NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: September 2 – September 8, 2016

Shifan Zhang facikini

This week: The beginning of a two-weekend run of critically-praised film Kaili Blues 《路边野餐》; a talk and performance about the music of the Paiwan and Rukai aboriginal peoples of Taiwan by pianist Joy Chi Wang; Taiwanese campus folk songs; a panel discussion about success for artists; a lecture on Qing-era Taiwan; a play inspired in part by a local performance artist’s jail cell which was put on AirBNB; six new exhibition listings, including two dedicated to Chinese French painter, Zao Wou-Ki.

Updated to include cartoonist Tango’s pop-up show and reception.

Coming up:

September 8 – Asia Contemporary Art Week kicks off.

September 9 – The beginning of a week-long run of Chinese American director Wayne Wang’s Chan is Missing at Metrograph.

September 10 – Renwen Society’s talk on writer and poet Yu Dafu (郁达夫)

September 12 – Curator Melissa Walt talks about Asia Society’s new exhibition dedicated to Chinese-French artist Zao Wou-ki (赵无极), which opens September 8

September 15 – City of Hands, a short documentary that profiles four young members of Jingdezhen’s ceramics community and explores what brought them to China’s porcelain capital and what made them stay.

September 15 – Mid-Autumn Festival

September 17 – Modern Sky 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


1) The Songs of Vagrant Rukai Chieftain: Music and Aristocracy – This lecture features analyzes music of Paiwan and Rukai tribes and comments on their history through old photography to unveil the revolution of aristocracy of aboriginal Taiwanese over past 100 years.

Since 1950’s, a great amount of aboriginal Taiwanese joined the lumbering vocation. Every day after a hard day of labor, they sat around with guitars, like troubadours making their own words, improvising song after song through the whole night. Some about the descendants of storied warriors; others about chiefs who possess luxurious feathers of eagles.

Their songs started to become popular with aboriginal Taiwanese youth. Years went by, and the new generation no longer eulogizes the royalty with “The Song of Heroics” or are even able to duet with traditional tunes. The new style of aboriginal Taiwanese music had integrated with Japanese music Enka and early Han Taiwanese folk songs that fully express those wanders’ nostalgia and mock to life.

Friday, September 2, 7 PM
WeWork Times Square, 1460 Broadway


2) Taiwan Campus Folk Songs – Originating in Taiwan during the 1970s, the Campus Folk Song was considered a modern wave and immediately spread far and wide across Chinese-speaking areas. Presented in partnership with New York Institute of Culture and the Arts, New York Chinese Chorus, Wu Shan Culture Foundation, and Chinese American Arts Council, featuring artists including Ms. May Tai, Dr. Hsing-Lih Chou, Mr. Yu-Wei Hsieh, Mr. Yumin Liu, Sanguang Silk Bamboo Orchestra and many more will surely give you a dazzling concert!  This concert will be performed in Chinese with English and Chinese subtitles.

Sunday, September 4, 1:30 PM
Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing
$35/Orchestra; $25/Balcony


3) Taiwan in Imperial China (Qing Dynasty) – Robert B. Gardella, US Merchant Marine Academy opens Columbia University’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute’s and the Department of Anthropology’s Modern Taiwan Lecture Series, hosted by faculty members Myron L. Cohen and Murray Rubinstein.

Tuesday, September 6, 4:10 PM
Room 963 Schermerhorn Hall, Columbia University


4) Shen Jingdong + Jon Tsoi – No Head No Heart Opening Reception – The opening featuring a collaboration between Chinese American and a Chinese artist includes a liver performance.  See below for more about the new exhibition at WhiteBox.

Wednesday, September 7, 6 – 8 PM
WhiteBox, 392 Broome Street


5) Tango Pop-Up Exhibition VIP Opening Night – Meet the artist at this opening party for the whimsical and clever cartoonist.  See additional information about the show below.

