NYC Events and Exhibitions: January 22 – January 28, 2016


This week: previews for A Dream of Red Pavilions begin; a hands on workshop about memories and the physical body; two local artists talk about their exhibitions at Queens Museum, a book release talk about Suzhou (see below for details of our ticket giveaway), China’s most picturesque cities; a discussion about the future of Taiwan; the founder of Lucky Rice shares her experiences sharing Asian food culture; Mike Tyson fights Donnie Yen; and more…

New exhibition listings this week include shows by local artists Cui Fei, Wei Xiaoguang, Pixy Yijun Liao and video works by Zhou Tao.

The first “Storm of the Century” of the year is headed towards NYC this weekend, but most events shouldn’t be affected.     Stay warm and stay safe if you do head out in snowy weather.

Coming up:

2/1 – Six local accomplished Chinese musicians  – Yunzhuo Gan, Dong Liu, Jiaju Shen, Feifei Yang, Mengyan Yu, and Li Zong– take the stage at Carnegie Hall to redefine the possibilities of the traditional Chinese Erhu, Guzheng, Pipa, and Yangqin instruments through original contemporary arrangements with the piano, woodwind instruments, and string ensembles that fuse classical Chinese ideals with the upbeat spirits of international culture.

We’ll have a list of NYC Lunar New Year events for you soon.

If you’re interested in contributing to Beyond Chinatown, whether writing an article, contributing photos, letting us know about an event, send an email to

We add listings to our event and ongoing exhibition calendars as we learn of them.

Subscribe to our newsletter from the right side of the screen.  In addition to articles we’ve written, we’ll include links that we’ve posted on our Facebook page.

Update: Scope architectural design exhibition added.

This week’s events

1) Wei Xiaoguang – Humble Opening Reception – In his first solo exhibition in the United States of his paintings, Wei Xiaoguang mines pop culture, art history, and commercial advertising for his source material to create paintings with a photographic clarity and realism that belies their complex layers of visual and conceptual contradictions.  See more below.

Friday, January 22, 7 PM
Fresh Window, 56 Bogart Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn


2) BodyMemory Clinic & Art Talk – BodyMemory Clinic is a periodically held pop-up shop delivered by Beijing artist and independent designer Zhou Yi where people make their own body parts into personalized accessories, under the belief that the body itself is capable of storing memories. This January, “Doctor” Zhou Yi will be setting up her clinic at China Institute, bringing this playful artistic workshop to New York. Ten participants will have the chance to have a model cast made of their finger and get a 1:1 finger sculpture.

While conducting the clinic, Zhou Yi will speak to the audience about the young art-design scene in Beijing.

Saturday, January 23, 1 PM
China Institute, 100 Washington Street
Free/Members; $5/Non-members


3) Scope Opening Reception – Young Taiwanese architectural designers are featured in this exhibition.

Sunday, January 24, 1 PM
Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office, 1 42nd Street
Free, but registration required


4) Double Trouble: Zhang Hongtu and Casey Tang – Join artists Zhang Hongtu and Casey Tang for a walkthrough of two exhibitions on view at the Queens Museum — Zhang Hongtu and Catalyst: New Projects by Meredith James, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, and Casey Tang. The conversation will be moderated by Hitomi Iwasaki, Curator at the Queens Museum.

Sunday, January 24, 3 PM
Queens Museum
Free (with suggested museum donation)


5) ShapeShifter Plus Presents Annie Chen Septet with Rafal Sarnecki Sextet Double Bill Concert – In Annie Chen’s first concert of 2016, she plays two sets, one with her septet and another with the Rafal Sarnecki Sextet.

Monday, January 25, 8:15 PM and 9:30 PM
ShapeShifter Lab, 18 Whitell Place, Brooklyn
$12/General admission


6) Beautiful Su: A Social and Cultural History of Suzhou, China with Stephen Koss – For most of the last millennium, Suzhou, China was widely regarded as a “paradise on Earth” by the citizens of imperial China. Replete with natural beauty, magnificent gardens, and a rich history to match, Suzhou has captivated the attention of poets, scholars, statesmen, and travelers from afar since the earliest days of Chinese history. For a dozen centuries, Suzhou was a center of wealth, beauty, intellectual achievement, culture, fashion, and commerce. It was the imperial empire’s Paris, with a touch of Florence’s artistic flourish, Venice’s canal-laced charm, Heidelberg’s academic achievement, and Amsterdam’s commercial dynamism.

