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Art Salon: The Culture of Contemporary Chinese Art
Intimate discussions with artists, curators, critics and art historians about contemporary Chinese art from the perspective of social and political contexts, the relationship between contemporary Chinese and Western culture, and the bridge between traditional and contemporary Chinese art. Past Art Salons are available on DVD in both English and Mandarin.

Art Salon

Line: From Brush to Rope
with Ross Lewis

Years of studying Chinese culture have led artist Ross Lewis to develop a distinct visual language by incorporating aesthetic and philosophical sensibilities of Chinese artistic traditions into a new context. In his recent “Rope Paintings,” the artist departs from his training in Chinese brush painting to forge a new artistic expression using rope and string saturated with ink and juxtaposed with collage. This art underscores the creativity that derives from cross-cultural influences.

Ross Lewis is an artist, curator, and arts educator from New York. Concurrent with his practice as a painter, his installation work includes temporary and permanent commissions in the US and abroad including Parallel Motion, a 96′ long mural in Battery Park City, Dancing in Pink Snow, a mixed-media installation in a 19th century horse stable in Berlin, and Urban Intersections, an 80′ by 24′ high wall mural comprised of 500,000 pieces of glass and ceramic tile at PS 307 in Queens. His “Rope Paintings” will be exhibited this May in Shanghai.

Tuesday, April 22 ~ 6:30 – 8:30 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

For questions or to register by phone, please contact Eva Wen at (212) 744-8181, ext. 121 or by email at

For more information on classes, programs and events, please call 212-744-8181.

Hao Sheng, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Hao Sheng, Wu Tung Curator of Chinese Art at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, will speak about the highly anticipated exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Fresh Ink: Ten Takes on Chinese Tradition, a landmark exhibition in which 10 leading contemporary Chinese artists, including the painter Arnold Chang, will show works recently created in direct response to masterpieces in the Museum’s world-renowned collection. Opening on November 20 in the MFA’s new Ann and Graham Gund Gallery, the exhibition will juxtapose these new works with the masterpieces that inspired them, creating a dynamic stage on which the classic will historicize the contemporary as the new reinterprets the old. Monumental landscapes, imaginative portraits, and dramatic installations will be showcased in a wide range of formats.

Thursday, December 16 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Feng Mengbo

In anticipation of the New York debut of his Long March: Restart at MoMA PS1 (on view December 12, 2010–April 4, 2011), Beijing-based Feng Mengbo will speak about his long-time engagement with digital technology and China’s youth culture.

Feng’s Long March is a large-scale interactive video game installation in reference to the 1934 retreat of the Red Army led by Mao and other Communist leaders. Its central character is a small Red Army soldier sweeping his way across China, wiping out ghosts, demons, and deities, much in the vein of Mario wiping out Koopa Troopas on his way to rescue Princess Toadstool in the iconic videogame Super Mario Brothers. One thing that makes Long March: Restart so special is that instead of sitting in front of a typical television monitor, you, the gamer, are instead dwarfed by an enormous screen, approximately 80 by 20 feet. Your avatar (the small Red Army soldier) and the pixels around him are magnified tenfold and projected behind you on a second enormous screen, the sparkling pixels a fitting homage to the enormously popular (but graphically simple) 1980s side-scrolling video games. A second element that makes the work so unique is, in Mengbo’s own words, the artist’s ‘original intention in designing the installation, which lies in the continued use of the audience’s, i.e. the gamers’, way of motion as the chief measuring mechanism…I wanted to enable the character to move freely along the stretched scroll. Because of the vast space of the exhibition hall and the intentionally designed pace of the character, the gamer and the audience would have to dash to catch up with the character. (MoMA)

This installment of the Art Salon series is jointly hosted by Chambers Fine Art, where Feng Mengbo’s recent exhibition,Yi Bi Te was on view from September 16 to November 5. For more information, please see

Tuesday, December 7 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Arnold Chang and Michael Cherney

Painter Arnold Chang and photographer Michael Cherney are two artists renowned for contemporary work with a strong foundation in tradition. Though both artists work almost exclusively in the Chinese milieu, their art as well as their backgrounds prevent them from being easily categorized in the world of Chinese art. Cherney’s lens and Chang’s brush have recently come together to take this transcendence of categorization even further by creating collaborative works that merge photography with the traditional Chinese painting aesthetics in a manner respectful to both media. They will discuss their groundbreaking collaboration, along with their most recent individual works, to inaugurate a new year of Art Salon programs on contemporary Chinese arts.

