NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: September 16 – September 22, 2016


Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, everybody!

This week: The Modern Sky Festival; a meet and greet with singer Su Yang; Chinese and Taiwanese artists at Printed Matter’s NY Art Book Fair 2016; a rare screening of a film shot in China during the Cultural Revolution by an Australian filmmaker; Renwen Society awards its first Lifetime Achievement Award for Philanthropy; a talk about press restrictions in China; an exhibition featuring Gang Zhao, an early participant in the controversial avant-garde Stars Group; group show featuring local artists; and more…

Coming up:

October 6 – Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy: Stories of Chinese Food and Identity in America at Museum of Chinese in America 

October 6 and 7 – Abacus: Small Enough to Fail, a film at the New York Film Festival about the only bank to be indicted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

October 15 – 16 – Chinese American Genealogy Conference

October 21 – Carsick Cars w/ Chui Wan & Alpine Decline

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) Printed Matter’s NY Art Book Fair 2016 – Printmaker Chang Yuchen, artist Huang Hai-Hsin, and Taiwanese indie publisher nos:books will be exhibiting at the book fair.

Friday, September 16 – Sunday, September 18

2) Manufracture Series: Bread, Steel, and Benjamin Moore – Artist Jia-Jen Lin (林嘉贞) continues to investigate the segregated yet inseparable relationships between manufacturing and artmaking within local settings in Brooklyn. Through collaboration with an Italian bakery in Bensonhurst, a Chinese steel fabrication shop in Sunset Park, and an artist and interior painter working in Brooklyn, she attempts to re-fabricate the boundaries and to create an overlap between artmaking, which is conventionally considered sublimated and bound to aesthetic principles, and manufacturing, the processes of which are seldom seen.

Friday, September 16, 6 PM
Brooklyn Fire Proof, 119 Ingraham St (In the Alley), Brooklyn


3) Inspire The Next Series # 5: Design For the Immersive Experience – “Inspire The Next” Series is for people who love sharing ideas and chilling with creative minds.  Join Asian Experience Design Association (AEDA) to discuss emerging trends in designing for virtual/augmented/mixed reality with perspectives from experienced designers, VR gurus and educators.  Questions to be discussed: “How do virtual, augmented, and mixed reality re-define the immersive experience?”,  “What is the design process for the immersive experience?”, and “How to use Immersive Experience in your product idea?”

Conducted in Mandarin.

Friday, September 16, 6:30 PM
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (1 East 42nd Street)
Free, but currently full.  Contact the organizer for availability.


4) Circle Line Cruise – Mid-Autumn Moon Festival  – Searching for a place to experience the Mid-Autumn Festival? Curious about how New Yorkers celebrate this Asian cultural event? Nothing quite compares to a harbor lights cruise with a chance to enjoy the full moon along with live traditional Chinese music, tasty mooncakes, and new friends!

In Chinese lore, Chang’e saved her husband from treachery and became immortal herself. She was given a magic elixir and flew so high that she reached the moon, where she has lived ever since. Since then, people have been celebrating the Moon Festival by gathering with family, eating mooncakes, drinking, tea and watching the moon rise.

Experience the beauty of NYC’s evening skyline while enjoying the festive atmosphere onboard. Enjoy traditional Chinese music performances and snack on mooncakes and tea.

Friday, September 16, 6:30 PM
Circle Line Pier, Pier 83 (at 42nd Street)
Tickets available here


5) Reunification – Alvin Tsang’s award-winning film (Special Jury Prize at SDAFF) gives an insider view on the contemporary Asian American immigrant experience, divorce and family psychology, and personal filmmaking.  The  filmmaker reflects on his family’s migration from Hong Kong to Los Angeles in the early 1980s – fraught with betrayal from his parents’ divorce, economic strife and communication meltdown between parents and children.  This poetic exploration of many unresolved years moves moodily across different channels and modes, bending into labor histories and Hong Kong’s colonial trajectories. Tsang turns the camera on his own family, cautiously prodding for answers, but fully acknowledging that the only closure he can get will be from deciding for himself how to move on.

Followed by a Q&A with the director.  Part of the “Chinese in America” Film Series.

