NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: April 27 – May 3, 2018

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This week: A screening and discussion with artist Li Xiaofei; talks about the impact of NYC’s Chinatowns’ gentrifications on working class residents, establishing a Chinese opera company and presenting the art form in the US, independent comics in China, and China’s strawberry generation; a group show by eight designers from China and Taiwan; a solo exhibition by a painter from Macau; and more….

Coming up:

May 4 – Angels Wear White, a film about bureaucratic corruption and conspiratorial silence that puts vulnerable young women at risk and which resonates with the #MeToo moment

May 6, Wayne Wang’s Asian American classic, Chan is Missing

Our weekly listing 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

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2) 1st Dafen International Oil Painting Biennale – This inaugural international exhibition scheduled for October 2018 seeks works with the theme “Opening-up and Integration”.  The call for submission explains the theme: “Since implementing the policy of opening to the outside world, China has been closely connected with the world. With the opening-up attitude, integrated with global regional culture, it deepens the thought and participation for this era of various countries and nations. It realizes the diversity and multiplicity of culture.”

International submission deadline: May 15, 2018

3) Lotus Lee Foundation Travel Fellowship – Through the Travel Fellowship, Lotus Lee Foundation hopes to stimulate an in-depth discussion on the future development of the theater and performing arts industry. The fellowship aim to encourage students and young professionals to exam this topic from different perspectives including business model, the market expands, art & technology integration, investment, cross-cultural communication, etc.

The fellowship will provide its recipients an opportunity to explore the theater industry in Shanghai, China; to broaden their experience and knowledge on the cultural exchange; to deepen their insights on the future of international performing arts field.

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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.

Mak Ying Tung's (@makyingtung) 'Sound of Music' recreates the classic karaoke stage complete with actual instrumental tracks filling the space at de Sarthe Gallery (@desarthegallery). Visitors are welcome to take the stage and grab a mic to sing their lives. In a twist, the lyrics displayed on the screens are not of the cloying words of the original songs but rather impassioned words — humorous and sarcastic — that needle the art world and reveal the struggles of artists everywhere: "Gallery ~ who doesn't like galleries? / It is a cool place where you can get free drinks…if you're lucky there might be some food" On view as part of 'Reversal Ritual' March 23 – May 13, 2017 at de Sarthe Gallery in Hong Kong _ #karaoke #art #parody #sarcasm #desarthe #desarthegallery #makyingtung #chinesecontemporaryart #contemporarychineseart #hongkong #hongkongart

A post shared by Beyond Chinatown (@beyondchinatown) on

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) ISCP Open Studios Spring 2018 – The ISCP Spring Open Studios is a two-day exhibition of international contemporary art presented by current artists-in-residence. Twice a year only (the second show takes place in fall), the event offers the public access to private artists’ and curators’ studios to view artwork and share one-on-one conversations.

With the sponsorship of Taiwan’s culture ministry, Yen-Ting Hsu and Pei-Hsuan Wang began their five-month-long residence at ISCP in March. Hsu, a sound artist, will present her new work in the making “Cycle/Recycle” during the open studios. Using recyclable objects the artist collected from her daily surroundings as sources and conductors of sound, Hsu plans to create a sound installation that forms an array in which viewers can wonder around and experience the variation of sound produced by different recycled objects.

Known for using daily objects to create installations that create open yet intimate narratives, Wang will present her recent work “Made of Star-Stuff” and “Momentary Grace”. Wang’s work centers around mobility and borders – the overlap and ambiguity of territories, and the forces that propel malleable subjectivities to move from one space to another.

Read more about the artists on the event page.

Friday, April 27, 6 – 9 PM
Saturday, April 28, 1 – 7 PM
International Studio & Curatorial Program, 1040 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn

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2) An Afternoon with Li Xiaofei and the Assembly Line Project – Artist Li Xiaofei will screen a series of his video works from his ongoing project Assembly Line and feature in a post-screening panel discussion with Zoe Meng Jiang (Ph.d student, Cinema Studies) and Ellen Zweig (artist), moderated by Zhen Zhang (Director of Asian Film & Media Initiative).

Assembly Line (2010-ongoing) consists of videos documenting labor and its condition in more than 160 factories from different parts of the world. Operating in between modes of video art and film, the artist resists temptations of narrative and highlights different ways of perceiving workers. Each of Li’s exhibition is a unique permutation exploring elements in and between videos, consistently questioning the relation between spaces of image production and commodity production.

Friday, April 27, 3 PM
NYU Michelson Theater, 721 Broadway, 6th Floor

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3) Gentrification and the Future of Work in New York City’s “Chinatowns” – New York City’s “Chinatowns” are becoming increasingly inhospitable to both long-term residents and recent immigrants from working class backgrounds. Such immense changes in the landscape and intensive re-routings of both people and money can often be traced back to a political crisis—the attacks of September 11, 2001—and an economic crisis—the financial meltdown that peaked in Fall 2008. These recent events and forces represent a significant shift in the overall function of multi-ethnic Chinese neighborhoods in New York City, and their relationship to both the broader U.S. and Chinese economies.

