Hello all! We’ve made two small changes to how listings are presented. We’ve removed the cost of the event to save us time in assembling the weekly post, but we’ll mention if something requires an RSVP so that you’ll be able to attend. Secondly, we will no longer include addresses for major institutions like MoMA or China Institute, but addresses will still be part of listings for events at galleries and other venues.
This week: Last chance to see the clever political and social criticisms of ‘No Cause for Alarm’ at LaMaMa Galleria, the virtual humanity of ‘Metamorphosis’ at Klein Sun Gallery, Xu Zhen at James Cohan, and Zhai Liang’s ‘Living Room’ at Fou Gallery. Six new exhibitions open this week, bringing the total number of exhibitions in New York City that feature artists of Chinese descent currently on view to twenty-eight.
Also, see paintings created by the same technique used in the grottoes of Dunhuang; fans of Haruki Murakami and Jorge Luis Borges have three opportunities to see Ge Fei (we have tickets to give away to one of them), a writer who similarly alters reality; the oldest store in Chinatown showcases finalists in their design competition that asked people to transform wooden shipping crates; a Chinese choreographer creates a work that realizes Morton Feldman music and a libretto by Samuel Beckett as dance; a Taiwanese contemporary dance company interprets a Taiwanese street-dancing ritual.
October 14 – Sky Ladder, a documentary about Cai Guo-Qiang will be released on Netflix
October 15 – 16 – Chinese American Genealogy Conference at MOCA
October 16 – Screening of a restored version of Edward Yang’s Taipei Story 《青梅竹馬》 at the New York Film Festival
October 17 – Nanfu Wang’s documentary on activist Ye Haiyan, Hooligan Sparrow, will premiere on PBS
October 20 – The Past, Present, and Future of Asian Food at MOCA
October 21 – Carsick Cars w/ Chui Wan & Alpine Decline at Baby’s All Right
October 28 – 30 Reel China, a biennial documentary film festival curated NYU cinema studies professor Zhang Zhen and anthropology and religious studies professor Angela Zito.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
THIS WEEK’S EVENTS
1) The Other Lines of Time Opening Reception – Opening for a new show of works created by dizhang dry fresco technique that was used in the murals at the famous Mogao Caves at Dunhuang. See below for further information about the show.
Friday, October 7, 6 – 8 PM
119 Ludlow Street
2) All The Ways In Which I Abuse Her Opening Reception – Opening reception for a new show for paintings by Ting Yih, an artist and instructor of philosophy and comparative religion. See below for further information about the show.
Friday, October 7, 6 – 8 PM
Gallery 456, 456 Broadway
3) 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.
Friday, October 7, 6 PM
Asian American / Asian Research Institute – City University of New York, Room 1000, 25 West 43rd Street
4) Abacus: Small Enough to Jail – Quick: what was the only bank that was actually prosecuted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis? The astonishing but correct answer is Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, founded in 1984 by Thomas Sung, which specializes in small loans to members of the Chinese-American community. The latest film from Steve James (Hoop Dreams, Life Itself) is a vivid chronicle of the legal battle mounted by Sung and his formidable daughters when the Manhattan DA’s office charged the bank with systemic fraud, larceny, and conspiracy. Abacus is a moving portrait of a family, a community, and a way of life. It is also a cautionary tale.
Friday, October 7, 6:15 PM
Walter Reade Theatre, 165 W 65th St.
5) Neither – Celebrated choreographer and painter Shen Wei (Park Avenue Armory, 2011; 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony) makes his much-anticipated BAM debut with this danced realization of Morton Feldman’s 1977 anti-opera for orchestra and soprano. With a sphinxlike 16-line libretto by Samuel Beckett, Neither folds 11 dancers into Feldman’s cavernous score, setting Shen Wei’s painterly choreography amid massive moving set pieces and luminous visuals of his own design. Bodies flare, sharply and urgently, then settle together into intricate tableaux, oscillating—like Beckett’s libretto—in the gaps between light and shadow, departure and perpetual return.
Friday, October 7, 7:30 PM
Saturday, October 8, 7:30 PM
BAM, Peter Jay Sharp Building, BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
6) The Bodyguard – Retired Special Agent Ding (Sammo Hung), who lives in a quiet village on the Russia / China border, befriends a young girl whose father, in debt with the mob, disappears, leaving her in Ding’s care. Soon Ding must recall his superior strategic and tactical skills to save both their lives. This moving foray into the world of gang violence and revenge is fueled not by action and spectacle but rather the psychological struggle of a once-strong fighter grappling with oncoming dementia.