Tuesday, October 19 ~ 6:30~8 PM SOLD OUT
$10 member / $15 non-member

A Dialogue with Music Producer Dave Liang & Album Release Celebration for
Little Dragon Tales: Chinese Children’s Songs

Little Dragon Tales is a collection of 12 classic Chinese Children’s songs with a modern twist. Join us for an exclusive release event at the China Institute where producer Dave Liang will go behind the scenes of the project and explore the backgrounds of the various songs. The multimedia presentation will include both audio and visual material featuring the kids of the Yip’s Canada Children’s Choir and a special appearance by Shanghainese jazz singer Le Zhang.

Join us for a light reception to celebrate the release of this exciting album following the talk and performance. The Shanghai Restoration Project will generously donate all proceeds to support future public programs in Arts & Culture.

Dave Liang ( is the Emmy winning creator and producer of The Shanghai Restoration Project, a musical group that blends traditional Chinese instrumentation and culture with hip-hop and electronica. His music has reached #1 on several electronic charts around the world and can often be heard in global advertising campaigns, television shows, and tastemaker radio programs. The group has received coverage in The New York Times, NPR’s All Things Considered, BBC World Service, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Wall Street Journal.

Thursday, December 1 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$8 member / $10 non-member

The Little Dragon Tales CDs can be purchased exclusively through China Institute until November 28 and on site, please visit

Holiday Concert

An Evening of Chinese Folk Songs

Chinese song has a long continuum going back centuries. It has evolved from simple folk tunes to the present day art song. The performance interprets the connection between the traditional folk song and the modern Chinese art song that still translates the love of music by the Chinese people.

Soprano, Hsuan Ma, began piano studies at the age of four and voices studies at age twelve. Ms. Ma has earned a B.F.A in Music Performance and Music Education from National Taiwan Normal University and received the Master of Music at New York University. She has participated in several international competitions and has performed in recitals and as a soloist throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. Recently, she performed as a vocal soloist in the play Kid Shamrock at Atlantic Theater. Ms. Ma is currently a piano instructor and vocal coach.

Tuesday, December 13 ~ 7 – 8:30 PM
$15 member / $20 non-member

A Conversation with David Henry Hwang, playwright of Chinglish (Tony award winner for M. Butterfly, 1988)

Chinglish now comes to Broadway!

In this sexy and romantic play, performed in both English and Mandarin (with English subtitles), an American businessman arrives in a bustling Chinese province looking to score a lucrative contact for his family’s sign-making firm. He soon finds that the complexities of such a venture far outstrip the expected differences in language, customs and manners—and calls into question even the most basic assumptions of human conduct.

“A lethal comedy about business, sex and the failure to communicate that bristles with intelligence.” Bloomberg

“Shrewd, timely and razor sharp comedy!” Chicago Sun-Times

“Four Stars! The Chinese tiger roars, American business trembles.” Chicago Tribune

“A triumph in any language. Chinglish is sexy, fun and hilarious!” New York Magazine

“Splendidly savvy and entertaining! It’s like the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon of American theatre.” Variety

Monday, November 28 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member


Huang Ruo on his New Operatic Work: Sun Yat-sen

Selected by New York City Opera’s Vox: Contemporary American Opera Lab, Sun Yat-sen is a grand opera in three acts about Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, the founding father of modern China. More than just a work on the revolutionary movement itself, the opera also deals with the personal journeys and sacrifices that Dr. Sun and his compatriots had to make in their efforts to reach their goals for nationhood. Commissioned by Opera Hong Kong and the LCSD, this three-hour work was developed by composer Huang Ruo and librettist Candace Chong in both English and Mandarin.

Acclaimed composer Huang Ruo was awarded First Place by the prestigious Luxembourg International Composition Prize in 2008 and has been cited by the New Yorker as “one of the most intriguing of the new crop of Asian-American composers.”

