Creative China Festival

About Creative China Festival

Supported by the Chinese Ministry of Culture as part of the“China-US Social and Cultural Dialogue”framework, the Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation (BCAF) launches the very first Creative China Festival (CCF) this autumn with a specially curated program of events in New York, Boston, and Los Angeles. Across three cities, six sections of exploring art and culture through cultural forums, film series, design exhibitions, art residency and public art exhibitions, live music performances, and a guest city program, more than 10 collaborating institutions, over100 participants and 50 events, CCF explores the cultural innovation and establishes a crossroad meeting point between China and the United States, the East and West, the classical and novel, as well as the institutional and grass roots. 

From September to January, 2018, the Festival offers an array of exciting events to be presented in collaboration with more than 10 globally recognized cultural institutions, such as Asia Contemporary Art Week, Brattle Theatre, Chambers Fine Art, China Institute, Columbia University, Metrograph, Modern Sky USA, New Museum’s NEW INC, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York University, School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, and Special Special. Events take place at major landmarks such as Central Park, the Grand Central Terminal, Library of Congress, Mana Contemporary, Skylight Clarkson Square, and UN Headquarters.

CCF aims to share significant cultural aspects of Chinese contemporary art and culture with American audiences. This annual event brings together a combination of acclaimed and emerging artists, designers, film directors, and intellectuals highlighting the identities and creative forces in modern-day China, including SONG Dong, YU Fan, Zuoxiao Zuzhou, CAI Shangjun, CAO Baoping, CHENG Er, DIAO Yi’nan, XIN Yukun, GUO Hongwei, HE Wei, LU Yang, LI Jun, Angel CHEN, Min WU, Hiuman CHAU, A Si, Edison CHEN, HHH, MA Di, Re-TROS, and many more.

Each year CCF will introduce a guest city to American audiences in an ongoing effort to promote cross-cultural exchange and awareness. This year, the Festival is proud to announce Nanjing as the first edition’s guest city. As the ancient capital of six dynasties, Nanjing brings its modern culture, tradition, and charm to New York through Nanjing Week, an outstanding cultural platform that is part of the wider CCF program.

“The Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation is honored to partner with such prestigious collaborating institutions from China and the United States to present the first Creative China Festival and to share our values of freedom, energy, curiosity and discovery to the world. In alignment with our innovative global work in recent years, the Festival is to support the new generation of Chinese creative forces and enhance the long-term collaboration of cultural institutions between China and the U.S. In the complex and diverse world that we live in, it is important to learn how to observe, think, and retain our ideas and values, learn and understand from other cultures, and contribute positively to society. The Creative China Festival aims to encourage and continue such thought processes with our global counterparts,” says CUI Qiao, President of Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation.

CCF 2017 presents a program of diversity, exploration, and insight through six important sections with new exhibitions, thought-provoking discussion platforms, innovative fashion concepts, and artistic engagement. The series of dynamic events continue to enhance the strength of Chinese influence and prowess to the world in the areas of fine, performing, and visual arts.


China is characterized today by vibrant development and change. This is true of the economy, and no less true in the arts, culture, and social innovation. New things emerge every day, soon become a phenomenon, and then either turn into a solid stand or vanish in the overloaded information world.

The China-US Cultural Forums Series focus on three areas—cultural collaboration, social innovation, cultural and creative dialogue. The Cultural Forums intend to showcase China’s fluidity—always a work in progress, always a mixture of wisdom and chaos, never finished, never perfect. We look forward to having a real conversation with our American counterparts, and embracing the dialogue.

In collaboration with Center of China and Globalization Think Tank, JD Foundation, Tencent, Tenyun Think Tank, China Institute, Asia Contemporary Art Week, NYU, The DO School, New York Foundation for the Arts, China House, the forums invite industry leaders who have made great contribution in the fields along with change-makers who are exploring the new routes, to share their thoughts and practices.


New Noir: The Chinese Crime Films

In Mainland China, crime depicted on screen is an admission to the existence of discontent in the people’s paradise. Recently, however, a new generation of up-and-coming auteurs, working independently, have been revamping the tropes of the Chinese spy film to address the country’s violence, with films that portray drifting killers, frustrated police, and lethal beauties, all enmeshed in a web of vice and desire. Beginning with the US premiere of The Conformist, with director Cai Shangjun and writer Gu Xiaobai in person, New Noir: The Chinese Crime Films program is pleased to introduce a sampling of these hard-hitting fugitive films, little seen outside of the festival circuit, which taken together signal the appearance of a Mainland school of noir.