Saturday, September 17, 2 PM
Chatham Square Library, 33 E. Broadway


6) From Home to a New Homeland — A Fabled Family’s Faith, Fortitude, Foresight and Philanthropy – In celebration of the 90th anniversary of the founding of China Institute, the Renwen Society of China Institute will present a special program honoring Dr. James Si-Cheng Chao with Renwen’s first Lifetime Achievement Award for Philanthropy.  Joining him at the event will be his daughters, the Honorable Elaine Chao and May Chao.  They will share with the audience their family’s immigrant experiences in overcoming challenges to advance in this country through education, faith, diligence, optimism, and contribution to society.

Saturday, September 17, 3:3o PM
Schwartz Theatre of the State University of New York College of Optometry, 33 West 42nd Street
Register here


7) Modern Sky Festival NYC 2016 – China’s Modern Sky Festival returns to New York City, this year to Governors Island with 马頔 Ma Di (performing his famous hit song 南山南 (“Nan Shan Nan”), 苏阳 Su Yang , 夜叉 Yaksa, Chinese hip hop royalty DJ Wordy, and rising bands The Mystery Lights, Navy Gangs, and Breanna Barbara. Refer to our latest article about the festival for more details!

Saturday, September 17, 4 PM – 1 AM
Governor’s Island
Tickets available here (use discount code BC for 10% off off GA and VIP tickets)


8) Annie Chen Trio – Jazz singer Annie Chen performs with saxophonist Xinlu Chen and guitarist Marius Duboule.

Saturday, September 17, 11 PM
Tomi Jazz, 239 E 53rd St #3
$10 cover + $10 minimum


9) The Yellow River Runs Forth – Northwest Chinese singer Su Yang, who performs at this Modern Sky Festival holds meet and greets and lectures about music from Shaanxi and the musical traditions along the Yellow River .


Sunday, September 18, 4 – 6 PM
Northwest Science Building, Rm. 501, Columbia University

Monday, September 19, 7 – 9 PM
Unarthodox, Suite 300, 547 W. 27th St.


10) Taiwan Excellence NY Product Showcase 2016 – Featuring over 50 award-winning products from Taiwan’s leading innovation brands, the event will allow visitors to experience some of the latest technological breakthroughs across a range of different categories including gaming computers, smart accessories, alternative transportation and sustainability.

Singers from the local Taiwanese theater community will perform Mandarin and Taiwanese folk songs.

Thursday, September 22 – Sunday, September 25
Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle


11) Cultural Revolution, Propaganda Art, and Historical Memories – Opening a two-month exhibition that showcases the C.V. Starr East Asian Library’s Cultural Revolution collection is a rare screening of the film China – The Red Sons: Inside China During the Cultural Revolution in 1968 filmed by Australian filmmaker Roger Whittaker during a trip to China in 1968 organized by the Australian Union of University Students, introduced by Professor Ying Qian of Columbia University who will also hold a Q&A afterwards and the lecture “Performing the Cultural Revolution: Loyalty, Violence, and Dissent” by University of Pennsylvania Professor Guobin Yang.

Co-sponsored by the C.V. Starr East Asian Library, the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, and the Dragon Summit Endowment Fund

Thursday, September 22 4- 8 PM
4- 5 PM – Film Screening: “China–The Red Sons: Inside China during the Cultural Revolution in 1968”
Introduced by and Q & A with Ying Qian, Columbia University

5 – 6 PM – Lecture: “Performing the Cultural Revolution: Loyalty, Violence, and Dissent”
by Guobin Yang, University of Pennsylvania
Introduced by and Q & A with Chengzhi Wang, C.V. Starr East Asian Library

6 – 8 PM – Reception

Reading Room, C.V. Starr East Asian Library, Columbia University
Free, but registration requested


12) Access Denied: Foreign Journalists in China – PEN America launches its new report examining how the foreign press faces unprecedented restrictions on their freedom to work in China, the world’s most populous country.

