NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: July 8 – July 14, 2016

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We’re back in the swing of things after travelling and catching up from travelling!

This week: three shows featuring four artists based in New York; The New York Asian Film Festival closes with an acclaimed dark comedy from Taiwan; an opera that fuses the biblical story of the expulsion from Eden with The Peony Pavilion; a lively and powerful jazz singer from Beijing; six new exhibitions, including one that brings together ink artists from Taiwan, Japan, and the United States; and more…

Update: Gary Lucas’s live blues and shidaiqu-influenced accompaniment to the silent film The Goddess and performance with Feifei Yang on 7/8 added.

Coming up:

7/16 – Bands from Taiwan play in Taiwanese Waves at Central Park’s SummerStage.

7/21 – 7/30 – Asian American International Film Festival

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) A Fraction of Island Opening Reception – A joint exhibition featuring Hsiang-Lin Wang’s Things I Lost and Ming-Jer Kuo’s City: A Complex System.  See below for details.

Friday, July 8, 6 PM
Gallery 456, 456 Broadway


2) Ip Man Fact & Fiction: Creating the Legend of Bruce Lee’s Teacher – Ip Man (also known as Yip Man) was a legendary Chinese martial artist and master teacher of Bruce Lee. The life and legend of Ip Man in popular culture is the subject of this presentation by Chinese martial arts authority and Wing Tsun sifu Alex Richter, who will share film clips, photos, and behind-the-scenes stories as well as screen a teaser preview of his television project, The Real Yip Man. Richter will also discuss the parallels between the new serialized fiction of Yip Man and the comparable Wong Fei Hung film and television series. Warrington Hudlin, curator of the Fist and Sword series, will moderate the talk and discussion.

Followed by a dessert reception.

Friday, July 8, 7:30 PM
Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Ave, Astoria
$12/admission; Event is currently sold-out, but standby tickets may be available


3) Gary Lucas The Goddess – Grammy-nominated composer, singer-songwriter, and guitarist Gary Lucas, known for his experimental and constantly shifting sound grounded in American folk-blues, performs an original blues and ’30s Shanghai pop-influenced live score. accompanying Wu Yonggang’s 1934 Chinese silent film The Goddess 《神女》starring the silver screen diva Ruan Lingyu.

After the film, he will be joined by eclectic Chinese vocalist Feifei Yang to perform renditions of classic shidaiqu (时代曲) songs from the era.

Friday, July 8, 8 PM
Pioneer Works, 159 Pioneer Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn


4) Nadim Abbas and Tuo Wang: Only the Lonely Opening Reception – Opening reception for a show featuring recent video and mixed-media work.  See below for details.

Saturday, July 9, 6 PM
inCube Arts, 314 52nd St, #1


5) The Tenant Downstairs 《樓下的房客》– The closing film of the New York Asian Film Festival and the most hotly anticipated Taiwanese film of the year is a lurid fantasy of wounded flesh and accursed lives that entwine and separate in a building run by a landlord (Simon Lam), who seeks to find a particular type of tenant for the property he inherits from his relatives. Driven by his desire of peeping into the darkest aspects of human nature, what he sees through the eyes of the omnipresent cameras ain’t pretty… but it gives him the wry, abject satisfaction of a dark god lording over and leering at the souls of the damned, his imagination hungering toward them. A devil-like figure, he patiently tends to the needs of a barbecue pit of deranged tenants: a gymnastics teacher with a record of domestic abuse; a shut-in college student who spends his days and nights in front of his computer screen; a sexually frustrated single father and his innocent young daughter; a mysterious ghostly girl in white; a gay couple trying to hide their relationship; and a sexy office worker who loses herself in an endless spiral of seedy love affairs. Violence and perverse desires come together in a writhing narrative based on a controversial book by writer (and previous NYAFF guest) Giddens Ko, recalling the golden age of Category III in the sweaty confines of a Taiwanese cinematic form.

Saturday, July 9, 9 PM
SVA Theatre, 333 W. 23rd St.
$20/General Admission; $15/Student


6) Annie Chen Septet – This Beijing-born jazz vocalist, composer, and bandleader incorporates many different types of music into a modern jazz setting, with influences from Chinese traditional, classical, gospel, middle-eastern, and even alternative rock music.

Sunday, July 10, 7 PM
Club Bonafide, 212 E. 52nd St., 3rd Fl.


7) Paradise Interrupted – In this arresting new opera by acclaimed composer Huang Ruo (Dr. Sun Yat-sen), traditional Chinese and contemporary Western idioms intertwine within an exquisite setting by visual artist Jennifer Wen Ma, known for her Emmy Award–winning work on the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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, Paradise Interrupted opens with a woman alone onstage, dreaming of an erotic encounter with her ideal lover. This dream triggers a psychological journey through a surreal, interactive garden made from dynamic paper sculptures. The woman is portrayed by Qian Yi, “China’s reigning opera princess” (New York Times), whose performance in Lincoln Center Festival’s famous 20-hour production of _The Peony Pavilion_ in 1999 introduced New Yorkers to the 600-year-old Kun opera tradition.