This talk, based on an article for Asian American Matters: A New York Anthology, utilizes employment data from the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) to document fundamental shifts in Chinatown, Flushing and Sunset Park’s local economies, and examines the transition of New York City’s “Chinatowns” from sites of surplus labor to sites of surplus capital. Using this Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) data, Tarry Hum and Samuel Stein compared the neighborhood economies of New York City’s “Chinatowns” during two periods, in 2000 (pre-9/11 crisis), and in 2015 (post-2008 “Great Recession”).

The transformations that Chinatown, Sunset Park and Flushing are undergoing not only are remaking the neighborhoods’ built environments and economic sectors, but also the modes of struggle labor utilizes to reproduce itself and make political claims

Friday, April 27, 6 PM
Asian American / Asian Research Institute – City University of New York, 25 W 43rd St Suite 1000

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4) Paradise Systems: Woshibai, Lisk Feng and Jun Cen in conversation – Shanghai-based cartoonist Woshibai reads from his new book Migraine, newly released by Brooklyn-based publisher of exemplary comics from the United States and China, Paradise Systems. Woshibai will be joined by New York-based cartoonists Jun Cen and Lisk Feng in conversation about Chinese comics and the illustration community. Jun Cen will also have copies of his book Negative Space availble, which was recently published in China.

About Migraine: Woshibai’s comics open up a beautifully rendered world of human and animal-like figures that exists adjacent to ours. More bound to reality than many of his works, this wandering autobiographical snapshot details his memories of growing up on the outskirts of Shanghai.
Friday, April 27, 6 PM
Printed Matter, 231 11th Ave.
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5) Maineland – Filmed over three years in China and the United States, acclaimed director Miao Wang presents a multi-layered coming-of-age tale that follows two affluent and cosmopolitan teenagers as they settle into a boarding school in blue-collar rural Maine. Part of the enormous wave of “parachute students” from China enrolling in U.S. private schools, bubbly, fun-loving Stella and introspective Harry come seeking a Western-style education and Hollywoodized high school experience. As they encounter homesickness and a more nuanced understanding of the American dream, Wang and ace cinematographer Sean Price Williams let the camera fully register those complications, steering clear of simplified portraiture to instead fashion a film as exploratory and sensitive as that of their brave and tentative young subjects.

Followed by Q&A with director Miao Wang.

Friday, April 27, 7:30 PM
Sunday, April 29, 4:30 PM
Museum of the Moving Image

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6) The Girl and the Picture – In 1937, 8-year-old Xia Shuqin witnessed the murder of her family in the horror that would become known as the Nanjing Massacre. Madame Xia, now 88, shares her legacy of family, loss and survival.

Dir.: Vanessa Roth
2018, United States, 39 min.

Screens as part of the Tribeca Film Festival

Friday, April 27, 8:30 PM
Cinépolis Chelsea, 260 W 23rd St.

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7) Official NYC 2018 Tai Chi & Qigong Day  – To observe New York City’s Tai Chi & Qigong Day and celebrate the Museum’s Fist and Sword film series, there will be demonstrations and open practice from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the Museum courtyard (enter the Museum courtyard from 37 street). Demonstrations are scheduled on a first-come, first-scheduled basis. At 11:00 a.m. there will be a featured demonstration by Master Pingzhen Cheng of Sun Style Internal Martial Arts.

Saturday, April 28, 9 AM
Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave, Queens

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8) In Arts We Trust: Chinese Opera in New York City – Flushing Library, CHINOPERL (Chinese Oral and Performing Literature) and Chinese Theatre Works will present the 2nd “In Arts We Trust” Chinese Opera Forum. This forum will feature directors and performers of Qi Shu Fang Opera Troupe, New York Chinese Opera Society, The Kunqu Society, Asia Pacific Culture and Art Center and Tong Xiao Ling Chinese Opera Ensemble.

Mr. Xinye Qiu (Assistant Library Manager, Flushing Branch Library) will be the host of the forum and Professor Wenwei Du (Vassar College and director of Chinoperl) will moderate the discussion on the process of building an opera company, presenting Chinese opera performances in America, and how these groups have helped to spread the seeds of traditional culture in a new country. The theme of performing and producing will be a platform for academic scholars and practicing artists to dialog with each other, and for audiences to get to know the opera artists without their costumes and makeup, learn of their techniques and specialties, learn of their personal experiences emigrating to New York, and hear of the obstacles they faced in trying to continue doing their art.

In Chinese with English translation.

