NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: April 6 – April 12, 2018


This week: Showcases of talented illustrators; an acclaimed film from China at the New Directors/New Films 2018 festival so popular that an additional screening was added; 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; talks about the role of kung fu in Chinese communities and Chinatowns around the world; the Chinese American Genealogy Conference; China’s highest grossing animated movie of 2016 that was inspired by Miyazaki, the Coen Brothers, and Ang Lee; and more….

Coming up:

April 16 – A lecture about movie music during the Cultural Revolution

April 21 – A discussion about Taiwanese writer Qiu Miaojin, author of Notes of a Crocodile and a counterculture icon and a martyr in the movement for LGBT rights in Taiwan.

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) Kung Fu Connection: Chinese Martial Arts and Community – This talk focuses on the multiple roles that Chinese martial art schools play in their respective communities. Although kung fu is a popular topic of discourse, conversations generally revolve around the historical and practical aspects of the art; ignoring the significant contemporary social and cultural significance that Chinese martial arts has in their respective communities. For this presentation, Mr. Raymond Fong will discuss a number of domestic and international kung fu schools and highlight the diversity that exists amongst their cultural interactions, functions, and purpose.

Asian American / Asian Research Institute – City University of New York
25 W 43rd St Suite 1000


2) Homeward Bound: Chinatowns Around the World – This first of four series about Chinatowns around the world asks: What can elderly Chinese Cuban women in Havana teach us about the fight to preserve Chinatown in New York City? How does Johannesburg’s Chinatown relate to Black and Asian race relations in the U.S.? Where is home for the lineages of immigrants in the diaspora? The Chinese diaspora is worldwide. Immigrants have created home in countries where one may not expect to find thousands of Chinese restaurants in one city (Lima, Peru). In one year, Huiying Bernice Chan traveled solo to seven countries using Chinatowns as a starting point to learning about global stories of migration, activism, and resilience across the diaspora. Beginning in Latin America, stopping in South Africa, traversing Asia, and ending in Australia, Huiying shares their journey.

Friday, April 6, 7 PM
Wing On Wo & Co, 26 Mott St.


3) 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

Friday, April 6, 7 PM (standby only)
Saturday, April 7, 7 PM (standby only)
Blackbox Theater, 31-10 Thomson Ave., Long Island City


4) Chasing the Dragon 《追龍》– Donnie Yen stars as infamous real-life drug kingpin Crippled Ho, who came to Hong Kong an illegal immigrant in 1963 and ruthlessly carved an empire from the chaotic underworld of drug dealers and corrupt police that ruled the city under notorious detective Lee Rock (Andy Lau)

Dirs. Jason Kwan and Jing Wong
Hong Kong, 2017, 128 min.
Cantonese, Thai, and Teochew with English Subtitles

Friday, April 6, 7:30 PM
Museum of the Moving Image


5) MoCCA Arts Festival – Chinese, Chinese American, Taiwanese, and Taiwanese American artists are exhibitors at the MoCCA Arts Festival, a 2-day multimedia event, Manhattan’s largest independent comics, cartoon and animation festival, drawing over 7,000 attendees each year. With 400 exhibiting artists displaying their work, award-winning honorees speaking about their careers and artistic processes and other featured artists conducting workshops, lectures and film screenings, the Festival mission accelerates the advancement of the Society’s broader mission to serve as Manhattan’s singular cultural institution promoting all genres of illustration through exhibitions, programs and art education.

Aritsts include

Alice Mei Chi Li
Amelia Huang
Connie Sun
Feifei Ruan
Guang-Min Ruan
Kou Chen
Yinfan Huang
Yiran Guo
Hsuan Zuo

Saturday, April 7, 11 AM – 7 PM
Sunday, April 8, 11 AM – 6 PM
Metropolitan West, 639 W 46th St.


6) Chinese American Genealogy Conference 2018 – This conference offers a series of comprehensive workshops, presentations, and one-on-one consultations with expert practitioners of Chinese genealogy in America. Whether you’re just getting started or are a pro, this conference will provide you with the tools and methodology to discover your family’s roots and document your family lineage.

Day 1 covers Chinese American Genealogy Basics, including Introduction to Chinese Genealogy Research; Discovering Chinese Family History in Personal Documents and non-Traditional Sources; Tips for Conducting Chinese Genealogy Research.

Day 2 covers Chinese American Genealogy Next Steps, including Interpreting Chinese Genealogy Books, Pieces, Patterns, and Pitfalls of Names in Chinese Genealogy; Using Archives and Special Collections for Family Historical Background; Planning an Overseas Genealogy Research Trip.

Saturday, April 7, 9:30 AM – 5 PM
Sunday, April 7, 9:30 AM – 5 PM
Museum of Chinese in America


6) Columbia China Art International Development Forum: China’s Cultural Landscape by Mid-Century – By bringing together leading figures from China’s art industry, including scholars, curators, collectors, and artists both from within and outside of China, the forum presents their insights on future cultural landscapes and the expanding definition of Chinese Art.