Thursday, November 17 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Blend of Contemporary Chinese Art & Western Aesthetic: ‘2 to Three Dimension’ Art Show by Yuan Xikun

The exhibition features twenty-five artworks created by renowned artist Yuan Xikun and range from contemporary painting to sculpture.

The event will feature an interactive art show and discussions with the artist, critics, curators, and art professionals with the aim to redefine the role of art in shaping urban experiences and exploring the role of contemporary art in the public enviroment.

Co-hosted by Beijing Yiyuan Cultural and Art Promotion Association & E.G.G. Strategic Alliance & China Institute

*Held at CUE Art Foundation, 511 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10001

Monday, November 7 ~ 6 – 8:30 PM

A Dialogue of Choreographers: Wang Yuanyuan Interviewed by Michael Mao

Join us for an intimate dialogue with acclaimed Chinese choreographer Wang Yuanyuan (Raise the Red Lantern, 2005 Next Wave) as we discuss the highly anticipated U.S. Premiere of HAZE at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM),October19–22.

The birth of Beijing Dance Theater in December 2008 created the first contemporary ballet troupe in China and a bright new star in the constellation of dance organizations in the capital. Under the artistic direction of Wang Yuanyuan, one of the most sought after choreographers in contemporary dance in China, the young company boasts 19 dancers all trained in ballet-the first such fusion of ballet and modern dance among Chinese companies. The company’s rich repertoire plays on its strengths in ballet, bringing together traditional elements of Chinese culture and dance with ballet and a modern edge. Through performance, visiting artist programs, and educational outreach, Beijing Dance Theater aims both to lead the cultivation of dance and the arts in China, and to bring a glimpse of the creative visions of modern China to the world stage.

Michael Mao is a leading Chinese-American choreographer and founder of Michael Mao Dance, a critically acclaimed New York based modern dance company with an international corps of accomplished dancers.


The No Names Group

Please join us for a rare opportunity to meet three of the artists of the No Names Group to discuss their works in the exhibition. Presentation and discussion will be conducted in Mandarin and translated into English.

Tuesday, September 20 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Asian Contemporary Art Week 2011
Dialogues in Asian Contemporary Art

Art Salon: Xiaoze Xie

A realist painter by vocation, early in his career Xiaoze Xie found a way to combine his interest in aspects of Chinese history and current world events with more formal concerns by focusing on the materials stored in archives and library stacks as the subject matter of his paintings. Xie found a rich source of materials ranging from monochromatic bindings and pages from traditional Chinese books to color photographs found in most contemporary newspapers. His Chinese Library Series, which began in 1995, is not time-specific in its references. The decaying volumes and manuscripts in the three paintings in the series refer in generic terms to China’s complicated history—to traditions that are on the point of disappearing before the onslaught of modernity that is characteristic of China today. In contrast, the newspaper paintings are polychromatic and specific in their references to current events. The local and national newspapers that have appeared in his paintings were selected primarily for visual interest and offer an unofficial history of the last decade with references ranging from September 11, 2001 and the war in Iraq to the Beijing Olympics and the Sichuan earthquake. Unlike many of his contemporaries who left China in the 1980s and early 1990s and have subsequently returned, Xie stayed in the United States where he has had a distinguished professional career. In 2009 he became the Paul L. & Phyllis Wattis Professor in Art at Stanford University.

Xie will be interviewed by Professor Robert Hobbs, Rhoda Thalhimer Endowed Chair of the Department of Art History at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a leading specialist in American art.

This installment of the Art Salon series is jointly hosted by Chambers Fine Art and is in collaboration with Stanford University’s Department of Art & Art History.

Tuesday, March 29 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Women, Arts, and Activism: Asian Women in US and Abroad Making Changes through Art

In conjunction with ACAW 2011(Asian Contemporary Art Week), join us for China Institute’s first Art Salon symposium to inaugurate our collaboration with the Asian Women Giving Circle and Ethan Cohen Fine Arts.

This special symposium will focus on arts and activism by contemporary Asian women artists in the US and their native countries.