Wednesday, September 7, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Chelsea Market


6) Artist Talk – The Road to Success – An artist talk with New York-based Taiwanese artists featuring, Chi-Hung Yang, book scultptor Long-Bin Chen, photographer Jeff Chieh-Hsing Liao and moderated by FIT professor and new media artist C.J. Yeh new media artist and FIT professor.

Wednesday, September 7, 6:30 PM
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, 1 East 42nd Street


7) Miao Xiaochun – Metamorphosis Opening Reception – See below for more about the new exhibition at Klein Sun Gallery.

Thursday, September 8, 6 – 8 PM
Klein Sun Gallery, 525 W. 22nd St.


8) Wu Jian’an – Ten Thousand Things Opening Reception– See below for more about the new exhibition at Chambers Fine Art

Thursday, September 8, 6 – 8 PM
Chambers Fine Art, 522 W. 19th St.


9) The 7 Brothers Meet Dracula 《七金尸 》 – Also known as The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, this film from Hong Kong’s Shaw Brothers, finds vampire hunter Van Helsing lecturing in China where he agrees to help seven kung fu trained siblings reclaim their ancestral mountain village, now the domain of seven powerful vampires and their army of undead slaves.  (IMDB)

Thursday, September 8, 9:30 PM
Nitehawk Cinema, 136 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn


1) Kaili Blues 《路边野餐》– Chinese poet and first-time filmmaker Bi Gan has made an astonishing debut film that is at once mesmerizing and enigmatic, a dreamlike cinematic tour de force. The elusive narrative revolves around the journey of a doctor from the rain-drenched city of Kaili to look for his brother’s abandoned child. As J. Hoberman writes in The New York Review of Books, “[Bi’s] full-throttle filmmaking manages to evoke Resnais, Tarkovsky, Hou Hsiao-hsien without ever seeming derivative.”

Dir. Bi Gan
2015, China, 115 Min.

Variety calls the film an “aesthetically remarkable debut”, and Blouin ArtInfo says says that “At the center of Kaili Blues is a 40-plus minute shot that is as staggering and transfixing as anything witnessed in recent cinema, a moment impossible not to lose yourself in.”


2) Caught – In this irreverent new genre-bending piece, theatre makers Christopher Chen and Lee Sunday Evans apply their playful imaginations to the work of a Chinese dissident artist. Their hybrid work invites you to navigate a labyrinthine trail between truth and perception, authority and authenticity, illusionary art and real jeopardy.

The play was inspired by performance artist Miao Jiaxin‘s Jail’s Seeking Prisoners and was named an Critic’s Pick by The New York Times.  You can also read more about it here.

August 17 – September 24
Monday – Saturday, 7:30 PM
LaMaMa, 66 E. 4th Street
$35/General Admission; $45 & $55/Premium Reserved; $15/Student advance; $10/Student rush


3) Time Raiders 《盗墓笔记》 – Based on the online novel series Daomu Biji  盗墓笔记, the CGI-heavy film debuted big in China because of its star power but received overwhelmingly negative reviews.  Yet, it earned over 100 million USD at the box office.

At AMC Empire 25.


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

Xin Song is one of the artists in group show Boundaries at Gallery d’Arte which runs from 8/25 – 9/6.

Catherine Lan and Ginger Chan are part of a new media group exhibition, Always On Never Off at Macy Gallery, Suite 544 Macy Building, 525 120th Street, Teacher’s College, Columbia University.   The show continues through 9/2.

Ping Wang exhibits his photographs inspired by dreams and the surrealist movement which use strong lighting and symbolism to create an atmosphere of psychologically charged unease at SVA’s In Cylinder group exhibition 8/13 – 9/10.

Opening and Newly Added:

1) No Limits: Zao Wou-Ki (Asia Society, 9/9/16 – 1/8/17) – A master of postwar abstraction, Zao Wou-Ki (1920–2013) created a unique pictorial language shaped by diverse influences. Throughout his long career, Zao’s experimentations in oil on canvas, ink on paper, lithography, engraving, and watercolor, allowed each image to evolve from the next, without imposing boundaries. As an artist, he came to inhabit his given name, Wou-Ki, or 無極 “no limits.”