Friday, October 7, 8 PM
Museum of the Moving Image
7) Cloud Gate 2 at Fall for Dance Festival – The US premiere of contemporary dance troupe Cloud Gate 2’s Beckoning is part of the Fall for Dance Festival that includes performances from Shantala Shivalingappa, Nederlands Dans Theater, and Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo.
Distilling movements subtly from Taiwanese street-dancing ritual of Ba Jia Jiang (the “Eight Infernal Generals“), choreographer Cheng Tsung-lung has created a mysterious zigzag of body language that gives this abstract work a playful and yet poetic quality. “People can often turn into another identity in one instant. And I am fascinated by how these changes take place on their bodies, expressions and tones,” says Cheng.
Friday, October 7, 8 PM
New York City Center, 131 West 55th Street
8) Asian in NY 2016 Fashion Show – Asian in NY partners with China Institute to host the largest Asian fashion show in the city with over 50 Asian models featuring Asian fashion designers, brands including Alice Yim, JSong, Malan Breton, Manhattan Portage, West56, and TOTR
A cocktail reception will be held the first hour of the event, and the first 200 attendees will receive gift bags from designers.
Sunday, October 8, 2 – 4 PM
9) Zhai Liang: Living Room Closing Reception – The closing reception for Zhai Liang: Living Room at Fou Gallery includes a chamber music performance of works by Mozart, Shostakovich, and Mendelssohn.
Saturday, October 8, 3 – 6 PM (closing party, no RSVP needed) 7 – 9 PM (concert, RSVP here)
Fou Gallery, 410 Jefferson Ave, Brooklyn
10) Wing On Wo & Co. Crate Wood Design Challenge Showcase – The Crate Wood Design Challenge Showcase features five finalists who created designs with the porcelain store’s 40+ year-old crate wood and inspired by the W.O.W Project’s community vision.
The winner will be chosen at the end of the evening.
Saturday, October 8, 6:30 PM
Wing On Wo & Co., 26 Mott Street
11) Economic and Social Transformations in the Making of Present-day Taiwan – Jonathan Brookfield, Associate Professor of Strategic Management and International Business at Tufts University speaks in this lecture that is part of the Modern Taiwan lecture series at Columbia University.
Tuesday, October 11, 4:10 PM
Schermerhorn Hall, Room 963, Columbia University
12) At the Night Market feat. Incensed by Ed Lin – In celebration of Ed Lin’s latest book, Incensed, set in a Taipei Night Market during Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, please join us for an evening of Taiwanese street snacks (小吃) , book signing, and exhibition viewing of Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy: Stories of Chinese Food in America.
The sequel to Ed Lin’s 2014 mystery novel, Ghost Month, Incensed is set during Taiwan’s Mid-Autumn Moon Festival—also known as Chinese Thanksgiving. Jing-nan, a young food vendor in a busy night market is called upon his gangster uncle Big Eye for a big favor. Jing-nan must bring Big Eye’s daughter Mei-ling to Taipei away from bad influences. It doesn’t take Jing-nan long to discover that this is no easy task.
Tuesday, October 11, 6:30
Museum of Chinese in America
13) Ge Fei in New York: On the Translation of His Novel The Invisibility Cloak – Acclaimed author Ge Fei (格非) will be joined by translator Canaan Morse, who won the 2014 Susan Sontag Translation Prize for his proposal for this book, for an in-depth discussion of Ge Fei’s work and the publication of The Invisibility Cloak by NYRB Classics. This event will be moderated by Lydia H. Liu, Wun Tsun Tam Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University.
Wednesday, October 12, 4:30 PM
Room 918, International Affairs Building, Columbia University
14) In Arts We Trust – Chinese Opera in New York City – Presented in partnership with Chinese Theatre Works, an animated discussion features leading performers and producers of New York’s Chinese Opera community. Discussion will include the preservation of the old traditional art form and how they create and present original works that lead to the evolution of this opera’s aesthetics and techniques.
Wednesday, October 12, 7 PM
Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing
15) Ge Fei presents The Invisibility Cloak – In Ge Fei’s The Invisibility Cloak, his first novel to be translated into English, everyone is doing their best to hustle up the ladder of success in contemporary Beijing. Unfortunately, our hero is a loser. Divorced, childless, and living with his sister, he scrapes by making customized, old-fashioned amplifiers for the occasional rich audio-obsessive, all of whom he hates. When an old friend tips him off about a special job, could it mean a turn in his luck, or something worse? The Invisibility Cloak, translated deftly from the Chinese by Canaan Morse, is a provocative and seriously funny exercise in the social fantastic by one of China’s finest living writers, drawing comparisons to such contemporary fabulists as Murakami. Co-hosted by NYRB Classics.
