NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: June 3 – June 9, 2016


This week: A talk by quirky Norman Rockwell-esque painter Xie Yousu; a reading Zhu Yi’s new dark comedy set in recent times in the backdrop of the New York real estate market; two documentary by Wang Bing; a lecture on Chinese philosophy by a professor whose course on the topic is the third most popular at Harvard University; a salon talk on shadow puppetry; a film about tai-chi was brought to America; a lecture by the curator of MOCA’s current exhibition on the work of stage designer Ming Cho Lee; a new exhibition at Chambers Fine Art; and more…

Coming up:

6/10 and 6/18 – Nanfu Wang’s Hooligan Sparrow, a film about an activist who fought against child sex abuse in Hainan province, and Inside the Chinese Closet, a film about the struggles of the LGBT community and changing attitudes towards LGBT rights in China screen at Human Rights Watch Festival 2016.

6/12 – A salon talk about Chinese contemporary classical music.

6/12 – The trio Ragged Silk, which features Juliane Jones, pipa virtuoso Zhou Yi, and zhongruan virtuoso Yueqin Eugenie Chen, performs at Rockwood Music Hall.

6/16 – 6/30 – MOMA’s series on Taiwanese cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-Bing screens 15 films

7/13 – 7/16 – Paradise Interrupted, a reimagining and fusing the biblical story of Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden and the vivid dream of Du Liniang in The Peony Pavilion

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.  Take a look also at our Instagram page.

If you’re interested in contributing to Beyond Chinatown, whether writing an article, contributing photos or artwork to be featured with our weekly events and exhibitions listing, letting us know about an event, send an email to

This week’s events

1) New York Chinese Cultural Center Spring Celebration! – Program includes an array of traditional Chinese dance by our talented School of the Arts students, an onstage demonstration with audience members, and special performances by Dance China NY. Followed by a Q&A with New York Chinese Cultural Center’s School Director, performers, students, and teachers.

Friday, June 3, 7:30 PM
Flushing Town Hall – 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing
Free, but seating is limited and is on a first come first served basis.


2) Rise of the Legend 《黃飛鴻之英雄有夢》 – Rise of the Legend tackles the origin story of the legendary kung fu folk hero Wong Fei-hung, subject of over 100 film and television series including the Once Upon a Time in China cycle. Fei, a young martial artist with extraordinary power, returns to Guangzhou, China, the town where his father was murdered, to face off against a ruthless crime boss and bring justice back to the people. “This movie’s Guangzhou is a marvel: sprawling, detailed, abounding in narrow alleys and vivid street scenes.” –The New York Times.

Stars Sammo Hung, Eddie Peng, Yuyan, Wang Luodan, Jing Boran, Angelababy.

Dir. Corey Yuen.
2016, 131 mins.
In Mandarin with English subtitles.

Friday, June 3, 7:30 PM
Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Ave, Astoria
$12/Adult; $9/Student and Senior


3) The Kindness Project – The Kindness Project examines the evolution, good or bad, of “kindness” in early 20th century and today’s China.  The piece is loosely based on interviews with people from different generations.  The ensemble uses different devices to explore how the change of kindness affects traditional value, belief system and daily human interactions.

The Kindness Project is created during Chongren’s residency at Mabou Mines’ 2015-2016 Resident Artist Program.  This program is made possible through generous funding by the Jerome Foundation and with public funds from the City of New York, Department of Cultural Affairs and Materials for the Arts.

Friday, June 3, 8:30 PM
Flamboyan Theater, Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, 107 Suffolk Street
Free, but RSVP requested


4) Joyful Remembrance of Lives in Old Suzhou: Unique Paintings of Xie Yousu –  Born and based in Suzhou, Xie Yousu (谢友苏) distinguishes himself as an artist specializing in painting lives of ordinary people in old Suzhou.  For him, seemingly ordinary and trivial activities in life best serve as ideal subjects of fine arts.  The poignancy and humor with which he paints his people carrying on with their lives – whether as recreation or profession – are nothing short of memorable.

At his lecture, Xie will present some of his most fascinating paintings and share with the attendees how he created these precious works.

Xie Yousu - 'An Annoying Fly', 60 x 70 cm. From

Xie Yousu – ‘An Annoying Fly’, 60 x 70 cm. From Wan Fung Art Gallery

Saturday, June 4, 2 PM
China Institute in America, 100 Washington Street
Free, but RSVP requested


5) Zane Kuo (郭季彥) Solo Photography Exhibition Lecture – See below for description of Kuo’s exhibiton.