Taiwanese conductor Wen-Pin Chien leads a chamber orchestra of both Western and Chinese instruments in Huang Ruo’s haunting, sensual score that weaves the melismatic vocal style of kunqu with Western tonality.

Wednesday, July 13, 8 PM
Gerald W. Lynch Theater, 524 West 59th Street
Tickets begin at $40


8) WARK – Inspired by her father’s former bonded leather factory in Taichung, Taiwan, WARK is Jia-Jen Lin’s exploration of the contradictory yet parallel relationships between manufacturing and art-making. After visiting and documenting local manufacturers and post-industrial sites, and purchasing materials from them, she uses photographs, sculptures, and videos to re-fabricate the boundaries and create overlaps between these two industries.

Wednesday, July 13, 8 PM
RABBITHOLESTUDIO, 33 Washington Street, Brooklyn


9) Tong Wars: Author Talk with Scott D. Seligman – Join Scott D. Seligman in a talk and reading from his newest book, Tong Wars: The Untold Story of Vice, Money and Murder in New York’s Chinatown, a true story set in Prohibition-era Manhattan Chinatown, a generation after Gangs of New York. Followed by book signing.

Thursday, July 14, 6:30 PM
Museum Of Chinese In America, 215 Centre Street
$30/Person (includes signed copy of book); $10/Adult; $5/Senior and Student; Free/Members


10) Queens World Festival – The Colors of Love – Ten short films by rising stars from the Asian film community in Queens and beyond.

Duality by Benjamin Tran (Queens)
C.T.R.L. by Mirana Conde (UK)
Love Express by Patrick Chen (Queens)
Underneath the Grey by Patrick Chen (Queens)
Into the Woods by Anne Hu (Brooklyn)
Tu and Eu by Eddie Sheh (Brooklyn)
The Potential Wives of Norman Mao by Derek Nguyen (Brooklyn)
The Last Tip by Patrick Chen (Queens)
MARGARET by Manan Singh Katohora (Manhattan)

Thursday, July 14, 8:30 PM
Kissena Corridor Park, Queens

Ongoing Films and Shows

1) The Mermaid 《美人鱼》 in 3D – A plea for ecological responsibility that also happens to be relentlessly funny and bristling with inventive visual humor, The Mermaid’s huge international box-office was only a surprise if you didn’t know Hong Kong director Stephen Chow’s extraordinary, long-standing rapport with his fans. A playboy developer (Deng Chao) falls in love with a mysterious stranger (newcomer Lin Yun) who in fact is a mermaid in disguise, sent to prevent his company’s destruction of Green Gulf, the traditional home of the mer-people. Metrograph is thrilled to respond to popular demand by providing a command performance for Chow’s eccentric blockbuster, full of riveting romance, baroque production design, savage slapstick, and bonkers gags, one of which might put you off of grilled octopus for a while.

At Metrograph July 8 – July 14.


2) Cold War II 《寒战2》 In this sequel to the 2012 Hong Kong megahit, rival police chiefs battle it out both on the streets and at the station, kicked off by a psychotic killer’s desperate escape attempt.

Opens at AMC Empire 25 July 8.

Current Art Exhibitions

In addition to the listings below, one local artists is participating in group show:

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

Opening and Newly Added:

1) Song Ta: How’s the Weather? (Practice, 6/30 – 7/10) – Song Ta’s first U.S. solo exhibition emerged from a casual conversation between Ho King Man and Song Ta.  Similar to the moment in everyday talk when one asks a question about the weather, this exhibition transpired and now proceeds as a conversation on relaxation, comfort, friends and Song Ta’s calligraphy.

Two of the exhibition spaces show primarily Song Ta’s calligraphy, though additional works of other mediums such as drawing and exam paper are interspersed throughout the rooms.  Song Ta’s calligraphy is not the product of an artistic goal but rather a gesture within his daily routine. “Easy-comfortable” is the feeling that Song Ta has while he writes calligraphy, and this feeling carries itself through Song Ta’s current exhibition at PRACTICE.

From start to finish, the exhibition was executed and planned according to the daily chats between curator and artist. Most of the content of the conversations are presented in audio form in order to please the audience with the direct experience of the artist’s humorous qualities.

Installation view. Photo by Hansi Liao.

Installation view. Photo by Hansi Liao.


2) Ink Imagists (Tenri Cultural Institute, 7/7 – 7/30)  – With support from the Ministry of Culture, the Taipei Cultural Center in New York has invited U.S.-based Taiwanese artist Charles Liu and Kazuko Takizawa from the Tenri Cultural Institute of New York to co-curate the Ink Imagists exhibition.  Unlike previous collaborations that have been organized on bilateral basis between Taiwan and the U.S. or Taiwan and Japan, this event marks the first time that the three countries are working together to co-present artwork by some of their best ink painting artists.