Wednesday, October 12, 7 PM
Community Bookstore, 143 7th Ave., Brooklyn
15) The Social Fantastic: Ge Fei with Zhang Xudong – An exclusive conversation between Ge Fei, one of China’s leading voices in contemporary fiction, and Zhang Xudong, Director of NYU China House. They will discuss Ge Fei’s body of work and the publication of The Invisibility Cloak by NYRB Classics.
China Institute has given us two tickets offer to our readers. Email us at email@example.com by 11:59 PM Friday for your chance to win one of them.
Thursday, October 13, 6:30 PM
16) Chou Chun Fai: Everything Comes With an Expiry Date and Wei Dong: Observer Opening Reception – New shows at Klein Sun features two painters: Chou Chun Fai, who documents the political transformations in Hong Kong, and Wei Dong, who mixes genders and deforms realities in his work See below for further information about the shows.
Thursday, October 13, 6 – 8 PM
Klein Sun Gallery, 525 W. 22nd Street
ONGOING FILMS AND SHOWS
1) I Belonged To You 《从你的全世界路过》– Based on the bestselling series of short stories by renowned Chinese writer Zhang Jiajia, The movie is a touching romantic tale revolving around two radio disc jockeys and the world they inhabit. They find the audience they reach reflects their own love and heartbreak, and forces them to deal with issues larger than just their own lives.
2) Operation Mekong 《湄公河行動》– Inspired by the true story known as the Mekong Massacre – two Chinese commercial vessels are ambushed while traveling down the Mekong River in the waters of the Golden Triangle, one of the largest drug-manufacturing regions in the world. 13 sailors are executed at gunpoint, and 900,000 methamphetamine pills are recovered at the scene. Upon discovery, the Chinese government immediately sends a band of elite narcotics officers led by Captain Gao Gang (Zhang Hanyu) to the Golden Triangle to uncover the truth behind the murders. Tea field owner and Golden Triangle-based intelligence officer Fang Xinwu (Eddie Peng) joins the investigation. After it is discovered that the drugs seized on the Chinese ships had been planted by the henchman of a notorious drug cartel leader named Naw Khar, the governments of Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and China launch a joint task force to apprehend the criminal. The road to justice is, however, paved with dangerous and deadly obstacles.
The film faces a ban in Thailand.
3) Soulmate 《七月与安生》– A 30 year-old working woman Li Ansheng’s life in Shanghai is suddenly disrupted by the publication of a novel, entitled Qiyue and Ansheng, a chronicle of her friendship with Qiyue during her youth. Her long repressed memories are unleashed with the force of a tsunami. The two girls seemed destined to become friends from the moment they entered high school. Though they were inseparable and believed that their bond would last for the rest of their lives, the cruelty of youth eventually led them to separate paths. Even more shocking is the discovery of a long buried secret shared by the women – a secret that serves as an emblem of their youth and the proof of their friendship.
CURRENT ART EXHIBITIONS
Opening and Newly Added:
1) MARYMARY (projects) Pop Up Gallery (2 Rivington Street, 10/4 – 10/16) – MARYMARY (projects) initiates a series of temporary exhibition spaces devoted to contemporary photography by emerging photographers whose work proposes an original and challenging consideration of the medium. New York-based Chinese photographer Hailun Ma joins Ryan Halliwill and Patricia Voulgaris in an intimate show in the Lower East Side. Opening reception on 10/7.
2) The Other Lines of Time (Huayuan Art, 10/7 – 10/14)– Huayuan Art, a New York-based art foundation dedicate to traditional East Asian art and culture, presents The Other Lines Of Time, an exhibition featuring Dizhang (地仗) paintings by artist and scholar Shen Yongping (沈永平). This body of paintings – created with traditional dry fresco technique – is dominated by enigmatical and compelling episodes from the ancient literatures and murals from the caves in Dunhuang (translates as “blazing beacon”), western China. The term Dizhang refers to the layers of soil applied onto a rough surface to prepare it for painting. In the original process, several layers of sandy earth, washed clay, kaolin, plant fiber, and water are mixed and applied on the rocky cave wall.
3) All The Ways In Which I Abuse Her: New Painting by Ting Yih – (Gallery 456, 10/7-11/4) – This exhibition features the paintings of artist and philosophy and comparative religion instructor Ting Yih. Her works question man’s relationship with nature and takes its title from a passage from Roman emperor and stoic Marcus Aurelius’s classic Meditations :
“I travel on by nature’s path until I fall and find rest, breathing my last into that air from which I drew my daily breath, and falling on that earth which gave my father his seed, my mother her blood, my nurse her milk; the earth which for so many years has fed and watered me day by day; the earth which bears my tread and all the ways in which I abuse her.”