Saturday, June 4, 2 PM
Hwang Gallery, Suite 303, 39-10 Main Street, Flushing


6) Music From China Youth Orchestra – Music Rainbow IX – The 25-member Music From China Youth Orchestra conducted by Wang Guowei performs Music Rainbow IX concert at Drew University. Founded in 2004 to provide a platform for young people to be involved in Chinese cultural heritage, the orchestra has blossomed into a vibrant performing ensemble presenting Chinese classical and folk inspired arrangements played on traditional instruments. The orchestra’s newest concert is a panorama of regional music, from horses galloping across the Mongolian steppes, dancing to the beat of long drums of the Yao ethnic minority in Yunnan, to the soulful music of a blind street musician in the city of Wuxi in southern China.

Saturday, June 4, 4 PM
The Concert Hall at Drew University, The Dorothy Young Center for the Arts, 36 Madison Ave., Madison, NJ
$10 suggested donation


7) A Lecture of Chinese Calligraphy  – 阮先生出生於四川重慶,成長於臺灣臺北。主修哲學。六歲由嚴父啟蒙臨摹魏碑,唐楷,及長習行書。由趙松雪入門,上溯二王,並涉及六朝碑刻與篆隸。留學定居紐約後,得緣追隨當代書學大師張隆延教授,研習金石,銘文,漢隸,北朝刻石,並輔以中西藝術理論探討。長年鉆研古今書家著作與法書,境界日益開闊,書藝亦不斷更上層樓,廣受當代藝文界名家稱許。擅長行書,行草及北魏碑。


德臣治書數十寒暑矣,精勤日進,卓然成家。一劃或細若遊絲,隨情 委婉;或步雲千裏,所向無前;一點或若高山墜石,聲聞巖壑;筆力入木,氣勢淩霄。近作錄古人辭賦,輒數千言,舉凡提按之虛實,使轉之疾徐,無窮變化,各適 其宜。觀德臣傑作巨制,神光離合,乍陰乍陽,引此以為贊,其庶幾乎。

Sunday, June 5, 1:30 PM
New York Chinese Opera Society, 120 Broadway


8) The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life with Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh – Why is a course on ancient Chinese philosophers one of the most popular at Harvard?  It’s because the course challenges all our modern assumptions about what it takes to flourish.  As Professor Michael Puett says to his students, “The encounter with these ideas will change your life.”

Chinese philosophical thinking is among the most powerful and influential in human history – and its ideas challenge many of the widely held assumptions Westerners have about the self and how to lead a flourishing life.  Michael Puett and journalist Christine Gross-Loh will discuss their book The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life.

Read our coverage here and enter our ticket giveaway.

Tuesday, June 7, 6:30 PM
China Institute in America, 100 Washington St.


9) A Deal, a New Play Reading – A reading of playwright Zhu Yi’s (Holy Crab!, I Am a Moon) dark comedy about an upper middle class Chinese family’s home buying journey in New York during a time of increased real estate ownership by overseas Chinese and a sharp decline in the value of the RMB against the US dollar.  It reveals the ideological conflicts between the East and the West in contemporary society by tracking a little stream of the global cash flow.

Tuesday, June 7, 9 PM
Ensemble Studio Theatre, 549 W 52nd St.


10) On Failure – A special event on ruminating on failure and celebrating the new book by Hua Hsu, A Floating Chinaman: Fantasy and Failure across the Pacific. The book takes its title from a lost manuscript by H. T. Tsiang, an oddball early Chinese immigrant experimental writer whose dismal literary career led him to self-publish his own visionary novels.  We’ll start the event with short talks on failure by Jon Caramanica of the New York Times, former Das Racist member Ashok Kondabolu, novelist Kiese Laymon, Jezebel Culture Editor Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, music journalist Dave Tompkins, and Buzzfeed Fellow Esther Wang.

Wednesday, June 8, 6 PM
Asian American Writers’ Workshop, 110 W. 27th Street, Suite 600
$5 suggested donation


11) Three Sisters 《三姐妹》– One of the most recognized Chinese independent filmmaker, Wang Bing has demonstrated a penchant for making unsually long and yet unfailingly captivating and critical documentaries (e.g. West of the Tracks, Crude Oil, Man with No Name). In Three Sisters, a work of pure direct cinema, Wang’s camera follows the lives of Yingying (age 10), Zhenzhen (age 6), and Fenfen (age 4) in a rural village in Western China. Abandoned by their mother, the three young sisters live in extreme poverty and squalor alone as their father find work in a nearby city. With the patience like that of an ethnographer and the keen eyes of a seasoned artist for finding beauty and dignity even in the most destitute places, Wang Bing delivers a nuanced portrait of the poor and powerless in rural China as well as a harsh critique of the post-90s economic policies that left them behind.

Dir. Wang Bing, 2012
China, 153 min
In Chinese with English subtitles

Wednesday, June 8, 7 PM
Spectacle Theater, 124 S. 3rd St., Brooklyn
$5/General Admission


12) Bringing Imaginary Worlds to Life – Join Barbara Cohen-Stratyner, the curator of MOCA’s current exhibition, Stage Design by Ming Cho Lee, and the Judy R. and Alfred A. Rosenberg Curator of Exhibitions at the New York Public Library for the performing Arts for an in-depth look at Ming Cho Lee’s stage designs and the artistic vision behind them.