Screening Address and Hours

Metrograph, New York

- September 20 — September 24, 2017
- 7 Ludlow Street, New York City
Please check for detailed info and film schedule.

Filmmaker Talk with Cai Shangjun

- September 21, 6:30-9:30pm

- New York University

- 19 University Place, Ground Floor, Room 102, New York, NY 10003

Please check for detailed info and film schedule.

Brattle Theatre, Boston

- November 12 — November 15

- 40 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA

Please check for ticketing info and film schedule.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco

-February 1 — February 25, 2018

-701 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Please check for detailed info and film schedule.


CCF 2017 collaborates with Asia Contemporary Art Week (ACAW) which runs from October 5 to 26, the curatorial and educational platform in New York, to present renowned Chinese artists SONG Dong, YU Fan, and emerging artist LI Jun in ACAW’s signature program “THINKING PROJECTS” curated by ACAW Director Leeza Ahmady. It is a series of pop-up exhibitions dedicated to examining process-oriented artistic endeavors which audiences are welcome to experience.

In September, sculptor YU Fan takes on a one-month residency at the School of Museum of Fine Arts in Boston at Tufts, culminating with a presentation of new sculptural works hosted at ACAW Consortium Partner Sundaram Tagore Gallery in New York from October 12 to November 4.

On October 15, Mana Contemporary hosts SONG Dong’s large-scale public engaged project Eating the City where visitors are invited and encouraged to consume SONG’s miniature model city made from cookies, biscuits and candies. The performance has been presented in Antwerp, Barcelona, Brasilia, London, Paris, and Shanghai. At the same venue LI Jun’s community conscious Zi Jie at East Lake (2010- 2015) addresses issues of urbanization and gentrification in China. This exhibition is on view through December 15.

Additional Programs

He Wei: The Aerial

The Aerial is an participatory installation by HE Wei, comprised of hundreds of delicate uncanny ‘creatures,’ in each of which a feathered ‘head’ is connected to three pointy ‘legs’ at the bottom via a long slim ‘neck.’ The work is inspired by the visual of the incense burner from Han Dynasty in ancient China, which usually features a paradise where animals of various kinds reside and frolic. Taking place at Chambers Fine Art where artist Yang Jiechang’s exhibition, The Whip, is on view, the work also transforms Yang’s layers of ink on xuan paper into a three-dimensional space, bearing a visual metaphor for a floating square of ink. Guests are encouraged to use the bottom of each ‘creature’ as a fork and play with it while mingling with each other in a breezy atmosphere. As guests wield these ‘creatures,’ their body movements that come along—dip and whip, indicate the action in Chinese painting and calligraphy.

The Aerial is presented as part of the after party of 2017 Asia Contemporary Art Week. Supported by The Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation (BCAF), the project is one of the programs in the Foundation’s Creative China Festival in 2017.


Guo Hongwei: The Pre-existent Painting 

As part of Asia Contemporary Art Week (ACAW) 2017 signature program: THINKING PROJECTS—pop-up exhibition series focusing on research-based artistic endeavors curated by ACAW director Leeza Ahmady, The Pre-existent Painting by Guo Hongwei converts the gallery into a natural history laboratory with three components. The first comprises of 80 to 100 new small watercolors rendered through relentless observation and conceptual deductions of numerous natural mineral samples. Guo has described the project as “a structural study of the manner in which painting systems connect with different patterns in the growth of minerals.”

The second section, “Natural Artificial Painting”, consists of waste from industrial painting processes that grow organically through the accumulation of dust and other materials.  Although formed by chance, these fragments bear a striking resemblance to paintings created in the studio. In contrast, the third group of works consists of paintings on shells and pieces of coral that follow the organic structure.  The three sections provide a fascinating insight into Guo’s practice as a painter both in oil and watercolor. Guo’s experimentations are juxtaposed with a series of drawings about India made in 1990’s by New York based artist Judy Blum-Reddy, exploring acts of tracing, archiving and ultimately processes of collecting that are evident in both artists’ practices.


Design exhibitions present a coterie of young Chinese designers including Lu Yang, Angel Chen, Min Wu, and Hiuman Chau. Emerging as the new generation of the internationally-influenced Chinese artists, their work celebrates the true spirit of playfulness, freedom, and self-expression, exemplified by their bold uses of color and prints, emphasis on technology, and their reflections on cultural confluences.

In collaboration with Special Special, an independent art gallery/shop located in the East Village, CCF 2017 organizes a pop-up exhibition by edgy contemporary designer and artist LU Yang. The exhibition represents a collection of garments and latest video art, showcasing a modern Asian outlook on urban chic and visual aesthetics. Stimulated by a medley of boundary-pushing multimedia works that explore neuroscience, mortality and religion, LU’s work tends to invoke a“shock and awe”reaction.

