NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: July 20 – 26, 2018

Chinatown Mural

This week: The Asian American International Film Festival opens; Chinese Theatre Works at the Bronx Zoo; Asian American comedians; Jia Zhangke’s contemplation of Shanghai; Chinese speculative fiction; new exhibitions by Liu Chang, Huiqi He, Dingding Hu; residency opportunities, and more…

Coming up:

July 30, August 3 and 4 – A play by Yinqing Zhao

August 10 – The final MOCA Music + Mic Night for the summer


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

1) 店面 Storefront Residency – Wing On Wo & Co. and China Residencies are accepting applications for the third residency, a 6-month opportunity which includes a stipend, access to W.O.W’s basement studio space, project support from China Residencies, an opening reception, artist talk.

Submission deadline: July 31, 2018

2) 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) Asian AF – NYC! Asian AF NY returns to UCBT Hell’s Kitchen with a great line up of Asian American comics and an improv team.


Special Guest Michele Selene Ang (“13 Reasons Why”)
Stand-up by Peter Kim (Second City e.t.c.)
Stand-up by Karen Chee
Stand-up by Tushar Singh

Improv by the UCBTNY Superteam!
(Donald Chang, Lily Du, Michael Kayne, Dan Lee, Jesse Lee, Shelly Mar, Nicole Pasquale, Curtis Retherford, Alex Song, Achilles Stamatelaky, Erik Tanouye, Jon Wan)

Friday, July 20, 9 PM
Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, 555 W. 42nd Street


2) Songs in the Key of Yi: Reflections – Marcus Yi is having a midlife crisis so he wrote a song cycle. No its not a musical about Marcus’s life. But Marcus did write the songs. The show has organ donation, sexy attorneys, nudists, stalkers, and diva sopranos.

Music directed by Sobina Chi; Singers: by Viet Vo, Marissa Parness, Jacob Presley, Karin Kawamoto, Rebecca Kostell, Christian Dan Luu, Mandarin Wu, Andy Danh, Sommer Carbuccia, Jeane Reveedran, Mariel Reyes, Angelita Esperanza, Jee Liao, DeAnna Choi, and Shubhra Prakash.

Saturday, July 21, 9:30 PM
The Duplex Piano Bar and Cabaret Theater, 61 Christopher Stree


3) 24 City 《二十四城记》– In an enormous factory building that is being converted into luxury apartments, three generations of workers give testimony about communal life in what was once a state-owned munitions factory. In this hybrid “fictional documentary,” witnesses’ stories and memories are relayed by a potent blend of amateurs and well-known actors, adding compelling layers of artifice to the process of remembering.

Dir. Jia Zhangke
2009, China, 112 min.

Wednesday, July 25, 7 PM


4) Chinese Speculative Fiction: Su Wei and Austin Woerner – Join the Asian American Writers’ Workshop for a special event with acclaimed Chinese novelist Su Wei and his translator Austin Woerner, who will read and present The Invisible Valley, a work of speculative fiction about the Chinese Cultural Revolution and an epic experiment in creative co-translation that has been ten years in the making. A rollicking adventure story set in the jungles of far southern China during the 1970s, The Invisible Valley follows a young man whose friendship with a family of migrant woodcutters plunges him into a strange world of magic, mysticism, and giant snakes. Su and Woerner tell the story of their unlikely friendship, their unique approach to translation, the literary legacy of the “Down to the Countryside” movement, and Su’s dramatic life story.

In Chinese and English.

Wednesday, July 25, 7 PM
Asian American Writers’ Workshop, 112 W 27th St #600


5) Qin & Tonic Mixer – At this month’s Qin & Tonic mixer, China Institute explains the Qixi festival, aka Chinese Valentine’s Day, and the New York Guqin School will provide live music. Come to mingle with old and new friends who share an interest in all things China. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided.

Thursday, July 25, 6 PM
China Institute


1) Asian American International Film Festival – Since 1978 the Asian American International Film Festival, produced by Asian CineVision, is the nation’s first and longest running festival of its kind and the premier showcase for the best Asian independent and Asian American cinema. AAIFF is committed to film and media as a tool for social change and to the support of diversity and inclusion in independent cinema and the Asian American media arts.

The 41st annual festival will take place in New York City from July 25 to August 4th, 2018. Screenings will be held at Cinema Village East (181-189 2nd Avenue) and Asia Society (725 Park Avenue).

