the Yellow Crane Tower complex in Wuhan. Photo by Andrew Shiue