NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: June 1 – 7, 2018

At Journey to the West Theme Park

This week: A film series featuring works by Taiwanese director who “tells stories about the Chinese & Burmese diaspora in Southeast Asia”; a talk about spirituality in China; new shows featuring local artists Heidi Lau, Lu Zhang, Lulu Meng and James Chan; and more…

Coming up:

June 12 – An interactive sound performance conceived by Residency Unlimited artist Lin Jingjing that takes excerpts from speeches by Donald Trump

June 29 – July 15 – New York Asian Film Festival


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

1) 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.

Submission deadline: August 28, 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) MOCA Music + Mic Night – The first of a summer series featuring musical performances and comedy curated to spotlight 23 artists in the local Asian Pacific American community. The event will feature a MOCA bar and admission to MOCA’s exhibitions after hours.

Tony Award winner Baayork Lee’s National Asian Artists Project (NAAP): Ya Han Chang, Alex Chester, Stephanie Mieko Cohen, Karin Kawamoto, Brian Kim, Alex Lawrence, Sandra W. Lee, Christian Luu, Chrissy Pardo, Viet Vo, Dan Pardo

Stand-Up Comedy/Spoken Word by Judy Lei, Priscilla Ho, Master Lee, Christie Clements, Esther Chen

Original Songs and Covers by Vivi Hu Duo (Xuewei Hu and Yoonmi Choi), Paulina Yeung and Charles Pang, and The Mandarin Trio

Friday, June 1, 6 PM
Museum of Chinese in America


2) Return to Burma 《歸來的人》– When Myanmar finally holds its first presidential election, Xing-hong, a Burmese construction worker in Taiwan, returns home with hopes that change will come to his country. Return to Burma was the first feature film shot in Myanmar. During the time of filming, Myanmar’s presidential election had just taken place. But democracy was far from thriving, and the government only allowed limited foreign press into the country. As a result, Midi Z had to shoot this semi-autobiographical homecoming story without official permission, and only minimal equipment and crew.

Dir. Midi Z
2011, Taiwan, 85 min.
In Mandarin and Yunnan dialect with English subtitles

Screens as part of Return to Myanmar: The Films of Midi Z

Saturday, June 2, 1:30 PM
Museum of the Moving Image


3) 14 Apples 《十四顆蘋果》– In Myanmar, a man named Wang Shin-hong is suffering from insomnia. A fortune-teller advises that he should become a monk, living in a temple and eating an apple a day for fourteen days. In this moving and personal documentary, Midi Z films the process, an experience that allows him to return to the poverty he experienced in his childhood and the religion that deeply influenced his life.

Dir. Midi Z.
2018, Taiwan, 84 min.

U.S. premiere with Midi Z. in person

Screens as part of Return to Myanmar: The Films of Midi Z

Saturday, June 2, 3:30 PM
Museum of the Moving Image


4) Ice Poison 《冰毒》– With crop prices weak, a Burmese farmer pawns his cow for an old motorcycle so that his son can take passengers to town for extra income. The new business is fruitless until the son meets a young woman who is involved with the risky but lucrative business of transporting crystal meth. This meticulously executed and mesmerizing story captures the changes occurring in Myanmar under capitalism. The film was Taiwan’s official entry to the 2015 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

Dir. Midi Z.
2014, Taiwan, 95 min
In Southwestern Mandarin, Burmese

Screens as part of Return to Myanmar: The Films of Midi Z

Sunday, June 3, 1:30 PM
Museum of the Moving Image


5) City of Jade 《翡翠之城》– Director Midi Z was only five years old when his sixteen-year-old brother abandoned the family. There were rumors that he had found riches in the mythical City of Jade. The family only saw him again at the father’s funeral in 1997—poor and addicted to opium. Years later, by which time Midi Z had moved to Taiwan and become a film director, the brother was released from the Mandalay prison. Weak, but still hopeful of finding a big jade gemstone to become rich overnight, he set off once again for the mines, just like countless others in Myanmar’s war-torn Kachin state on the border with China. Midi Z accompanied him with his camera, following him on his motorbike through the jungle, pushing ever further into the dangerous inner core of an inaccessible man’s world. City of Jade powerfully documents a moving cinematic attempt to bring two very different brothers closer together. (Berlin International Film Festival).