Panelists are Karin Chien (Chinese American film maker and 2010 Piaget Producers Award winner, Film Independent Spirit Awards), Chang-Jin Lee (Korean-born conceptual artist known for her work Comfort Women Wanted), and Amita Swadhin (South Asian media artist and co-creator of the award-winning theater project Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors). Joan Lebold Cohen, a noted art historian and photographer who specializes in Chinese art and film, will moderate the panel discussions.

Symposium will follow a light reception.

Wednesday, March 30 ~ 5:30 – 8:30 PM
$30 member / $35 non-member

For more information on Asian Contemporary Art Week 2011, please visit

Wang Qingsong

In collaboration with the International Center of Photography (ICP) for its highly anticipated solo exhibition, “Wang Qingsong: When Worlds Collide,” China Institute is hosting a discussion with the artist, who will be interviewed by curator of the exhibition and renowned critic, Christopher Phillips.

Since turning from painting to photography in the late 1990s, Beijing-based artist Wang Qingsong has created compelling works that convey an ironic vision of 21st-century China’s encounter with global consumer culture. Working in the manner of a motion-picture director, he conceives elaborate scenarios involving dozens of models that are staged on film studio sets. The resulting color photographs employ knowing references to classic Chinese artworks to throw an unexpected light on today’s China, emphasizing its new material wealth, its uninhibited embrace of commercial values, and the social tensions arising from the massive influx of migrant workers to its cities. In Wang Qingsong’s works, the artist’s deep-seated attachment to his country mixes with frequent dismay at its boom-era excesses. He recoils from what he calls the “superficial splendor” of today’s Chinese nouveau-riche taste, yet he also insists, “I like Chinese civilization. It offers an enormous space for imagination. Things take one form today, and then change to another form tomorrow.”

“Wang Qingsong: When Worlds Collide” will be on view from January 21 to May 8, and will feature a dozen large-scale photographs and three video works. It is the most extensive U.S. showing to date of the work of this leading Chinese artist.

Christopher Phillips has been a curator at the International Center of Photography since 2000, after serving for ten years as senior editor at Art in America magazine. In 2004, he and Wu Hung of the University of Chicago organized the first major U.S. exhibition of Chinese contemporary photography, “Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China.” Since that time he has curated the ICP exhibitions “Atta Kim: On-Air” (2006) and “Heavy Light: Recent Photography and Video from Japan” (2008). He has also served as a member of the curatorial team that organized the 2003, 2006, and 2009 installments of the ICP Triennial of Contemporary Photography and Video.

Friday, January 21 ~ 6–8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Experience the sacred all over New York City at the Asian American Arts Alliance’s

September 12-23, 2012 | NYC

Two years in the making, the Locating the Sacred Festival, a project of the Asian American Arts Alliance,
has brought together hundreds of artists, arts workers and cultural activists to create twenty-five
events in churches, museums, cultural centers, botanical gardens and theaters across all five boroughs of
New York City, exploring the meaning of the word “sacred” and its relevance in their communities.

From an inflatable Buddha on the East River to a flash mob in Washington Square Park, the festival showcases
Asian American artists as agents of change, demonstrating the power of art to unleash imagination and break down
barriers. Festival Producing Partners include New York University, the Rubin Museum of Art, Queens Botanical Gardens, Poetry Society of America, Church Center for the United Nations and several others. In the wake of the shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and as the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 approaches, New Yorkers are reminded that opportunities for greater cultural understanding are never more important. The Asian American
community is the fastest growing cultural group in New York, now 13% of the population (one million people), with heritages spanning the Middle East to the Pacific Islands. The festival aims to provide a platform for all New Yorkers to engage deeply with each other on questions of fundamental values and to be inspired to imagine moving towards together as a society.

The festival opens at 8pm on Wednesday, 12 September 2012, at the magnificent Church of the Ascension in Greenwich Village with an innovative program of music exploring the intersection of sound and soul. It features Korean American sound artist Bora Yoon and the South Asian Sufi devotional musicians of Riyaaz Qawwali from Texas. The event begins with a blessing led by Burmese Buddhist monks who led the 2007 “Saffron Revolution.”

