NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: October 14 – October 20, 2016


This week: Panel discussions on the museum boom in China; a Chinese American genealogy conference; film screenings featuring emerging directors; video art from China from an artist who will have a solo show at the New Museum; talks with a Chinese writer whose been floated for a Nobel Prize in Literature and an acclaimed Chinese American writer Ha Jin; lectures on Taiwanese literature, China’s transformation from imperial subjugation to self-assertiveness, and the game of Go; documentaries on a Taiwanese bamboo artist and a woman’s right’s activist (our first TV listing?); and more…

If you have Netflix, Sky Ladder, a documentary is available to stream on October 14.

If you happen to be in Taiwan at anytime before October 30, be sure to check out the International Design House Exhibition that’s part of World Design Capital Taipei 2016.

Coming up:

October 21 – Carsick Cars w/ Chui Wan & Alpine Decline at Baby’s All Right

October 22 – Ears Switched Off and On, a documentary on Taiwanese sound artists

October 22 – First of a lecture series on Chinese poetry at China Institute

October 22 – Opening of Liu Chang: Code is Beautiful at Fou Gallery

October 25 – Chinese Theatre Works Annual Dream Life Love Theater Gala

October 26 – Mah Jongg in Jewish and Chinese Heritage

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.

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 Museum Boom in China – Two panel discussions hosted by the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

Concurrent with China’s rapid urbanization, and as part of its soft power initiative, is a museum building boom, which has produced an average of approximately 100 new museums a year across the country over the past few years. Astonishingly, during some of those years over 400 museums were built. These iconic structure–landmarks for newly planned government and civic centers, central business districts, cultural districts, and in some cases, residential and commercial developments–symbolize the importance of culture in the identity of a new China.

With ambitions to hastily increase museum per capita numbers to international standards, challenges persist in filling the abundant spaces with content. How many museums does China need? Can the museum in China redefine its role in society, whether socially, politically or culturally? And, what new architectural forms and spatial organizations are being invented to accommodate these new possibilities?

In addition to addressing some of the above questions regarding the museum boom in China, the forum will also situate the building boom within a global context. How have global influences and pressures influenced the proliferation of new museums in China? How can we compare the enormous investment in cultural capital in China with other international examples? How has what has been happening in China influenced museums globally?

Session One: Museumification of China

A panel discussion on the current “museumification” of China, which will focus on the causes and consequences of the recent museum building boom.

Aric Chen, M+ Museum, Hong Kong
Steven Holl, Columbia GSAPP
Zhu Pei, Studio Pei-Zhu
Response by Weiping Wu, Columbia GSAPP
Moderated by Jeffrey Johnson, Director of the School of Architecture, University of Kentucky

Session Two: Global Cultural Context

A panel discussion on the theme of situating the museum building boom in China within a global context.

Alexandra Munroe, Guggenheim Museum
Ou Ning, Columbia GSAPP
Wu Hung, University of Chicago
Mark Wasiuta, Columbia GSAPP
Moderated by Jean Debevoise, Asia Art Archive

Friday, October 14, 1 PM (live stream available here)
Wood Auditorium, Columbia University


2) Chinese American Genealogy Conference – This conference offers a series of comprehensive workshops, presentations, and one-on-one consultations with expert practitioners of Chinese genealogy in America. Whether you’re just getting started or are a pro, this conference will provide you with the tools and methodologies to discover your family’s roots and document your family lineage.  View the conference schedule here.

Saturday, October 15 – 16
Museum of Chinese in America
Registration required


3) Chinese in America Film Series -The New York Public Library presents “Chinese in America” Film Series Comes to Chatham Square Library with screenings of Maya Yu Zhang’s MARKED and My Sister Swallowed the Zoo and Patrick Chen’s The Last Tip and Love Express.

Followed by Q&A with filmmaker and actors.

Saturday, October 15, 2 PM
Chatham Square Library, 33 E Broadway


4) 7s Art Go Workshop – Chinese culture and lifestyle group 7s Art welcomes Yin Ming Ming, the US Professional Go League champion, to lead a workshop to introduce the game of Go and the leadership skills and self-development techniques that stems from the game.

Yin Mingming. Photo courtesy of American Go Association

Yin Mingming. Photo courtesy of American Go Association

Saturday, October 15, 6:15 PM
42 West 38th Street


5) Taipei Story 《青梅竹馬》 – Edward Yang’s second feature stars Hou Hsiao-hsien (who cowrote the script and mortgaged his house to fund the production) as a former baseball player who has come home to manage the family textile business, and Tsai Chin as his property-developer girlfriend. “The two main characters represent the past and the future of Taipei,” said Yang. “I tried to bring enough controversial questions onto the screen, so that viewers would ask themselves about their own lives.” Taipei Story is early evidence of Olivier Assayas’s assessment of Yang, who died far too young, as “the great Chinese filmmaker of modernity.” A World Cinema Project release.

Restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project at Cineteca di Bologna/L’immagine Ritrovata laboratory in association with the Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique and Hou Hsiao-hsien.  Screens as part of the New York Film Festival.

Sunday, October 16, 7 PM
Bruno Walter Auditorium, 111 Amsterdam Avenue


6) Cheng Ran (程然) Early Works Screening & Salon – Gallery 456 hosts an art salon with screenings of the early works of Cheng Ran (程然), one of the most successful Chinese video artist, and a conversation with the artist himself about today’s video art in China, what video can still achieve as an ubiquitous technical tool, on his residency experience and career development, which will hopefully help all the young artists learn from his applying process.

Sunday, October 16, 6:30 PM (Screening begins at 7)
Gallery 456, 456 Broadway


7) 2nd North America Chinese Directors Short Film Tour – EnMaze Pictures, which has brought great films from young, promising Chinese directors to New York in the past, teams with Blueberry Pictures to bring six short films from the 22 they are screening in multiple cities for their 2nd North American tour.

Sunday, October 16, 7 PM
SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street


8) Hooligan Sparrow – The danger is palpable as intrepid young filmmaker Nanfu Wang follows maverick activist Ye Haiyan (a.k.a Hooligan Sparrow) and her band of colleagues to Hainan Province in southern China to protest the case of six elementary school girls who were sexually abused by their principal.

Marked as enemies of the state, the activists are under constant government surveillance and face interrogation, harassment, and imprisonment. Sparrow, who gained notoriety with her advocacy work for sex workers’ rights, continues to champion girls’ and women’s rights and arms herself with the power and reach of social media.

Monday, October 17, 10 PM
Thursday, October 20, 4:30 AM
PBS, Channel 13


9) Taiwan Literature – Leo Ching, Associate Professor of Asian and African Languages and Literature, Duke University speaks in this lecture that is part of the Modern Taiwan lecture series at Columbia University.

Tuesday, October 18, 4:10 PM
Schermerhorn Hall, Room 963, Columbia University


10) Stubborn Dirty Snow with Can Xue and Porochista Khakpour – Swing by for a unique appearance by Can Xue, one of China’s edgiest avant-garde fiction writers, as well as one of the country’s most significant women writers. Susan Sontag called Can Xue the most likely possibility of a Chinese Nobel Laureate, and Robert Coover called her “a new world master.” Come see for yourself as she discusses her work with novelist Porochista Khakpour, who writes in Buzzfeed about reading her first story by Can Xue and finding it one of the “strangest, most haunting stories I had ever encountered.”

After her family was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution, Can Xue emerged as the 1980s literary explosion in China called the High Culture Fever. As Dylan Suher writes in Asymptote: “But unlike her contemporaries, who sought out an untainted primitive past or aimed to record the traumas of the Cultural Revolution, Can Xue has no interest in Chinese folklore or politics. The bold innovations of her oeuvre—executed in a colloquial yet writerly style that emphasizes the rapid shifts in space and narrative logic—surpass the experimentation of her Chinese contemporaries…. [and] are sometimes even more adventurous than those of the Western modernist writers she so admires.” Influenced by Butoh and Modernists like Kafka, Borges, Calvino, and Musil, Can Xue is the author of Five Spice Street (Yale University Press 2012), which follows “an enigmatic ‘Madame X’ in Xue’s first novel-length work to be published in English” in a book that blends surrealism à la Dali with a hefty dose of existential angst” (Booklist) and The Last Lover (Yale University Press 2014), which won the Best Translated Book Award for Fiction and Book of the Year from The Independent, which praised Can Xue as “a maverick outsider” capable of “mind-stretching enchantments.” (The former was translated by Karen Gernant and Zeping Chen; the latter by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen.) As Can Xue told Asymptote, “I turn towards the dark abyss of consciousness and plunge in, and in the tension between those two forces, I build the fantastic, idealist plots of my stories.” “Can Xue” is a pen name that means “stubborn, dirty snow.”

Tuesday, October 18, 7 PM
Asian American Writers’ Workshop, 112 W 27th St


11) Mountain Spirits 《山靈》  – Acclaimed artist Wang Wen-Chih has been taking part in various international art festivals in recent years. He represented Taiwan at the 2001 Venice Biennale. Using the natural materials of bamboo, rattan, and wood to express a profound serenity, and drawing on his memories of growing up in the mountains, Wang’s work displays both a unique vision and style in contemporary art. The directors follow in Wang’s footsteps as he gathers his material deep in the mountains, travels to Niigata and Shadoshima in Japan to construct his work, and while he mediates his creation. This documentary captures Wang’s attitude to life and his passion for nature in which both the work and the artist himself evoke the spirit of the mountain.

