NYC Events and Exhibitions: January 29 – February 4, 2016

Qi Baishi – Monkey Longevity Peach

You really should head out to Queens Museum this weekend!  First, for Casey Tang’s video work in which comments on industrial pasts and future development with American ghost hunters and scenes of a modern China.  Secondofly, Jerome Silbergeld, Eugenie Tsai, and Lilly Wei participate in a panel as part of the release of the catalog for Zhang Hongtu’s amazing retrospective at the museum.  Both artists will be at the museum to take you on a walkthrough of their works.

Other things this week: a concert that will redefine your perception Chinese traditional instruments; the opening of a show that looks at Chinatowns of the Western US; an introduction to the Chinese harp; a talk about the Chinese almanac; New Year couplets; and the official opening of Dream of Red Pavilions.

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

We add talks, films, performances, performances, exhibitions, featuring or relating to Chinese, Taiwanese, diasporic artists and topics to our event and ongoing exhibition calendars as we learn of them.

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

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.

This week’s events

1) Looking for Gold Mountain Opening Reception – Opening for a new show that looks at remnants of Chinatowns in the American West.  See below for more information.

Friday, January 29, 6 PM
Gallery 456, 456 Broadway


2) The Blade 《刀》– Tsui Hark’s (徐克) classic wushu film. After the master of the Sharp Manufacturer saber factory abdicates and appoints On, his least popular worker, as his successor, On, unwilling to lead his surly colleagues, embarks on a quest of revenge to kill the evil, flying, tattooed kung fu master who killed his father.

Saturday, January 30 12:05 AM
Sunday,  January 31, 12:05 AM
Nitehawk Cinema, 136 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn


3) Kong Hou: The Chinese Harp – Often referred to as the Chinese harp, Konghou is an ancient instrument with a history tracing back to several hundred years B.C., and is a precious artifact in the cultural treasury of traditional Chinese music. The Renwen Society presents a lecture and performance by Ms. Lucina Yue, a world-renowned Konghou performer.  She will discuss the history and development of Konghou, its techniques and its role in the contemporary music.

Saturday, January 30, 2 PM
China Institute, 100 Washington Street
Free, but registration required


4) Decoding the Year of the Monkey with the Chinese Almanac – What does the Year of the Monkey hold in store? Joanna C. Lee and Ken Smith (co-authors of the Pocket Chinese Almanac) return to decode the almanac’s predictions for 2016 and share a range of New Year’s traditions that bring positive energy into the household. Each participant will receive a free copy of the Pocket Chinese Almanac.

Saturday, January 30, 2:30 PM
Museum Of Chinese In America, 215 Centre Street
$20/Adults; $18/Students; $8/MOCA members


5) 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.

Saturday, January 30, 2 PM (rescheduled from January 24)
Queens Museum
Free (with suggested museum donation)


6) Zhang Hongtu: Expanding Visions of a Shrinking World Book Launch and Panel Discussion – Book launch for Zhang Hongtu: Expanding Visions of a Shrinking World, a collection of essays, edited by Zhang Hongtu exhibition guest curator Luchia Meihua Lee, from twelve leading art experts, art historians, and critics who have reviewed the life, career, and artistic development of New York based Chinese artist Zhang Hongtu.  Jerome Silbergeld, Eugenie Tsai, and Lilly Wei will also take part in a panel discussion.

Saturday, January 30, 3 PM
Queens Museum
Free (with suggested museum donation)


7) NYCOS Chunlian Couplets – If you just haven’t found the perfect Chinese New Year decoration from Chinatown, maybe swing by the New York Chinese Opera Society’s calligraphy class when they’ll be writing chunlian couplets. Learn about the tradition and maybe have one done to make sure your Year of the Monkey starts off right.

Sunday, January 31, 1 PM
NYCOS Office, 120 Broadway, Suite 3650


8) The Charm Concert at Carnegie Hall –  Yunzhuo Gan, Dong Liu, Jiaju Shen, Feifei Yang, Mengyan Yu, and Li Zong redefine the possibilities of the erhu, guzheng, pipa, and yangqin through original contemporary arrangements with piano, woodwind instruments, and string ensembles.  Read our introduction here.

Monday, February 1, 7 PM
Carnegie Hall
Tickets begin at $30

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 and IFC Center


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 and IFC Center


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) Chung Sum (Fanky) Chak (翟松森) – Looking for Gold Mountain (456 Gallery, 1/29 – 2/26) Chak presents documentary photographs of remnants of Chinatowns in the American West.  The early Chinese immigrants in the late 1860’s provided cheap “coolie” laborers to build railroads. This influx of immigration continued rapidly until the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed in 1882. The act prevented the naturalization of these workers, and prevented further immigration, including family, to the U.S., causing the Chinese population to decline 40% from the 1890’s to 1920’s. In the population decline, many Chinese moved from their community Chinatowns to the larger metropolitan to avoid discrimination. Since the Chinese settlements were always located in the valuable downtown areas, urban gentrification also led the smaller Chinatowns to decline. After the Chinese were driven out, some of these areas were lucky enough to become prime neighborhoods, such as San Jose, Denver and SLC while others were abandoned as ghost towns. Since 2013, I have driven twelve thousands miles throughout the eight western states to photograph more than 30 historical sites. I noticed most of these locations are small neighborhoods only covering 2-3 blocks, but they share two similarities– they have very little remaining traces from the early Chinese immigrants, and they all look ordinary.

Closing soon:

Cui Fei (崔斐) – The Journey of Transformation (West 10th Window, 12/18/15 – 1/29/16)

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)

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 – 1/29/16)

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)

Chung Sum (Fanky) Chak (翟松森) – Looking for Gold Mountain (456 Gallery, 1/29 – 2/26)

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: Qi Baishi, Monkey with Longevity Peach 《吉猴献寿》