4) Chou Chun Fai: Everything Comes With an Expiry Date (Klein Sun Gallery, 10/13 – 11/12) – A solo show of paintings by Chow Chun Fai, who is among the generation of artists influenced by the return of Hong Kong to mainland China in 1997. Chow immersed himself in the local life of Hong Kong when he was a taxi driver for approximately 8 years. This experience led to the abundance of taxi cars in his earlier paintings, and also spawned his documentation about the political transformation in Hong Kong, which is presented in this exhibition through his “Movie Painting” series. Inspired by Italian composer Italo Calvino’s viewpoint on classics as “books which exercise a particular influence, both when they imprint themselves on our imagination as unforgettable, and when they hide in the layers of memory disguised as the individual’s or the collective unconscious,” Chow appropriates various scenes and relevant subtitles from Hong Kong films, and re-contextualizes the the city’s iconography, as well as its complex historical narrative since the 1970s.
5) Wei Dong: Observer ( Klein Sun Gallery, 10/13 – 11/12) – Born in Inner Mongolia and growing up under the repressive sociopolitical environment during the Cultural Revolution, Wei Dong’s early works are profoundly shaped by the political legacy of this period of the time. Over the course of his career, the artist’s oeuvre has departed from the grotesque imagery of voluptuous women and a deformed reality in a political context. Discovering a new pictorial language, the artist has paired men and women with animals, disclosing a secretive and sensual intimacy that results in a voyeuristic aesthetic.
Presenting the artist’s recent focus in a multi-layered and obscure language, Observer shows Wei Dong’s sophistication in subverting and complicating his visual imagery. In recent works, the artist explores an interweaving relationship between the female and male genders as well as the exclusive connection between males.
6) Meredith Sands / Ziyang Wu (Nancy Margolis Gallery, 10/13 – 11/26) – A two persons show featuring Meredith Sands’ absurd yet fascinating paintings, as well as Chinese artist Ziyang Wu, whose practice has been focused on what Henri LeFebvre termed micro-alienation within contemporary Chinese society through a combination of video, painting, installation, and performance.
Ziyang Wu, Falling, 2015. Color digital video with sound, 5 min., 11 seconds.
2) No Cause for Alarm (La MaMa Galleria, 9/15 – 10/8)
3) Xu Zhen (James Cohan Gallery, 9/8 – 10/8)
4) Zhai Liang: Living Room (Fou Gallery, 8/18 – 10/9)
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.
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)
From the Imperial Theater: Chinese Opera Costumes of the 18th and 19th Centuries (Metropolitan Museum of Art, through 10/9/2016)
Cinnabar: The Chinese Art of Carved Lacquer, 14th – 19th Century (Metropolitan Museum of Art, through 10/9/2016)
Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 10/31/15 – 10/11/2016)
The Other Lines of Time (Huayuan Art, 10/7 – 10/14)
Dev Harlan, Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong, Jayoung Yoon – Eighteen (Usagi Gallery, 9/15 – 10/14)
Folk My Life (New York Foundation for the Arts Gallery, 7/22 – 10/21/2016)
Lee Kit – Skin (Jane Lombard Gallery, 9/15 – 10/29)
Lan Zhenghui: Re-thINK Ink-Landscape (Ethan Cohen, 9/9 – 10/31)
Cultural Revolution, Propaganda Art, and Historical Memories (Reading Room, C.V. Starr East Asian Library, 9/22 – 11/22)
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)
All The Ways In Which I Abuse Her : New Painting by Ting Yih (Gallery 456, 10/7-11/4)
Wu Jian’an – Ten Thousand Things (Chambers Fine Art, 9/8 – 11/12)
Wei Dong: Observer ( Klein Sun Gallery, 10/13 – 11/12)
Chou Chun Fai: Everything Comes With an Expiry Date (Klein Sun Gallery, 10/13 – 11/12)
Cultural Revolution, Propaganda Art, and Historical Memories (Reading Room, C.V. Starr East Asian Library at Columbia University, 535 West 114th St., 9/22 – 11/22)
Meredith Sands / Ziyang Wu (Nancy Margolis Gallery, 10/13 – 11/26)
Zhang Peili: Continuous Reproduction (Asia Society, 9/9 – 12/4)
No Limits: Zao Wou-Ki (Asia Society, 9/9/16 – 1/8/17)
Art In a Time Of Chaos: Masterworks From Six Dynasties China, 3rd–6th Centuries (China Institute, 9/30/2016 – 3/19/2017)
Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy: Stories of Chinese Food and Identity in America (Museum of Chinese in America, 10/6/2016- 3/26/2017)
Hung Yi – Fancy Animal Carnival – (Garment District pedestrian plazas on Broadway from 36th to 41st Streets, 9/20/16 – 4/15/17)
Lead image: Biking in Liberty Square in Taipei. Photo by Andrew Shiue