LU’s work was featured in the China Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale. Her pieces balance intense color, body parts, and Asian motifs. Her fearless fashion design offers a sophisticated look at Asian subculture, and are based on Lu Yang’s concept of“art with no boundaries.”

Designers Angel Chen, Min Wu, and Hiuman Chau participate in the Modern Sky Festival which takes place in both New York City and Los Angeles in September, collaborating with the participating music groups by creating unique clothing for them and presenting their show videos on the LED screen on stage.


The Modern Sky Festival 2017

Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation collaborates with the Modern Sky Festival to bring artistic elements into the music festival. In addition to the participation of fashion designers, legendary rock musician and contemporary artist Zuoxiao Zuzhou presents a series of his paintings titled “Wrong Version” which blends together his oil paintings, acrylic graffiti, and his album cover design. Zuoxiao’s work along with the designers’ fashion videos will be exhibited on the LED screen during the festival, taking the stage as their canvases.

After three years in New York City and a decade of festivals in China, Modern Sky brings its signature festival to New York on September 30 and to LA for the first time on September 23. A full day of music and festivities takes place at Santa Anita Park, California and features Beijing-based singer-songwriter sensation Ma Di, folk songstress A Si, seminal Beijing post-punkers Re-TROS, hip-hop crew HHH, Korean indie sensations Hyukoh, and Californian music bands The Molochs and Cotillon.

Now in its fourth year, the Modern Sky Festival NYC returns to Central Park on September 30, with headline acts including Hong Kong music and film icon Edison Chen, indie-pop songwriter A Si, Re-TROS, HHH, and additional Modern Sky USA Records singers Calvin Love and Brian Hill.

New York
Date: September 30, 2017

Address: Rumsey Playfield, Central Park NYC

Los Angeles

Date: September 23, 2017

Address: Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA


CCF 2017’s guest city, Nanjing is showcased through a series of activities over seven days. Organized by the Nanjing Municipal Committee and the Nanjing Municipal Government, it aims at promoting Chinese culture internationally and highlighting the importance of Nanjing. Nanjing Week was launched at the Milan Expo in 2015 and was presented at the London Design Festival in 2016. Now it moves to New York to continue introducing Chinese culture to international audiences. Coinciding with the iconic New York Fashion Week, Nanjing Week features a special program including an opening ceremony, couture runway shows, musical performances, design tours, and travel inspirations. Highlights of the program include a “Future City”seminar“, The Taste of Nanjing”culinary event, International Forum series, and various exhibitions, showrooms and performances highlighting the modern culture, tradition, and flavors of Nanjing.


i. Opening Ceremony: Hello, New York

 "Splendid Nanjing" Opening Exhibition

Date: September 4-8, 2017

Venue: F1, United Nations Headquarters Building


Nanjing City Promotion Conference

Date: September 7, 2017

Venue: F4, United Nations Headquarters Building


"Nanjing Taste" Tasting Party

Date: September 7, 2017

Venue: The Diplomat Canteen of the United Nations Headquarters


Cultural Hall

Date: September 8-11, 2017

Venue: Grand Central Station


Nanjing Face : "One City Ten Faces" Images Show


Nanjing ShowroomVR Show of Nanjing Landscape


Nanjing culture and "Women Influence"


Nanjing characteristic culture show


ii. International Forum

Memory, Narrative and Place-based Design: Workshop & Exhibition

Date: September 13, 2017

Venue: New Museum


"Golden Phoenix Tree" Nanjing· New York Cultural Creativity Summit Forum

Date: September 8, 2017

Venue: Columbia University


Sino-US "Ancient Book Repair" International Workshop

 Date: September 8, 2017

Venue: Columbia University


New York · Nanjing Creative Design Forum

Date: September 9, 2017

Venue: ECCO Design


iii. The Fashionable Orient


Fashion Crossing -- "Qinhuai River" theme fashion Show

Date: Septemper 11, 2017  

Venue: Skylight Clarkson square


iv. Dream plan


2017 "Nanjing Week Dream Plan" Selected Project

Date: September 7-13, 2017

Collaborator: Nanjing Creative Design Center


"Go to Nanjing Together" VR Interactive Bicycle Riding

Date: September 8-11, 2017

Venue: Grand Central Station


The Magical Journey of Yong Dong: Intangible Cultural Heritage Multimedia Performance

Date: September 7, 2017

Venue: F4, United Nations Headquarters Building