Dir. Midi Z.
2016, Taiwan, 99 min.

Screens as part of Return to Myanmar: The Films of Midi Z

Sunday, June 3, 3:30 PM
Museum of the Moving Image


6) The Road to Mandalay 《再見瓦城》– Described in Variety as “a low-key, high-impact love story about two illegal immigrants with very different ideas about making money and starting a new life in Bangkok,” The Road to Mandalay follows two strangers who are thrown together as they flee conflict and poverty and try to find work. With its assured visual style and compelling and eerie soundtrack, The Road to Mandalay is Midi Z.’s most accomplished fiction film to date.

With Midi Z. in person

Dir. Midi Z.
2016, Taiwan, Myanmar, 108 min.
In Minnan, Burmese, and Thai with English subtitles

Screens as part of Return to Myanmar: The Films of Midi Z

Sunday, June 3, 6 PM
Museum of the Moving Image


7) Conversation with Rebirth – Rebirth, a sculpture series comprising seven pieces made of retired elevator steel cables by Taiwanese artist Kang Muxiang (康木祥), is the Garment District Alliance’s latest public art installation currently on view at Garment District Plazas (located on Broadway, btw 36th and 39th). Conversation with Rebirth is an impromptu dance experiment PeiJu Chien-Pott (簡珮如), a principal dancer at the Martha Graham Dance Company, initiated following her unique experience of dancing spontaneously in response to seeing the monumental, embryonic sculptures. At the very beginning, the Conversation was a private experiment and spontaneous performance meant to gratify Chien-Pott’s own artistic craving. But her improvised performances have drawn other dancers to join her, as happened last Friday. Now, for the grand finale, the Conversation will become larger and more dynamic, with artists of various disciplines coming together to improvise on the spot!

Tuesday, June 5, 7 PM
Garment District Plaza, Brodway between 36th and 39th


8) Stilt 《候鳥來的季節》– A bird expert, who watches migratory birds year after year, cannot simply be an observer to his own life. On the surface, Min is a man who lives a dream life. He has great looks, a job he is passionate about at the Taipei wild bird conservatory and a loving wife. However, the expert of the Black-winged Stilt harbours dark storms within. There is daily growing tension between him and his wife over family planning. He and his brother, who were once in good terms, have been cold-shouldering each other for years. Last is the past he left behind to soar to where he is. All tension is released and mayhem unleashed when a crisis brings him back to his old home Yun-Ling, the town he came from. Meanwhile, oblivious to the life of the man who studies them, the migratory Stilts continue their annual ritual. Hidden with their feathery actions is a message of love waiting for Min and his family to uncover.]

Dir. Yin-chuan Tsai
108 min, Taiwan, 2012
Mandarin, Taiwanese & Vietnamese with English subtitles

Thursday, June 7, 6:30 PM
Taiwan Academy, 1 E. 42nd Street


9) Ethical Dilemmas: Religion and the Rebuilding of China’s Moral Foundations – Religion and traditional Chinese values did not do well in China during the years before Deng Xiaoping began to relax controls over society in 1978. Confucian philosophy was outlawed, and spiritual faith was harshly punished during the violent years of the Cultural Revolution. Over decades of political campaigns, the country’s traditional moral foundations were decimated. Today, religion is flourishing again, and the Communist Party is embracing Confucian thought. What impact is the spiritual revival having on ethics and politics in China today? Come hear Ian Johnson, author of the highly acclaimed book, The Souls of China: The Return of Religion after Mao, in conversation with Tao Jiang, a scholar of Chinese thought at Rutgers University.