Saturday, April 28, 2 PM
Queens Library at Flushing, 41-17 Main St, Queens

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9) Think!Chinatown: TaiChi sword workshop w/ Sifu Sherry Zhang – Practice Tai Chi and make new friends at Think!Chinatown’s community space at 384 Broadway. Suggested donation: $5- $20 Bring your own sword! (there will be a few swords available for those without)

Sherry Zhang Xiao Qin is a faculty member at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, teaching tai chi and qi gong. A native of Hubei China, she holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Chengdu Physical Education Institute in Sichuan and was an associate researcher at the Chinese Wushu Research Institute in Beijing. Zhang also worked for the China Wushu Association for 15 years and was certified by the Association to teach tai chi and qi gong.

Saturday, April 28, 2 PM
384 Brodaway

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10) Yellow is Forbidden – Recognition from Paris’s Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture is considered the apex of the fashion industry, and Chinese designer Guo Pei is determined to reach it.

With a remarkable eye for detail and exquisite blending of visual art forms, veteran documentarian Pietra Brettkelly captures Guo’s drive, artistry, meticulousness, and acumen, from the designer’s emergence on the international scene—when Rihanna wore her hand-embroidered canary yellow gown to the Met Gala in 2015—through her remarkable 2017 show “Legend,” presented at La Conciergerie, in Paris. Along the way, Brettkelly reveals the myriad opposing forces that confront Guo’s ambitions: those of tradition versus modernity; acceptance versus prejudice; and ensuring a thriving business versus pursuing more expensive and exclusive techniques. Motwost of all, she highlights the pressures China’s economic rise places on its individual artisans—as Guo puts it, “I’m a designer, not a nation.” Nevertheless, Guo thrives amid these challenges, establishing herself as a singularly capable and uncompromising warrior for her art. With loving fidelity for Guo’s work, Brettkelly depicts both the process and the fashion itself, resulting in a timely examination of what it takes for an outsider to earn acclaim from one of the West’s most redoubtable institutions.

Saturday, April 28, 6 PM
Regal Cinema Battery Park

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11) Melodious New York – The Chinese Music Ensemble of New York presents their 2018 Annual Spring Concert . The performance features a wide variety of compositions, from ancient Chinese to modern classical. Traditional Chinese instruments are featured in various settings, from solo to full orchestra.  Conducted by JunYi Chow

Sunday, April 28, 3 PM
Merkin Concert Hall At Kaufman Music Center, 129 W 67th St.

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12) China’s Strawberry Generation: Youth Culture, and the Changing Chinese Dream – Chinese born after 1990 have been referred to as the Strawberry Generation (草莓族), a reference to the lack of the group’s need to “eat bitterness” (吃苦) or endure the hardships faced by Chinese born during the tumultuous years before China’s rise. Join China Institute for a far-reaching discussion about the emerging identity of China’s youth with Zak Dychtwald, author of Young China: How the Restless Generation Will Change Their Country and the World.

So much of the “China story” in the United States focuses on the government. Dychtwald thinks that is a sure-fire way to misunderstand the younger generation, whose lives by and large have little connection to ideology or the Communist Party. At this talk we will delve into issues of national pride, marriage, sex, schooling, LGBT issues, and the pursuit of “fun”—something the older generation couldn’t dream of at their age. China’s 400 million millennials have tremendous economic power, too: marketers are striving to understand what makes Chinese young people tick.

Zak Dychtwald is a world-traveler, writer, consultant, and public speaker. After graduating from Columbia University in 2012, he moved to China to explore the country and get to know China’s young people on their own turf, and is now the author of Young China: How the Restless Generation Will Change Their Country and the World.

Through his writing, speaking, and consulting, Zak’s overarching goal is to change the way the world understands China: to expand the narrative away from headline politics towards identity and cross-cultural understanding. He has recently relocated to New York City where he is the founding CEO of the Young China Global Group – think tank and consultancy. A fluent Mandarin speaker, he spends a third of the year in China.

Tuesday, May 1, 6:30 PM
China Institute


ONGOING FILMS, SHOWS, AND EVENTS

Chalkroom – The virtual reality work, Chalkroom, co-created by American avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson and Taiwanese new media artist Hsin-Chien Huang, makes its New York premiere at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Expanded from previous piece initially installed at Mass MoCA, Chalkroom, was selected for the 74th Venice Film Festival and won the Best VR Experience Award under its Italian title La Camera Insabbiata.

Chalkroom consists of eight rooms in which the viewer flies through an enormous structure made of words, drawings, and stories. Inside the experience, the viewer is free to roam and fly, while words sail through the air like emails, fall into dust, and form and reform. “VR and the ‘new media’ we talked about in the past are greatly different,” says Hsin-Chien Huang, the new media creator with backgrounds in art, design, engineer and digital entertainment. “VR releases all energy hidden within the possibilities, and in a world created by VR, imagination is the only limitation.”