Zao Wou-Ki began his formal artistic training at the age of fifteen at the newly established National Academy of Fine Arts (now China Academy of Art) located in Hangzhou. In 1948 Zao immigrated to Paris and soon took the international art world by storm. Over the course of the next six decades, Zao became a major presence in Europe, America, and Asia, and now stands out as an exemplar of the global scope of modern abstraction.

Co-organized by Asia Society Museum and Colby College Museum of Art, No Limits: Zao Wou-Ki is the first museum retrospective of the artist’s work in the United States. Drawing together key works from public and private collections in America, Europe, and Asia, this exhibition of Zao’s works illustrates the encounter between Asian aesthetics and international art movements that came to define postwar abstract painting. His artistic practice and innovative methods reveal the dynamic cross-cultural circulation of ideas and images, and the role Zao played in the creation of a modernist aesthetic that was a truly pluralistic phenomenon.

Sans titre (Joueurs de tennis) (Untitled [Tennis players]) 1945 Oil on muslin 10 5/8 × 13 3/4 in. (27 × 35 cm) Private Collection, Switzerland ©Photography by Dennis Bouchard. Courtesy of Asia Society

Sans titre (Joueurs de tennis) (Untitled [Tennis players])
1945, Oil on muslin
10 5/8 × 13 3/4 in. (27 × 35 cm)
Private Collection, Switzerland
©Photography by Dennis Bouchard. Courtesy of Asia Society

+++++2) Zhang Peili: Continuous Reproduction (Asia Society, 9/9 – 12/4) – Zhang Peili is one of the leading artists from China who came of age during the social upheaval of the Cultural Revolution. This exhibition highlights Continuous Reproduction, 1993, an early series of twenty-five gelatin silver prints that appropriates a propaganda image of young peasant girls to comment on the unsustainability of Mao’s utopic vision.+++++3) Zao Wou-Ki and Abstract Expressionism (Christie’s 8/27 – 9/14) – This second exhibition dedicated to the Chinese French abstract painter, unrelated to Asia Society’s, reveals how his trip to New York in 1957 brought new inspiration and marked the beginning of a new phase in his artistic journey.  Contact with Abstract Expressionist painters such as Franz Kline, Philip Guston, Conrad Marca-Relli, William Baziotes and Adolph Gottlieb, among others, opened up Zao’s brushwork and caused him to develop a bolder style and master bigger canvases.


4) Miao Xiaochun – Metamorphosis (Klein Sun Gallery, 9/8 – 10/8) – In 2004, Miao Xiaochun began to experiment with 3D software as an artistic medium, which led to the creation of The Last Judgment in Cyberspace, the artist’s first work exclusively created with 3D techniques. Since then, Miao Xiaochun has been delving into the transformative expression between 3D motions and paintings.

Continually discovering the possibility of new media in paintings, Miao Xiaochun incorporates 3D modeling, cutting plotter, and hand drawing, creating a new category of painting defined as “algorithmic painting.” Primarily using a computer to generate graphics and models, the artist then hand draws the 3D images on canvases, working harmoniously with computer technology and seamlessly transferring the virtual world onto two dimensional canvas. Metamorphosis presents a series of Miao Xiaochun’s recent works based on his research on digital media since 2008 and featuring his 3D computer animations and “algorithmic paintings.“

Contest, 2016. Acrylic on linen, 39 3/8 x 39 3/8 in. (100 x 100 cm)

Contest, 2016.
Acrylic on linen, 39 3/8 x 39 3/8 in. (100 x 100 cm)


5) Wu Jian’an – Ten Thousand Things (Chambers Fine Art, 9/8 – 11/12) – For his 5th exhibition at Chambers Fine Art, Wu Jian’an continues his investigation of the arcane subject matter that has developed in tandem with the increasing complexity of his technical procedures.