Ian Johnson is a Pulitzer-Prize winning writer focusing on society, religion, and history. He works out of Beijing and Berlin, where he also teaches and advises academic journals and think tanks. He is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books and The New York Times, and his work has also appeared in The New Yorker and National Geographic. Johnson has published three books and contributed chapters to three others. His newest book, The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao, describes China’s religious revival and its implications for politics and society.

Tao Jiang is the director of Center for Chinese Studies ( and associate professor in the Religion Department at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. His primary research interest is classical Chinese thought, Mahāyāna Buddhist thought, and a comparative approach to ideas. He is the author of Contexts and Dialogue: Yogācāra Buddhism and Modern Psychology on the Subliminal Mind and the co-editor of The Reception and Rendition of Freud in China: China’s Freudian Slip. He is finishing a book manuscript on classical Chinese philosophy. Jiang co-directs the Rutgers Workshop on Chinese Philosophy and co-chairs the Neo-Confucian Studies Seminar at Columbia University.

Thursday, June 7, 6:30 PM
China Institute


1) How Long Will I Love You 《超時空同居》- In this rollicking romantic comedy, a man and a woman living in the same apartment nearly twenty years apart wake one day to find their timelines have merged. Now they’re stuck with one another, unless they can work together long enough to find a way back to their normal lives… if destiny will allow it.

At AMC Empire 25


Group Shows, Local Artists, and Other Art Events:

Lulu Meng is part of Tailbone at 47 Canal, opening on June 2 (reception: 7 – 9 PM) and on view through June 29.  Details forthcoming

Opening and Newly Listed:

SPF by Special Special 1) SPF (Special Special, 5/30 – 8/26) – In celebration of summer, Special Special presents SPF,” its first group show transforming the living room storefront into a swimming pool. “SPF” evokes the pool that is its blue oval, inviting creative dialogues amongst a fluid arrangement of various artist projects in the spirit of a poolside retreat, offering New Yorkers a refuge from the sweltering heat.  “We invite you to hang out and converge for a Special Special experience, with Pool Party openings for each project, workshop, and event interspersed throughout the Summer months of May till August. In addition to hosting a rotation of site-specific artist installations, we also present new Special Special editions and other curated designs.”

SPF currently features the summer and cocktail drinkware inspired ceramics of Lu Zhang and her Boat Date social experiment from It Takes Ten Years Practice to Be on the Same Boat project which was recently at NARS Foundation

Summery ceramics. Photo by Hansi Liao


2) The Sentinels (The Geary, 5/31 – 7/14) – Geary presents The Sentinels, an exhibition of sculpture and video by Rachel Frank and Heidi Lau. The Sentinels centers around Frank and Lau’s unique perspectives and placement in the shifting landscapes, literally and metaphorically, of time and history. Together, Frank and Lau suggest the stark reality of an uncertain future informed by the materiality of the past. While examining abject evidence of human kind’s trajectory, the two artists also offer a respite in The Sentinels: disaster and chaos, in the form of rapid expansion and collapse, are countered by guardians who watch over our real and mythological worlds as soothsayers: reforming the future by interpreting the past.

Heidi Lau – ‘The Blue Peacock’, 2018. glazed ceramics, gold luster. Courtesy the artist.

3) James Chan – Where Are You Really From? (384 Broadway, 6/6 – 6/23) – An ongoing research/art project where artist James Chan attempts to learn more about his family history, starting with his dad’s side.

The discoveries, family stories, musings, and difficulties encountered during the project are presented in the form of illustrations and paintings.