Thursday, June 9, 6:30 PM
Museum Of Chinese In America, 215 Centre Street
$12/Adult; $8/Student and Senior (museum admission included)


13) Literati Painting: China’s Unique Art Form, Part 1 – A classical Chinese poem is a rich tapestry woven with the poet’s observations of Nature and the myriad allusions to the lives and events of others.  Artists of classical Chinese literature and fine art seem incapable of separating themselves from Nature, a special characteristic that is clearly manifested in the poetic and artistic metaphors in their compositions.  In no other literary and artistic form is this phenomenon more evident than in China’s Literati Painting, unique to the Chinese culture, yet universal in how it can be relished by all those interested in beauty and art.

In this 3-part lecture series Ben Wang, Senior Lecturer of Language and Humanities of China Institute and an award-winning translator, will delve into this incredible art form, from its birth in the Song dynasty, to its blossoming during the Ming, and continued resonance into the 20th century.  The relationship between classical Chinese poetry, music, painting and major schools of thought will be explored, with comparative points of interest made between Chinese and English poetry.

Thursday, June 9, 6:30 PM
China Institute in America, 100 Washington Street
$25/Member; $30/Non-Member; Entire series: $60/Member; $75/Non-member


14) The Professor: Tai Chi’s Journey West –  A documentary that tells the story of Tai Chi through one of its greatest masters, Cheng Man-ching, a man who brought Tai Chi and Chinese culture to the West during the swinging, turbulent 60s.  Though Cheng is considered an important transformational figure, his teachings have been largely overlooked.  This documentary is a fascinating corrective, surveying his remarkable life and delving into Tai Chi as both a martial art and a spiritual practice.

Dir. Barry Strugatz. 2016, 72 mins. DCP.

With director Barry Strugatz and cinematographer Ken Van Sickle in person

Thursday, June 9, 7 PM
Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Ave, Astoria
$15/General Admission

15) Crossing Paths with Arts Salon Series: Shadow Theater – This salon talk will examine the complex interplay between traditional and contemporary theater practice.  How does an ancient art medium adopt to changing technology and cultural landscapes?  Featured guests and contributors include prominent scholars, performers and practictioners:

Jo Hemphrey (Yueh Lung Shadow Theater/Gold Mountain Institute)
Stephen Kaplin (Chinese Theatre Works, Great Small Works)
Stefano Brancato
*Dr. John Bell (Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, Great Small Works)
*Dr. Fan Pen Chen (SUNY – Albany)
*Anne Katsura-Rollins (Concordia University)

*Contributing or participating via Skype

Ongoing Films and Shows

1) The Final Master 《 師父》 – From the screenwriter of Wong Kar-Wai’s The Grandmaster, this film tells the story of “traveling master Chen (Liao Fan), a stern, composed man from the south of China, arrives in northern martial arts hub Tianjin with the mission of passing down his beloved Wing Chun style of butterfly-sword fighting — which he fears will be lost to history — by founding a school.  The local grandmaster Zheng (Jin Shi-Jye) informs him that to do so, Chen will have to fight and defeat representatives from eight rival academies. And even that’s not a guarantee, since such an incredible feat would be enough of a blot on Tianjin’s reputation that the victor would have to be defeated and banished, by any means necessary.” – Lost Angeles Times

Opens at AMC Empire 25 June 3.


2) ‘Til Madness Do Us Part  《 疯爱》– This documentary by famed filmmaker Wang Bing (West of the TracksFengming, Three Sisters) – a typically immersive and unflinching achievement – documents the grim daily existence of the inmates of an isolated mental institution in rural Zhaotong, in southwest China’s Yunnan province.  Somehow granted access to this normally carefully hidden world, Wang reveals a group of men, of various ages, backgrounds, and mental states, who are confined to the locked floors of a single building, with seemingly minimal supervision.  The facility’s inmates have been committed for different reasons: perhaps they have a developmental disability; perhaps they committed murder; perhaps they angered local officials.  But once inside, they all share the same life and cramped living quarters, staring at a barren, iron-fenced courtyard and seeking comfort and human warmth wherever they can find it.

‘Til Madness Do Us Part calls to mind Frederick Wiseman’s classic Titticut Follies (1967), but its approach is very much Wang’s own: he takes advantage of the capabilities of digital video to achieve an unprecedented intimacy, and to construct his portrait out of radically long takes, which result in an unusually profound understanding of the texture and rhythms of the inmates’ lives.  The result is a vitally important film that interrogates mental illness and criminality, therapy and incarceration, and the relationship between individuals and society.  ‘Til Madness Do Us Part is at once riveting, terrifying, surprising, and sometimes disarmingly tender – an eye-opening exposé of a particular institution, but also a monumental reflection on human nature.