In this monumental new book, author Stephen L. Koss paints a vivid picture of just how important Suzhou is to the Chinese nation, its people, and its collective ethos. From its rise as a major cultural and trading center, Koss guides the reader on a journey through more than 2,500 years of Chinese history. He traces the city’s fascinating story from its founding in 514 BCE to its present-day rebirth as a center of hi-tech, pharmaceutical, and textile manufacturing characterized by explosive urban expansion, a fast-growing middle class, and modernization tempered by historical and cultural preservation. The book is rich in local historical and cultural content, thoughtfully framed by national historical context and filled with anecdotes and mini-biographies chosen to engage the interest of a general readership audience. Beautiful Su will stand for decades as one of the definitive statements on one of the world’s greatest cities.

We’re giving away two tickets to this talk.  Email with the subject line “Suzhou” by 11:59 PM Sunday to enter our drawing.  We’ll notify the winner by noon Monday.

Tuesday, January 26, 6:30 PM
China Institute, 6:30 PM
$10/Non-members; $5/Members


7) Shen Wei: Dance Strokes — A Preview –  Visual artist, dancer, and choreographer Shen Wei incorporates color, design, and imaginative use of space into his large-scale, theatrical paintings suggestive of Chinese landscape traditions. Join a discussion with this internationally renowned artist and Alexandra Munroe, Guggenheim curator and curatorial advisor for Shen Wei: Dance Strokes, a site-specific installation of paintings and performances that will be on view at Asia Society Hong Kong in April.

Tuesday, January 26, 7 PM
Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue
Free, but registration required


8) The Taiwan Vote: A New Direction? – Orville Schell moderates a discussion with Yu-Jie Chen, Jerome Cohen, and Douglas Paal about the effect of the election of Democratic Progressive Party candidate Tsai Ing-wen on Taiwan, cross-strait ties, and US policy.

Wednesday, January 27, 6:30 PM (Live webcast available at
Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue
$20/N0n-members; $15/Students and seniors; $12/Members


9) Marriage and Cohabitation in Contemporary China – Yu Xie, Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center on Contemporary China in PIIRS, Princeton University discusses current social trends.  Moderated by Yao Lu, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Columbia University.

Thursday, January 28, 4 PM
International Affairs Building, Room 918, Columbia Univeristy


10) MOCAEATS Lucky Rice: Stories and Recipes from Night Markets, Feasts, and Family Tables – “Asian cuisine has never been more relevant than it is today.” From enduring comfort foods to new classics. LUCKYRICE culinary festival founder Danielle Chang shares stories, techniques, and recipes from her debut cookbook, Lucky Rice: Stories and Recipes from Night Markets, Feasts, and Family Tables.  Followed by book signing.

Thursday, January 28, 6:30 PM
Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre Street
$10/Adults; $5/Students and seniors; Free/Members

Ongoing Films and Shows

1) A Dream of Red Pavilions – Pan Asian Repertory Theatre presents Jeremy Tiang’s English-language adaptation of Cao Xueqin’s classic Chinese novel in a theater production directed by Tisa Chang and Lu Yu.  Interested in making this notoriously complex work accessible to both newcomers to Chinese literature and those familiar with it, Tiang worked directly from the Chinese text rather than an existing translation, focuses on the work’s central love story and theme of decline, and presents an impression of aristocratic life in 18th century China.

Red Pavillion

Photo by Michael Blase

January 23 – February 14.  Opens January 28.
Clurman Theatre, 412 West 42nd Street
$66.25/Regular; Discounts available for seniors, students, military personnel and veterans, theater industry members, and on Tuesdays.


2) Bodymemory: Stories – Formed in Beijing and featured throughout Asia, designer and artist Yi Zhou brings the BodyMemory project to Wallplay Shop at 312 Bowery. BodyMemory explores the relationship we have with our bodies through beautifully casted wearable accessories, such as finger necklaces and nose broaches, as well as selected items from a variety of other designers featured at this year’s Bejing Design Week. The BodyMemory: Stories concept shop will showcase selected stories behind the collection, while providing an on-site service in clinic fashion for personally-casted body jewelry.

The concept behind the clinic revolves around the subjects’ “stories” of each BodyMemory patient, and the casted body parts that are transformed into wearable accessories. In pursuing the project, Yi realized that the stories behind why her subjects chose a specific body part for casting, were as interesting as the resulting accessories produced. “A friend told me you can tell a lot about a woman’s vagina by the shape of her lips.” – A young woman who chose to cast her lips for Yi’s BodyMemory collection. Having collected numerous personal stories, Yi will display the most insightful ones, casting a revealing light on how we internalize body image and understanding through a social lense. She will also be presenting her latest work, which is composed of body casts from people living in New York who she encountered during her artist-in-residency at Flux Factory.