Opening: June 6, 6 – 9 PM

James Chan – ‘Untitled’, digitally painted, laser color printed, mounted on recycled cardboard


4) Fu Xiaotong – Proliferation (Chambers Fine Art, 6/7 – 8/18) – While studying under Wu Jian’an, well-known for his exploration of the paper cut technique, Fu Xiaotong developed a strong affinity for handmade Xuan paper that has been used within China since the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and is still the preferred support for traditional brush and ink painters and calligraphers. “In the end,” she has written, “I chose handmade Xuan paper to be my primary medium and decided to use needles to pierce holes in the paper to form images.” Elsewhere, she has written that “in the course of study on the language of materials, I learned to focus on the material itself. In general, in Chinese painting, ink covers the beauty of the paper but it is my aim to reveal it without any interference. I do not paint or write on it, but rather create images through the accumulation of thousands of holes that I create with my needle.”

In spite of her wish to disassociate herself from the cultural associations of Xuan paper, she used it to create visual equivalents of the lofty mountains and rushing streams that had characterized the long history of traditional Chinese landscape painting (Shan Shui). As she gained in confidence she evolved a “language of the needle” consisting of five different ways of approaching the surface of the paper. Early on in the development of this technique, she only perforated the surface of the paper from directly above, but eventually she also approached it from the reverse and at an angle from the left and from the right. By now she has such control over the use of the needle that she is able to visualize how different combinations of directional strokes result in convincing representations of rocks and water. Seen from close-up, the texture of her paper works resembles textiles or tapestries in the intricate interlocking of the multiple units of directional needle holes.

Her paper works of 2017 and 2018 are characterized by an evolution in her technique and a transition in her imagery from the landscape motifs with which she is most closely associated to a more abstract language of forms. No longer using a limited repertoire of directional pinpricks according to predetermined plans, she now starts from the center and works in a circular rhythm, softening the sturdy paper until it results in a pronounced three-dimensional surface. These undulating surfaces evoke a multitude of associations, organic, cellular, human or animal skin, breaking waves or breast-like forms that recall an important aspect of the work of Louise Bourgeois.

Fu Xiaotong – ‘1,400,940 Pinpricks’, 2018. Handmade paper, 191 x 63 in. (486 x 160 cm)

Closing soon:

Dik Liu: Still Lifes (Gallery 456, 5/4 – 6/1)

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

Yun-Fei Ji – Rumor Ridicules and Retributions(James Cohan Gallery (Grand Street), 4/28 – 6/17)

Current shows:

Visit the exhibition calendar for details on the current shows listed below. Check the museum’s or gallery’s website for hours of operation.

Dik Liu: Still Lifes (Gallery 456, 5/4 – 6/1)

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

Yun-Fei Ji – Rumor Ridicules and Retributions (James Cohan Gallery (Grand Street), 4/28 – 6/17)

Hao Liang – Portraits and Wonders (Gagosian, 5/8 – 6/23)

James Chan – Where Are You Really From? (384 Broadway, 6/6 – 6/23)

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

The Fuck Off Generation Chinese Avant Garde in the Post-Mao Era, Part 2 (Ethan Cohen, 5/10 – ??)

Liu Wei –180 Faces (Sean Kelly Gallery, 5/5 – 6/16)

[和hé] (Taiwan Academy in New York (TECO), 5/18 – 6/22)

Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong: <Constellation (Seward Park, June 2017 – June 2018)

The Mississippi Delta Chinese (Pearl River Mart Gallery, 5/18 – 7/7)

The Sentinels (The Geary, 5/31 – 7/14)

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)

SPF (Special Special, 5/30 – 8/26) – Current exhibition: Lu Zhang and her Boat Date social experiment from It Takes Ten Years Practice to Be on the Same Boat

Fu Xiaotong – Proliferation (Chambers Fine Art, 6/7 – 8/18)

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)

Kang Muxiang – Rebirth (5/17 – 9/15, Garment District Plazas, Broadway btwn 41st and 36th Streets)

Cecile Chong – El Dorado / The New 49ers (Lewis H. Latimer House Museum, 5/12 – 10/14)

One Hand Clapping (Guggenheim Museum, 5/4 – 10/21)

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

Lead image: In the parking lot of the Journey to the West theme park near Wuhan, Hubei Province. Photo by Andrew Shiue