The current exhibition derives its title from the influential book Ten Thousand Things: Module and Mass Production in Chinese Art by the German art historian Lothar Ledderose (2000), an investigation into the use of modular or standardized production systems throughout the history of Chinese art, in bronzes, porcelain, and architecture. While not referring to the book directly, Wu found a striking parallel between his own working method and Ledderose’s perceptive commentary on the procedures used by Chinese artists and artisans over thousands of years. As Wu explored the furthest reaches of which the paper cut was capable, a single unit or groups of related units still provided the building blocks from which his dazzling individual works or installations evolved.

This approach characterizes the four major works in Ten Thousand Things, each one conceived in a different medium. Like many of his earlier works, Ten Thousand Things consists of many thousands of small figures cut from paper dipped in wax although the overall effect is very different.

As of press time, the exhibition link was not available.

Ten Thousand Things, 2016. Hand dyed and waxed paper-cut, cotton thread, paper Set of 3, 110 1/4 x 78 3/4 in. each

Ten Thousand Things,
Hand dyed and waxed paper-cut, cotton thread, paper
Set of 3, 110 1/4 x 78 3/4 in. each


6) Shen Jingdong + Jon Tsoi – No Head No Heart (WhiteBox, 9/1 – 9/30) – A New York debut-collaboration of two Chinese contemporary artists who came of age in the 1980s, one Beijing-based, the other a New Yorker.

The exhibition addresses aspects of an ongoing, alarming Sino-American military build-up, seen through the lens of performance art, painting, and public interactive art. The artworks evoke the unsettling figure of the “hero”, patent in the invincible uniformed figure of the Red Army soldier inscribed in both artists’ childhood memories.


7) Tango Pop-Up Exhibition (Chelsea Market, 9/5 – 9/25) – Tango, the clever and whimsical cartoonist, brings his sharply funny, yet simple and wordless comics for a show at the busy market frequented by locals and tourists alike.


Closing soon:

Li Qiang: Solo Show (Klein Sun Gallery, 8/4 – 9/3)

Summer Selections (Klein Sun Gallery, 8/4 – 9/3)

Global by Design: Chinese Ceramics from the R. Albuquerque Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, through 9/5/16)

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)


Current shows:

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.

Li Qiang: Solo Show (Klein Sun Gallery, 8/4 – 9/3)

Summer Selections (Klein Sun Gallery, 8/4 – 9/3)

Global by Design: Chinese Ceramics from the R. Albuquerque Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, through 9/5/16)

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)

Hai-Hsin Huang: A Museum Show (Gallery 456, 8/26 – 9/23)

The Keeper (New Museum, 7/20 – 9/25)

Zhai Liang: Living Room (Fou Gallery, 8/18 – 10/9)

Wenjie Han: Scenes  (Cloud Gallery, 8/25 – 9/1)

Zao Wou-Ki and Abstract Expressionism (Christie’s 8/27 – 9/14)

Shen Jingdong + Jon Tsoi – No Head No Heart (WhiteBox, 9/1 – 9/30)

Miao Xiaochun – Metamorphosis (Klein Sun Gallery, 9/8 – 10/8)

Colors of the Universe: Chinese Hardstone Carvings (Metropolitan Museum of Art, through 10/9/16)

From the Imperial Theater: Chinese Opera Costumes of the 18th and 19th Centuries (Metropolitan Museum of Art, through 10/9/16)

Cinnabar: The Chinese Art of Carved Lacquer, 14th – 19th Century (Metropolitan Museum of Art, through 10/9/16)

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

Han Bing: Urban Amber (FitzGerald Fine Arts, 8/1 – 11/1)

Folk My Life (New York Foundation for the Arts Gallery, 7/22 – 10/21)

Wu Jian’an – Ten Thousand Things (Chambers Fine Art, 9/8 – 11/12)

Zhang Peili: Continuous Reproduction (Asia Society, 9/9 – 12/4)

No Limits: Zao Wou-Ki (Asia Society, 9/9/16 – 1/8/17)

Lead image: Beachgoers sport fashionable facekinis designed by Shifan Zhang.  From Wenxuecity.