Find out more about Festival events and interactive initiatives at

Art Salon

Contemporary Chinese Art and the Art Market
Nixi Cura, Course Director, Arts of China, Christie’s Education London

In the 1990s, curators, scholars, and gallerists began to take serious notice of contemporary art from China, resulting in several seminal traveling exhibitions and increased participation at major contemporary art fairs and biennials. Firmly ensconced in the international circuit, Chinese artists signed up with prestigious dealers to secure regular exhibitions abroad. In Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai, new galleries introduced Western-style contract-based representation to artists fresh from the art academies, while foreign expatriates circumvented the system, dealing directly with the artists to amass their own collections. In 2001, the successful bid for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing further raised the profile of Chinese artists, with the foreign media eager to push China beyond the business pages.

During this first decade of the 21st century, the involvement of auction houses has propelled contemporary Chinese artists—and their prices—sky-high. Works by Zhang Xiaogang and Yue Minjun continually break records. In addition, the auction houses have expanded the potential client base for contemporary Chinese art. Formerly limited to specialist galleries, it is now marketed alongside giants of contemporary art in the West, as well as the emerging markets of India, South and Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Since the recent global economic meltdown, the outlook for contemporary art looks less rosy, with sales of Chinese art down significantly from as early as May. This moment of contraction in the market offers an opportunity to take stock of artistic trends, collecting practices, and the relative value of contemporary Chinese art.

Nixi Cura’s current research interests include art of the Qing Dynasty, especially during the Qianlong reign (1736–1795), collecting and antiquarian practices during the Republican and Manchukuo periods, and contemporary Chinese visual culture. She has published a cultural biography of the Admonitions scroll during the Qianlong reign and is currently working on an edited volume entitled Lost Generation: Luo Zhenyu, Qing Loyalists, and the Formation of Modern Chinese Culture. Ms. Cura serves as Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow and is a co-founder of the Arts of China Consortium.

Tuesday, March 27 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$10 member / $15 non-member

Ink in Contemporary Art: China and Beyond

Recent exhibitions of ink art suggest a resurgence in the role of ink as an active agent in the development of contemporary Chinese art. While acknowledging China as a site of copious production and a long and active tradition, this informal panel will also explore the energetic engagements with ink in Japan and the United States from the mid-20th century to the present day.

Panelists will include Maxwell K. Hearn, Douglas Dillon Curator in Charge of the Department of Asian Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mark Johnson, Professor of Art, San Francisco State University, and Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator of Asian Art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, moderated by Jane DeBevoise, Chair of Asia Art Archive, and introduced by John Rajchman, Professor of Art History at Columbia University.

Co-presented with Asia Art Archive and Columbia University.

Seating is limited, pre-registration required.

Wednesday, April 17 ~ 4:30 – 6 PM

A Conversation with Artists Lam Tung-pang and Arnold Chang
Moderated by Jane DeBevoise, Chair of Asia Art Archive

Hong Kong-based artist Lam Tung-pang and New York-born artist Arnold Chang will present their work and talk about connections and disruptions in contemporary Chinese landscape painting and their personal art practice.

Arnold Chang (Zhang Hong) studied traditional Chinese ink painting and connoisseurship in New York with C.C. Wang, and art history with James Cahill at the University of California, Berkeley. His works have been widely exhibited throughout the United States, as well as in Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, Hong Kong, and at the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao. Chang is the author of the book Painting in the People’s Republic of China: the Politics of Style (1981) as well as numerous exhibition catalogues and articles on Chinese painting.

Lam Tung-pang studied Fine Art at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and received an MA in 2004 from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. Currently living in Hong Kong, Tung-pang works in many media – oil, acrylic, charcoal and pencil, as well as with found objects and plywood — to produce paintings and installations which engage the Chinese landscape tradition as well as ideas of memory, history and society. He has won numerous awards and is now traveling in the U.S. on an Asian Cultural Council fellowship.


Co-presented by Asia Art Archive in America
Seating is limited, pre-registration required.

Wednesday, March 20 ~ 7 – 8 PM

Asia Week 2014: Open House at China Institute Gallery

Enjoy an intimate evening of dialogue with curators and artists, exploring our current exhibition, Inspired by Dunhuang: Re-creation in Contemporary Chinese Art. Light refreshments will be served.

Tuesday, March 18 ~ 6:00 – 8:00 PM
This event is free of charge and open to the public

To register for this event, please contact Jennifer Lima at or 212-744-8181, ext. 146.