“An unsparing chronicler of the abused and neglected in his country’s darkest corners, Chinese documentarian Wang Bing pushes his starkly immersive strategies to a grueling yet empathetic extreme.” –Justin Chang, Variety

“A Foucauldian vision, Wang’s documentary lays the patients’ plight and vulnerabilities bare before the camera.” –Ela Bittencourt, The Brooklyn Rail

“Mundane activities such as dressing and undressing oneself, lighting a cigarette, and lying beneath a blanket with another inmate come to seem like peoples’ declarations of their own humanity. […] In chronicling individual, present-day lives, Wang gives a sense of his country’s recent history.” –Aaron Cutler, Cineaste 

Dir. Wang Bing
2013, 228 minutes
In Mandarin & Yunnan dialect with English subtitles

Opens at Anthology Film Archives June 9.

Current Art Exhibitions

In addition to the listings below, three local artists are participating in group shows:

Naomi is part of Rhapsody in Color at Samuel J. Wood Library at Weill Cornell Medical College through 6/10.

Fina Yeung shows her Urban Cages, a mixed media cardboard painting installation about her memory of growing up in a very crowded city, Hong Kong, at Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition’s Wide Open 7 (5/7 – 6/12).

Xiaoshi Vivian Vivian Qin is part of Queens International 2016.  Through 7/31.

Opening and Newly Added:

1) RongRong & inri (荣荣&映里) – Tamari Story 《妻有物语》 (Chambers Fine Art, 6/4 – 8/20) – In 2012 artists RongRong & inri were invited to participate in the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial in Niigata Prefecture, Japan.  This rural area, famous for its long winters and its spectacular snow storms, became the setting for Tsumari Story, in which RongRong, inri and their three sons abandon the urban life-style they were accustomed to in Beijing and respond to the beauty of the changing seasons in Japan. Using a 200 year old house subtly modified by Kurakake Junichi as the setting for the interior scenes, RongRong and inri portray themselves wearing Japanese kimono and convey the intensity of their relationship in carefully staged encounters.  The three boys respond with joy to their new environment, clearly reveling in the unfamiliar pleasures of the Japanese life-style, sleeping on the floor and bathing in the clear waters of onsen (Japanese hot springs).  Venturing outdoors even in the most harshest conditions, the photographers can be seen struggling over snow-drifts and testing how much the human body can endure as their garments fall from their bodies.

Read more in the full press release.

RongRong & inri Tsumari Story No. 7-1 2012 Silver gelatin print Image: 46 3/4 x 58 1/4 in Sheet: 50 x 65 in Edition of 8

RongRong & inri – Tsumari Story No. 7-1, 2012
Silver gelatin print
Image: 46 3/4 x 58 1/4 in
Sheet: 50 x 65 in
Edition of 8

2) Zane Kuo (郭季彥) Solo Photography Exhibition (Hwang Gallery, 6/7 – 6/15)

Let us know of shows that people should know about.

Closing soon:

New Voices: A DSL Collection Story – (Klein Sun Gallery, 5/7 – 6/18)

Xu Lei – New Works (Marlborough Gallery, 5/12 – 6/18)

A Passion for Jade: The Heber Bishop Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/15/15 – 6/19/16)

Chinese Textiles Ten Centuries of Masterpieces from the Met Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/15/15 – 6/19/16)

Chinese Lacquer Treasures from the Irving Collection, 12th–18th Century (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/15/15 – 6/19/16)


Visit the exhibition calendar  for details for the current shows listed below.  As always, check the museum or gallery’s website for hours of operation.

New Voices: A DSL Collection Story – (Klein Sun Gallery, 5/7 – 6/18)

Xu Lei – New Works (Marlborough Gallery, 5/12 – 6/18)

A Passion for Jade: The Heber Bishop Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/15/15 – 6/19/16)

Chinese Textiles Ten Centuries of Masterpieces from the Met Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/15/15 – 6/19/16)

Chinese Lacquer Treasures from the Irving Collection, 12th–18th Century (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/15/15 – 6/19/16)

Zane Kuo (郭季彥) Solo Photography Exhibition (Hwang Gallery, 6/7 – 6/15)

RongRong & inri (荣荣&映里) – Tamari Story 《妻有物语》 (Chambers Fine Art, 6/4 – 8/20)

Cao Fei (MoMA PS1, 4/3 – 8/31)

Stage Design by Ming Cho Lee (Museum of Chinese in America, 4/28 – 9/11)

Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 10/31/15 – 10/11/16)

Lead image: Chop Suey restaurant, Dubai, United Arab Emirates  Photo by Andrew Shiue