Part of the Tribeca Film Festival

Friday, April 20 – April 29, 12 – 3 PM (the work is one of 26 in the Tribeca Film Festival’s Virtual Arcade. Tickets are for 3 hour sessions at the arcade.  See https://www.tribecafilm.com/immersive for more details)
Tribeca Film Festival Hub (Spring Studios), 50 Varick Street


ART EXHIBITIONS

Group Shows, Local Artists, and Other Art Events:

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.”

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Opening and Newly Listed:

1) Xeno 外人 (Chinatown Soup, 4/28 – 5/5) – This exhibition is about identity, loneliness, making new dialogues, and the desire to speak out.

Eight New York-based artists originally from Asia come together to explore the relationship between the self and the other, the individual and the collective. Through paintings, videos, and installations, they reflect on the experience of being strangers and contemplating the concept of otherness. Their creative work is a way to find their place in, and help others foster connections to this “strangers’ world” as they explore new approaches to communication.

Participating artists: Anna Xu, Chudan Zhou, Elsa Lee, Hui Ma, Ichin Lin, Lanny Li, Will Chen, Ye’er Shi

Lanny Xiuzhu Li – ‘The F Word’

Opening reception: April 28, 7 – 9 PM

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2) Crystal W. M. Chan Solo Exhibition (The National Arts Club, 4/30 – 5/25) – The National Arts Club is proud to present the work of Crystal W. M. Chan, the 2017 Will Barnet Prize winner. Born and raised in Macau, Crystal received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts. In addition to the National Arts Club Will Barnet Prize she was also the recipient of the Macau Cultural Affairs Bureau Grant for Artistic and Cultural Study from 2015 – 2017.

“Nostalgia does not always cleanse the past. A certain kind of sadness remains adrift, violently disturbing. These emotional fragments are pieces that are difficult to put back in shape. Some things are very subtle and quiet, but remain after time.” To address these sentiments, Crystal’s gestural paintings involve figures and bleak landscapes that are drawn with an expressive line and brushstrokes. She seeks to evoke emotions that resonate with haunting memories.

Crystal W.M. Chan – ‘Forest’, 2017. Oil on Canvas, 72 x 60 in.

Opening reception: May 2, 6 – 8 PM

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Closing soon:

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

Sui to Tang, A Golden Age of Chinese Buddhist Sculpture (Throckmorton Fine Art, 3/1 – 4/28)

Katie Yang – Serendipity (Denise Bibro Fine Art, 3/15 – 4/28)

Matthew Wong (Karma Gallery, 3/22 – 4/29)

Cocoon (Pfizer Building, 4/19 – 5/4)

Pity Party (Sleep Center, 4/13 – 5/4)

Xeno 外人 (Chinatown Soup, 4/28 – 5/5)

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.

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

Sui to Tang, A Golden Age of Chinese Buddhist Sculpture (Throckmorton Fine Art, 3/1 – 4/28)

Katie Yang – Serendipity (Denise Bibro Fine Art, 3/15 – 4/28)

Matthew Wong (Karma Gallery, 3/22 – 4/29)

Cocoon (Pfizer Building, 4/19 – 5/4)

Pity Party (Sleep Center, 4/13 – 5/4)

Xeno 外人 (Chinatown Soup, 4/28 – 5/5)

Yingqian Cao – The Illusion of Certainty (Pearl River Mart Gallery, 5/12)

Jia-Jen Lin – Funes’ Broken Mirror (Rubber Factory, 4/21 – 5/23)

Cici Wu: Upon Leaving the White Dust (47 Canal at 291 Grand Street, 4/18 – 5/27)

Crystal W. M. Chan Solo Exhibition (The National Arts Club, 4/30 – 5/25)

Subject: China (NYU China House, 4/13 – 5/31)

Yan Shanchun: West Lake II (Chambers Fine Art, 4/19 – 6/2)

Chen Dongfan: Nevermore (昨夜星辰昨夜风) (Fou Gallery, 4/14 – 6/24)

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)

Mel Chin: All Over the Place (Queens Museum, 4/8 – 8/12)

Land: Zhang Huan and Li Binyuan (MoMA PS1, 4/15 – 9/3)

Chinese Medicine in America: Converging Ideas, People, and Practices (Museum of Chinese in America, 4/26 – 9/9)

On the Shelves of Kam Wah Chung & Co.: General Store and Apothecary in John Day, Oregon (Museum of Chinese in America, 4/26 – 9/9) –

Streams and Mountains without End: Landscape Traditions of China (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/26/17 – 1/9/19)


Lead image: Monument to the people of Wuhan overcoming the Yangtze Flood of 1954 in Yanjiang Park, Wuhan..  Parts of Mao Zedong’s poem Swimming inscribed