This year’s festival opens with Aneesh Chaganthy’s Searching, starring John Cho and closes with Ulam: Main Dish which celebrates Filipino culture and cuisine, long considered an underdog of Asian cuisines.  The festival’s two centerpiece films are Chinese language films. Dead Pigs, the debut film of Cathy Yan, (recently tapped to be the first Asian woman to helm a US superhero film, is a dark comedy that asks “who must answer the question of what the individual should do in a country relentless marching away from its past and toward progress”.  Th is joined by Late Life: The Chien-Ming Wang Story, a biopic about the rise and fall of Taiwanese baseball player who was once cherished as the “Pride of Taiwan” for his stint with the New York Yankees.

In addition to numerous feature-length films, a rich variety of shorts programs provide a platform for emerging filmmakers.

Our calendar lists the feature films and shorts programs by Chinese and Chinese American filmmakers.


2) Hao Bang-Ah, Dog! – “Hao Bang Ah” is a common Chinese expression meaning “Great!” or “Well done!” This year, Chinese Theatre Works brings to the Bronx Zoo a celebration of the Year of the Dog with a jolly selection of traditional Chinese “budaixi” glove-puppet vignettes that based on popular songs and well-known Chinese sayings celebrating canine wisdom, courage and loyalty.

Audiences will be introduced to traditional Chinese New Year customs and foods (red envelopes, fish and “nian gao”). They will also meet some of other animals of the Chinese zodiac (Tigers, Rabbits, Roosters, Horses, Sheep and Monkeys.) Sing-alongs, games, and a post-show hands-on demonstration will make the Chinese language and cultural experience accessible to even the youngest audience member

Weekends at the Bronx Zoo – July 21, 22, 28, 29, August 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, and 19.  Performances at 12:30 PM and 2 PM


Group Shows, Local Artists, and Other Art Events:

Chen Dongfan was selected by the NYC Department of Transportation and the Chinatown Partnership to create a 4,800 square foot mural on the surface of Doyers Street in Chinatown.  The work The Song of Dragon and Flowers, presented with support from ArtBridge and Fou Gallery, is full of color and design.  From the press release:

The asphalt art mural seeks to highlight the historical significance of Doyers Street and the history of Asian American immigration to the United States of America.

According to the artist, ”Chinatown’s history is full of hardship, but also full of love. Doyers Street is located in Chinatown, intersecting with Pell Street at its very end, as if a flying dragon is winding its way up and resting at the intersection of the two streets. I was inspired by the immigrant experience and how they perceive this neighborhood as home. I am eager to use my brush to tell the story of the past, the current, and the future of Chinatown.”

Watch Chen create the work during the day from 7/13 to 7/27.  Opening reception will be 8/1, and the work will be up through November.

Wai Ying Zhao curated the group show Placing Memory which questions architecture and collective memory in urban environments. The works respond to the altered urban landscape and offers the viewers to travel between the non-place and the place that no longer exists.  At the The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center, June 29 – July 28


Opening and Newly Listed:

1) Huiqi He: The Mysterious Island (Sleepcenter, 7/20 – 7/26, by appointment) – The Mysterious Island features artist Huiqi He’s new video artworks that investigate the disciplinary power of space on the docile human body. A home where the subject-object relation complicates, a set of urban architecture designed to manipulate collective behavior, a digital “space of flows” that imposes optimal paths of navigation—each space, whether private, public, or virtual, is a machinery that explores and rearranges the body that enters it. As modern technology continues to intensify the alienation among human beings, the process of navigating new systems of order in everyday life is like a series of survival game on a strange island. Should one strive to reclaim the sovereignty of one’s body in such treacherous spaces?

Opening reception: Friday, July 20, 5:30 – 8:30 PM


2) WangLing Chou: High Trash (Gallery 456, 7/13 – 7/27) – Artist statement: In this show, most of the forms are press-molded from plastic waste including cake boxes and soft drink bottles. The purpose is to give trash a rebirth through the artistic process. While the usefulness and function of the mass-produced product has ceased, its form has been transformed into a more permanent vessel with individual character.

Many of the pieces are cast from crushed trash. Other forms are created, crushed, and finally rebuilt. The process is intended to show the real fate of trash while also being a metaphor for life. In these pieces, I am questioning how we see misfortune in life. Human beings are often afraid of failure and being crushed; however, damage and pain can sometimes create character. Through the creation process, I remind myself again and again, “It is OK to throw the form on the ground and rebuild it.”

Concerning the images, I mimic traditional Chinese flower-animal paintings using a graphic novel style. The chicken images in my works are from the paintings of Qi Bai-Shi (1864-1957). His vivid animal images have a sense of childlike naïveté that strongly resonates with me. The animal imagery on the surface is not only naturally philozoic (love of animals), but it is also a vehicle to express wisdom that is intuitive as well as communication that transcends human language.