January 26 – 31
Wallplay Shop, 312 Bowery


3) IP Man 3 《叶问3》– Donnie Yen ignites the screen in a return to the role that made him an icon – as Ip Man, the real-life Wing Chun grandmaster who mentored Bruce Lee. In this explosive third installment of the blockbuster martial arts series, when a band of brutal gangsters led by a crooked property developer (Mike Tyson) make a play to take over the city, Master Ip is forced to take a stand. Fists will fly as some of the most incredible fight scenes ever filmed play out on the big screen in this soon-to-be genre classic.

Reviews from The Hollywood Reporter and A.V. Club

At AMC Empire 25

4) Detective Chinatown 《唐人街探案》– “A budding Chinese Sherlock Holmes meets his dumbass Watson in Bangkok and solves a locked-room murder in singer-actor-director Chen Sicheng’s “Detective Chinatown,” a carefully constructed mystery that blends screechy comedy and crazed action in high-spirited but somewhat ungainly fashion. This eclectic genre mash-up reps quite a novelty in mainland Chinese commercial cinema, and its instant success points to further opportunities for cerebral, plot-driven concepts to be injected into crowdpleasing hits.” –Variety (read the full review)

At AMC Empire 25


5) Mr. Six 《老炮儿》– “In this unusually fight-skittish action-movie scenario, Chinese director Feng Xiaogang plays a reformed criminal struck by how much the codes of behavior have changed when his son is kidnapped.” (full review by Variety)

At AMC Empire 25


6) Mojin – The Lost Legend 《鬼吹灯之寻龙诀》– Based on a #1 best-selling novel in China, the film evokes Indiana Jones, The Mummy and National Treasure as it brings to the screen an epic fantasy adventure about a trio of legendary grave robbers, the Mojin, who are enjoying the retired civilian life hawking goods on the mean streets of New York City, until they are propositioned by a shadowy and mysterious client. They accept the job and return to their roots, raiding the secrets and treasures of ancient tombs in China under the guise of an archaeology study. As each hidden passage is unearthed, it triggers extraordinary challenges that put their friendship, loyalty and life to the ultimate test.

The New York Times thinks the film wastes the talents of Shu Qi who plays the titular role in The Assassin and The Sydney Morning Herald compares the cinematography to Peter Jackson’s  The Lord of the Rings trilogy but finds it disjointed overall.

At AMC Empire 25


5) The Assassin 《刺客聶隱娘》 

Hou Hsiao-Hsien
2015 | 105 minutes | Taiwan/China/Hong Kong
Mandarin with English subtitles

A wuxia like no other, The Assassin is set in the waning years of the Tang Dynasty when provincial rulers are challenging the power of the royal court. Nie Yinniang (Shu Qi), who was exiled as a child so that her betrothed could make a more politically advantageous match, has been trained as an assassin for hire. Her mission is to destroy her former fiancé (Chang Chen). But worry not about the plot, which is as old as the jagged mountains and deep forests that bear witness to the cycles of power and as elusive as the mists that surround them. Hou Hsiao-hsien’s art is in the telling. The film is immersive and ephemeral, sensuous and spare, and as gloriously beautiful in its candle-lit sumptuous red and gold decor as Hou’s 1998 masterpiece, Flowers of Shanghai. As for the fight scenes, they’re over almost before you realize they’ve happened, but they will stay in your mind’s eye forever.

Best Director, Cannes Film Festival

Official selection: New York Film Festival

At Film Society Lincoln Center.

Current Exhibitions

Just added and opening:

1) Wei Xiaoguang – Humble (Fresh Window, 1/22 – 2/21) – In his first solo exhibition in the United States of his paintings, Wei Xiaoguang mines pop culture, art history, and commercial advertising for his source material to create paintings with a photographic clarity and realism that belies their complex layers of visual and conceptual contradictions. Often blending multiple perspectives and scales and emphasizing surface, texture and the effects of light, Wei’s compositions function as meditations on the interplay of illusion, representation and reality, an interplay that is the very essence of painting itself. Through a process that begins by constructing a digital collage of images of notable art historians and philosophers, commercial logos, Internet memes and expressionistic brushstrokes, which he then renders in paint, Wei creates crisp, beguiling canvases that brim with allusion and reference yet yield only a labyrinth of illogical juxtapositions and indeterminate meanings.

Wei’s pseudo-realist approach reflects the influence of his time as a student at the prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing, China, where he studied socialist realist painting techniques from 2006-2010. While at CAFA, Wei was exposed to the Western art historical canon by way of the pedagogical exercise of copying reproductions of masterworks found in books and catalogues—reproductions in which the nuance of texture, depth and tonal contrast of the original paintings was often lost in translation. Wei’s process of learning from reproductions that did not adhere to the authenticity of the original—a process in which the mediated copy shaped his aesthetic understanding more than the original—was a lesson that helped to establish the conceptual framework for his approach to painting and formed his enduring interest in the contingent and constructed layers of reality and representation.