Followed by a Q&A with Dir. Chen Singing

Dir. Chen Singing (陳芯宜) and Chiang Kuo-Liang (江國梁)

Thursday, October 20, 6 PM
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, 1 East 42nd Street


12) EFA Studio Program – Xin Song and Cui Fei are among the 73 artists participating in the annual studio event that showcases a wide range of media and artistic sensibilities.

Thursday, October 20, 6 – 10 PM
Friday, October 21, 6 – 9 PM
Saturday, October 22, 1 – 6 PM
EFA Center, 323 W. 39th Street.


13) The Past, Present, and Future of Asian Food – Join an esteemed group of New York chefs and food entrepreneurs (affectionately known as the Asian Food Mafia) as they share their behind-the-business insights and discuss the influences and impact of Asian food in America. Followed by cocktails and samplings from the kitchens of featured chefs.

Chris Cheung, chef/owner of East Wind Snack Shop and Tan Suo
Doron Wong, Erika Chou, chef and owner of Mingy Rose and Northern Tiger
Lien and Ed Lin, chefs and owners Bricolage
Medwin Pang, chef owner Hunger Pang
Pichet Ong, chef consultant
Peter Yuen, chef
Christine Lau, chef
Eric Rhee, producer of The Kim Chi Chronicles


Susur Lee and Mei Mei Tuan

Thursday, October 20, 6:30 PM
Museum of Chinese in America


14) The Boat Rocker: A Conversation with Novelist Ha Jin – Ha Jin will discuss his experience as a Chinese American novelist, writing in English (his second language), and his new book, in a conversation with Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of the Asia Society Center on U.S.-China Relations, author and former New York Times and Wall Street Journal staff journalist Emily Parker. He will also share his reflections on China from the vantage point of having lived in the U.S. since the 1980s.

Ha Jin’s latest novel, The Boat Rocker, follows the story of Chinese expatriate Feng Danlin, a fiercely principled reporter at a small news agency that produces a website read by Chinese all over the world. Danlin’s explosive exposés have made him legendary among readers—and feared by Communist officials. But his newest assignment may be his undoing: investigating his ex-wife, Yan Haili, an unscrupulous novelist who has willingly become a pawn of the Chinese government in order to realize her dreams of literary stardom.

Thursday, October 20, 6:30 PM
Asia Society


15) Le Rêve Chinois – China: From Imperial Subjugation to Hubris – If we examine a cycle of 17 decades, from 1842 to the present, it encompasses the end of the first Opium War, the Nanjing “unequal treaty”, the historic re-emergence of China in 1949 and the subsequent metamorphosis into the “Open Door” era and beyond. Here, a crucial transformation, almost a mutation, can be found. China has moved dynamically from a situation of almost total imperial subjugation to a state of impressive self-assertiveness, of accentuated hubris and even arrogance. An attempt will be made here to examine that mutation and analyze China’s role in the international arena today.

Thursday, October 20, 7 PM
8 Washington Mews, Gallery


1) 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.

At AMC Empire 25


Opening and Newly Added:

1) Infinite Compassion: Avalokiteshvara in Asian Art (Staten Island Museum, 10/22 – unknown) – The Staten Island Museum is opening its first new exhibition at their Snug Harbor location since the facility opened one year ago. Infinite Compassion: Avalokiteshvara in Asian Art, a collaboration with the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, introduces visitors to Buddhist art, culture, and belief across Asia.

After the Buddha, Avalokiteshvara, is the most ubiquitous deity in Mahayana Buddhism. This revered Bodhisattva promotes compassion. A Bodhisattva is an individual who, upon achieving enlightenment, renounces his/her own Nirvana (extinction) in order to help others achieve enlightenment. The exhibit will interpret this aspect of Buddhist art with 46 sculptures, ritual objects, paintings (thangkas) and photographs from India, Tibet, China, Nepal and Japan, as well as contemporary Asian art.

Xin Song - 无限慈悲 (Unlimited Compassion), papercut

Xin Song – 无限慈悲 (Unlimited Compassion), papercut


Closing soon:

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)


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.

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)

Infinite Compassion: Avalokiteshvara in Asian Art (Staten Island Museum, 10/22 – unknown)

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: Chinese stationary postcard that was posted from Peking to Russia in 1906.   From Flickr user China Postcard