Thursday, September 22, 6 PM
Overseas Press Club of America, 40 West 45th St



1) Cock and Bull  《追凶者也》 – When a murder occurs in a small town in Southeast China, a local mechanic, known for his honesty, comes under suspicion. When the police target him to take the fall, he’s forced to try and exonerate himself, uncovering a number of disturbing facts, most much bigger than the initial crime.  Directed by Cao Baoping (曹保平) and stars Liu Ye (刘烨)

Opens at AMC Empire 25 on September 16.


2) Caught – In this irreverent new genre-bending piece, theatre makers Christopher Chen and LeeSunday 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


Opening and Newly Added:

1) Gang Zhao (Jack Tilton Gallery, 9/13 – 10/22) – Jack Tilton Gallery in the Upper East Side presents works by Gang Zhao, who was an early participant in the controversial avant-garde Stars Group that showed in Beijing in the 1970s when the artist was still less than twenty years old. Educated in Holland and the United States, Zhao’s work combines both Eastern and Western influences and encompasses elements and sensibilities from both worlds to explore his world view. Zhao has continued to paint increasingly poignant figurative works that are at once lyrical and based on intellectual roots.

Read the full press release here

Gang Zhao, Hong Kong Woman, 2016 Oil on canvas

Gang Zhao, Hong Kong Woman, 2016
Oil on canvas
55 1/10 × 43 3/10 in


2) The School of Visual Arts – The Book Show (SVA Gramercy Gallery, 9/16 – 9/29) – School of Visual Arts presents “The Book Show,” an exhibition of work by members of the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay class of 2017. “The Book Show” challenges students to conceive, write and illustrate a book—whether a children’s book, graphic or illustrated novel, or visual essay—based on a personal experience or subject matter that is meaningful to them. 

Amber Ma, who we featured earlier, will be in the show with Jin Xiaojing, Helen Li, Wenkai Mao. and others.




3) Jacky Tsai – Culture Clash (208 Bowery, 9/22 – 10/2)  – This exhibition a continuation of Tsai’s exploration of a visual dialogue between traditional Eastern craft and Western pop art.  In the new works for the exhibition, imagined scenes filled with symbolism and references are constructed in order to visually tell Tsai’s desired narratives, which can have historical, political, environmental and sometimes humorous connotations. The Hangover, for example, a large hand-carved lacquer work made in China, depicts a smiling Superman, indulgently reclining in an Eastern hotel room, surrounded by empty wine bottles, takeaway boxes and doting girls.

In the limited edition screenprint Puppets, Tsai plays with the idea of power, strength and control as a Chinese general performs a string puppet show in an Eastern theatre, where the characters are Western superheroes. More comic book characters such as Batman and Wonder Woman appear in other works, and the porcelain piece Plum Play portrays Star Wars storm troopers fishing for mermaids. In the lacquer carving The Last Chinese Tiger, Tsai confronts environmental issues, and a percentage of the sale of this piece will go to the Save Wild Tigers charity.

The exhibition of unique pieces will include hand-crafted lacquer carvings, painted porcelain, embroidered silk, paint on canvas and eight limited screenprint editions.

Jacky Tsai - The Cliff

Jacky Tsai – The Cliff

Closing soon:

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

Installation view, Huang Hai Hsin, "The Museum Show," Gallery 456. Photo by Hansi Liao.

Installation view, Huang Hai Hsin, “The Museum Show,” Gallery 456. Photo by Hansi Liao.

Tango Chelsea Market Pop Up Show (Chelsea Market, 9/5 – 9/25 )


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.

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

Tango Chelsea Market Pop Up Show (Chelsea Market, 9/5 – 9/25 )

Yang Yi: First Responders (Chinatown Soup, 9/10 – 9/30)

The School of Visual Arts – The Book Show (SVA Gramercy Gallery, 9/16 – 9/29)

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

Jacky Tsai – Culture Clash (208 Bowery, 9/22 – 10/2)

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

No Cause for Alarm (La MaMa Galleria, 9/15 – 10/8)

Xu Zhen (James Cohan Gallery, 9/8 – 10/8)

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

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)

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

Gang Zhao (Jack Tilton Gallery, 9/13-10/22)

Erote (The Hollows Art Space, 9/7 – 10/30)

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

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: Mooncake tins by Flickr user artjouer street art.  Licensed through Creative Commons