2) Cui Fei (崔斐) – The Journey of Transformation (West 10th Window, 12/18/15 – 1/19/16) – The storefront space exhibits the artist’s repurposed natural materials designed to represent the disconnect between Western desire to control nature and Chinese philosophy of man’s oneness with nature.


3) Catalyst (Queens Museum, 10/3/15 – 2/28/16) –  This group show that sheds light on personal and cultural forces—perception, record-keeping, vernacular belief—that drive the formation of individual and collective narratives includes Casey Tang’s Untitled (Rivers) in which he freely engages diverse disciplines including ecology and musicology in his exploration of socio-cultural narratives within and outside of Western worldviews. Through geographic and historic investigation of human experiences and material cultures, Tang re-contextualizes cultural systems in his multi-disciplinary practice that includes video, sound, and graphics and sculptural installation. 


4) The Real Thing (Flowers Gallery, 1/28 – 2/27) – As part of this group exhibition of four female photographers, Pixy Yijun Liao presents Experimental Relationship which navigates the dynamics of power within partnerships between men and women. As a woman brought up in China, Liao describes the perception of an ideal male partner as being older and more mature, playing an authoritative role of protector and mentor. Since meeting her current partner, Moro, who is five years younger, Liao has begun to experiment with alternative possibilities, interweaving a fictional narrative in a series of constructed self-portraits. Photographed within domestic or pastoral scenes, the couple are often locked in embrace with the male body unclothed. The artist uses her body to grip, shield, or brace the male figure, accentuating the shifting balance of their relationship.


5) The Eccentrics (Sculpture Center, 1/24 – 4/4) – Zhou Tao videos that combine the clashes between corporate aesthetics, public space, industry, and political agency as seen in protests and social spaces, which often result in unintended spectacles are part of this group show that explore the significance of special effects created through analog methods.


6) Scope (Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in New York, 1/24 – 2/7) – Scope is an instrument for observation. The function of scope existed, therefore the scientist made humanity evolved. There are also scopes for architects. The scope in architects’ mind are there, thus the world is ever improving. Hence, we redefine scope as an imagination evoking medium. This show exhibits 29 projects designed by 29 young architectural professionals from Taiwan.

Closing soon:

The Art of Guo Fengyi (郭鳳怡)(Andrew Edlin Gallery, 12/12/15 – 1/31/16)

Wang Fengge (王凤鸽) – Unbounded (无界) (Chambers Fine Art, 1/7 – 2/6)

Visit the exhibition calendar ( for details for the following shows below.  As always, check the museum or gallery’s website for hours of operation.
Cui Fei (崔斐) – The Journey of Transformation (West 10th Window, 12/18/15 – 1/19/16)

The Art of Guo Fengyi (郭鳳怡)(Andrew Edlin Gallery, 12/12/15 – 1/31/16)

Wang Fengge (王凤鸽) – Unbounded (无界) (Chambers Fine Art, 1/7 – 2/6)

Scope (Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in New York, 1/24 – 2/7)

Li Hongbo (李洪波) – Textbooks (教科书) (Klein Sun Gallery, 1/7 – 2/13)

Gao Rong (高蓉) – The Simple Line (棱与韧) (Klein Sun Gallery, 1/7 – 2/13)

Zhu Jinshi (朱金石) Exhibition (Blum & Poe, 1/7 – 2/13)

Martin Wong: Human Instamatic (11/4/15 – 2/14/16)

Wei Xiaoguang – Humble (Fresh Window, 1/22 – 2/21)

The Real Thing (Flowers Gallery, 1/28 – 2/27)

Zhang Hongtu (Queens Museum, 10/18/15 – 2/28/16)

Catalyst (Queens Museum, 10/3/15 – 2/28/16)

SUB URBANISMS: Casino Urbanization, Chinatowns, and the Contested American Landscape (Museum of Chinese in America, 9/24 – 3/27/16)

Chinese Style: Rediscovering the Architecture of Poy Gum Lee, 1923-1968 (Museum of Chinese in America, 9/24/15 – 3/27/16)

The Eccentrics (Sculpture Center, 1/24 – 4/4)

Chinese Textiles Ten Centuries of Masterpieces from the Met Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/15/15 – 6/19/06)

Chinese Lacquer Treasures from the Irving Collection, 12th–18th Century (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/15/15 – 6/19/06)

Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 10/31/15 – 10/11/06)

Lead image: Kuang Yu Lee, Thinker, 2014