With total of 8 artists participating in the event, the lineup from Taiwan represents the island’s ink painting history over the past half century. Apart from National Cultural Award winner Chiag Ming-Shyan and ink painting heavy weights Huang Kuang-Nan, Lo Cheng-Hsien, Charles Liu, and artists such as Chang Fu-Chun, Yeung Chit and Huang Chien-Lun, who represent the younger generation of ink painters and the innovative and modern style of ink painting, will also have their works on display.

As for Japan, 13 paintings by four noted artists spanning three generations will be featured in this exhibition, including one of the most influential figures in modern Suibokuga Seiji Ishii (1922-1993), as well as Jiro Unno, Takumi Yoza, and Satoshi Nemoto.

Yeung Chit - Mountain Breezes

Yeung Chit – Mountain Breezes


3) Peili: Greater New York (Klein Sun Gallery, 6/30 – 8/19) – For her first solo show in the United States, Peili presents sound installations, video pieces and oil paintings on aluminum. Her sound installations, collectively titled “Long and Short Pavilion,” are muted works. Peili recorded acquaintances’ stories on tape, and then placed these recordings within vacuum metal balls filled with silky-black Chinese ink. When the tape plays, the muffled voices reverberate through the layers of metal and ink. Meanwhile, her paintings hint at the title of the show, which is taken from the mammoth MoMA PS1 series. Although Peili has expressly stated her dislike of that series, she admits that the title embodies her wider interest in free will. Thus, the paintings render portions of the city’s skylines and landmarks in simple, monochromatic strokes, imbued with Peili’s romanticized views of New York.

Read the full press release.

greater NEW YORK_peili_2, 2016 Oil on aluminum panel 23 5/8 x 23 5/8 inches (60 x 60 cm)


4) Zhang Gong: The Watcher (Klein Sun Gallery, 6/30 – 8/19) – Zhang Gong is best known for his appropriated figurative paintings featuring a coterie of oddball characters. In these paintings, iconic symbols of pop culture – South Park characters, Michael Jackson, Mickey Mouse, Wallace and Gromit – as well as Zhang Gong’s own creations, replace human figures within familiar artworks such as Edward Hopper’s ‘Nighthawks,’ and George Seurat’s ‘Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.’ With his paintbrush, Zhang Gong rewrites the archaic narrative of art history by rendering these scenes in explicit contemporary light and by amassing these characters in a style reminiscent of an epic, traditional Hollywood set. Zhang Gong’s tendency towards the grand mise-en-scène also translates into his animation work for which he has received several international awards.

In the exhibition “The Watcher,” Zhang Gong presents three new series of paintings revealing the artist’s maturation in themes of abstraction.

Read the full press release.

The Watcher No. 1, 2016 Acrylic on canvas 57 1/8 x 44 1/8 inches (145 x 112 cm)


5) Nadim Abbas and Tuo Wang: Only the Lonely (inCube Arts, 7/9 – 7/30) – Recent video and mixed-media work from two artists who examine experiences and relationships to environment, perception, and images.

Read the full press release.

Tuo Wang, Roleplay, 2016, single-channel HD video, 24' 31.

Tuo Wang, Roleplay, 2016, single-channel HD video, 24′ 31.


6) A Fraction of Island – Hsiang-Lin Wang & Ming-Jer Kuo Duo Exhibition (Gallery 456, 7/8 – 8/5) –  In Things I Lost, Hsiang-Ling Wang transforms memories of anxiety and disgust into something humorous in an attempt to accept them.  Ming-Jer Kuo’s A Complex System uses photographic prints, sculptural installation, and video to explore the city as an organic system that grows, decays, and changes and that is a battleground between urban development and nature.

Closing soon:

DeathValley02 001

Hsiang-Ling Wang – DeathValley

Ming-Jer Kuo

Ming-Jer Kuo – Suburban Housing, NJ, US, 2012, Archival Pigment Print, 13 x 19 in.


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.

Song Ta: How’s the Weather? (Practice, 6/30 – 7/10)

Nadim Abbas and Tuo Wang: Only the Lonely (inCube Arts, 7/9 – 7/30)

A Fraction of Island – Hsiang-Lin Wang & Ming-Jer Kuo Duo Exhibition (Gallery 456, 7/8 – 8/5)

Peili: Greater New York (Klein Sun Gallery, 6/30 – 8/19)

Zhang Gong: The Watcher (Klein Sun Gallery, 6/30 – 8/19)

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)

Ka-Men Tse Photography (NYPL – Mulberry Street Library, 6/2 – 9/7)

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: An old Chinese typewriter seen at the German Museum of Technology (Deutches Technikmuseum Berlin)