The title of the exhibition, High Trash, reflects the paradox of the intermingling of opposites in my work: Classical Chinese painting vs. graphic novel imagery; mass-produced commercial design vs. one-of-a-kind, hand-made ceramic vessels. In short, with these works, trash is no longer trash, and what was once low has now been raised up.

The End x 3, Earthenware, H: 6 in.


3) Liu Chang: The Light of Small Things (Fou Gallery, 7/14 – 9/23) –  Liu’s latest series “The Flow of Nature”, which displays archival prints, temperature-and-humidity-sensitive prints on paper, and computer-generated animation series based on the 24 Solar Terms (二十四节气). The exhibition also features an audiovisual installation Cabinets: Chinese Medicine created by Liu Chang, in collaboration with visual artist Miao Jing, and musician Jason Hou; as well as three artist books recently made by Liu Chang.

Read the full press release for further information.

Liu Chang – ‘Cabinets: Chinese Medicine’


4) Summer Group Show (Boers-Li Gallery, 7/6 – 8/4) – Group show with Liao Guohe, Ou Jin, Tie Ying, Xing Danwen, Xue Feng, Ye Linghan, and Zhang Peili. Works on view will include new paintings by Liao Guohe, Ou Jin, Xue Feng, and Ye Linghan, Xing Danwen’s Urban Fiction (2006), as well as Zhang Peili’s historical installation piece, One Thousandth of One Second to One Second (1995).


5) Dingding Hu – Hu is Hungry: An Illustrated Journey of a Starving Artist (Pearl River Mart Gallery, 7/19 – 9/9) – Pearl River Mart Gallery Artist-in-residence Dingding Hu is a New York-based illustrator who specializes in documenting daily life in a simple yet modern digital style punctuated with humor and surprise. HU IS HUNGRY explores her journey around the world through food, from sizzling hotpot in her hometown of Sichuan, to juicy xiao long bao in her college town of Shanghai, to “charming” bagels in her adopted home of New York.


6) Mel Chin – Wake and Unmoored (Times Square, 7/11 – 9/5) – Wake, commissioned by Times Square Arts, is a 24-foot-tall installation that evokes the hull of a shipwreck crossed with the skeletal remains of a marine mammal. The structure is linked with a carved, 21-foot tall animatronic female sculpture, accurately derived from a figurehead of the opera star Jenny Lind, that was once mounted on the 19th Century clipper ship, the USS Nightingale.

The artwork calls forth both the city’s triumphs and the complicated layers of its past. New York City has become a center of trade, commerce, finance, entertainment, and tourism, but also has a complex history that included the shipping (by the USS Nightingale, among others) of guns and slaves, that augmented this burgeoning city’s economy. The expanding past economies are prologue to our current environmental dilemma.

The physical presence of Wake serves as an entry point into Unmoored, an ambitious 21st Century mixed-reality public art project that is a draw for all ages and backgrounds.

Closing soon:

Outside the Palace of Heavenly Purity (bitforms gallery, 6/7 – 7/22)

Spirited Creatures: Animal Representations in Chinese Silk and Lacquer (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 10/21/17 – 7/22/18)

Huiqi He: The Mysterious Island(Sleepcenter, 7/20 – 7/26, by appointment)

WangLing Chou: High Trash (Gallery 456, 7/13 – 7/27)

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)

Heman Chong & Ken Liu: Legal Books (Shanghai) (Swiss Institute of Contemporary Art New York, 6/23 – 8/19)

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.

Outside the Palace of Heavenly Purity (bitforms gallery, 6/7 – 7/22)

Spirited Creatures: Animal Representations in Chinese Silk and Lacquer (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 10/21/17 – 7/22/18)

Huiqi He: The Mysterious Island (Sleepcenter, 7/20 – 7/26, by appointment)

WangLing Chou: High Trash (Gallery 456, 7/13 – 7/27)

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)

Heman Chong & Ken Liu: Legal Books (Shanghai) (Swiss Institute of Contemporary Art New York, 6/23 – 8/19)

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)

Dingding Hu – Hu is Hungry: An Illustrated Journey of a Starving Artist (Pearl River Mart Gallery, 7/19 – 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)

Liu Chang: The Light of Small Things (Fou Gallery, 7/14 – 9/23)

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: Mural in Manhattan’s Chinatown done in a classic vintage Teich company style makes the storied immigrant community part of Americana.  Photo by Andrew Shiue