Participants include:

Mark Wasiuta, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
Xun Lu, Director, Sifang Art Museum
Herb Tam, Chief Curator, Museum of Chinese in America (MoCA)
Jie Li, Curator, A4 Art Museum in Chengdu
Inna Xu, Director, Inna Art Space
Mu Li, Artist, Founder of Qiu Village Project
Yan Qu, Artist, Founder of Xu Village Project
Chi Chen, Independent Curator
Peng Gao, Director, Beijing Today Art Museum
Echo He, Research and Archive Associate, Pace Gallery; Founder, Fou Gallery
John Rajchman, Adjunct Professor, Department of Art, History and Archaeology, Columbia University
Xin Wang, Independent Curator; Doctoral Student, Institute of the Fine Arts, New York University

Saturday, April 7, 10 AM – 6:30 PM
Faculty House, Presidential Ballroom, Columbia University


7) 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 8, 6 PM
Walter Reade Theatre, 165 W 65th St.

Sunday, April 8, 6:30 PM
Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 West 65th St.


8) Taiwan Comics Night – Artists Ruan Guang-Min (阮光民) and Zuo Hsuan (左萱) will demonstrate their art styles and discuss elements of Taiwanese culture and customs through their artwork.

Ruan Guang-Min is a Taiwanese graphic novelist and illustrator. After leaving the military, he had been worked as an assistant to comic artist Lai Yu-Hsien. His first work to receive recognition was an adaptation of the TV show Friends, using the comic form to tell a moving story about a group of young people from the countryside struggling to make a living in Taipei. His book Dong Hua Chun Barbershop was the first Taiwanese comic to be adapted into a television series.

In 2017, Ruan released Yong-Jiu Grocery Store (用九柑仔店) drawing inspiration from childhood memories with his grandfather. Through illustrating the stories of common people in Taiwanese society, the manga not only presents the everyday life in Taiwan but also brings back collective memories shared by all those who lived on the island. Ruan’s ability to imbue his stories with a sense of warm, touching humor and reconnect readers with the land of Taiwan through comics has made him the winner of the 2017 Comic of the Year Award with Yong-Jiu Grocery Store at the 8th Golden Comic Awards.

Guang-Min Ruan – ‘The Seasoning of Happiness’

Zuo Hsuan started illustrating and creating comics in college by providing illustration for many novels’ covers. Her illustration and comic works have a heartwarming tone, expressing delicate and sincere feelings between people. In 2014, she released her first long comic work The Summer Temple Fair in Creative Comic Collection, published by Gaea Books Co. She draws creative inspiration from childhood memories of Daxi’s elaborate temple parades involving thousands of devotees, some dressed as oversized gods, others carrying aloft ornate sedan chairs containing figures of deities.

Zuo Husan, ‘Rites of Returning’

Monday, April 9, 6 PM
Mid-Manhattan Library at 42nd Street, 476 Fifth Ave.

Tuesday, April 10, 6 PM
Society of Illustrators, 128 E 63rd St.


9) ChinaFile Presents: The China Mission  – Executive Editor of Foreign Affairs Daniel Kurtz-Phelan will be speaking about his new book, The China Mission: George Marshall’s Unfinished War, 1945-1947, which deals with the tumultuous aftermath of WWII, frantic U.S. engagement with China, and what led to the moment America “lost” the Middle Kingdom. He will be in conversation with Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations Orville Schell.

This exploration of one of the most devastating moments in U.S.-China relations comes at an urgent moment. Policymakers, the business community, and others both in the Unites States and elsewhere worry about deteriorating American resolve to uphold an international world order it has championed since WWII. These changes are occurring just as a more assertive China seeks to sell its own brand of authoritarian rule to a largely leaderless world.

Wednesday, April 11, 6:30 PM
Asia Society


10) Launch Party: Mississippi Delta Chinese Photographs from Andrew Kung and Emanuel Hahn’s excellent audiovisual project documenting the Chinese community in the Mississippi Delta area will be on view. See the prints and meet the two at this event.

Wednesday, April 11, 7 PM
42 Rivington Street


1) Big Fish & Begonia 《大鱼海棠》 – It is a world within our world, yet unseen by any human, and the beings here control time and tide and the changing of the seasons. On the day Chun turns sixteen, she is transformed into a dolphin to explore the human world. She is rescued from a vortex by a human boy at the cost of his own life. Chun is so moved by the boy’s kindness and courage that she decides to give him life again. But to do this, she must protect the boy’s soul, a tiny fish, and nurture it to grow. Through adventure and sacrifice, love grows, yet now she must release him back to the sea, back to life in the human world.

Variety says: “This marvelous and mind-blowing animated feature surpasses anything cartoon China has produced before in terms of sheer beauty, even as it defies interpretation.”

At Regal 14 Union Square


2) 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


3) 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

April 7 – 11
At Metrograph


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) Yingqian Cao – The Illusion of Certainty (Pearl River Mart Gallery, 395 Broadway) – Honoring the tradition of Chinese painting, the artist’s meticulous and introspective work is first and foremost about nature. At the same time, it reflects on the changes and disruptions passing time can have on our precious environment.

While Cao’s works create a meditative and sensitive atmosphere, this calmness is mediated by a confluence of various lines and variances that seemingly happen by accident, imparting feelings of uncertainty.


Closing soon:

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)

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 – ??)

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)

Art Across Archives (384 Broadway, 2/17 – 4/22 (extended))

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: Toll booth in Wuhan. Photo by Andrew Shiue