NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: October 21 – October 27, 2016

Ai Weiwei – Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads

This week: Indie bands from China; a documentary about Taiwan’s brilliant sound art scene; two events that highlight the connection between China and Israel and Jewish culture; a new exhibitions local artists from China and Taiwan; Chinese Theatre Works annual gala; talks about Chinese poetry and literature; a community-organized discussion about gentrification in Chinatown; a week-long run of an Edward Yang film; and more…

It’s also your last chance to see last chance to see the Gang Zhao and Hung Liu shows in Chelsea and the Qing Dynasty photographs of Thomas Child at Baruch College.

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.

Don’t forget that you can get discounts to STOMP performances thanks to their collaboration with MáLà Project.

Coming up:

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

October 29 – Ai Weiwei in conversation at the Brooklyn Museum

November 3 – December 1 – China On Screen Biennial at Asia Society

November 5 – 6 – A commemoration two playwrights who lived contemporaneously, Tang Xianzu and William Shakespeare

November 17 – Composer Lei Liang at Columbia University.

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) Carsick Cars w/Chui Wan & Alpine Decline – Legendary Beijing indie rock group Carsick Cars was named by Sonic Youth as their favorite Chinese band.  Their third studio album, 3, was produced by Sonic Boom (Spacemen 3) and Hamish Kilgour (The Clean).

Chui Wan is a psychedelic rock band from Beijing who operate by Daoist philosopher Zhuangzhi’s idiom: “When the wind blows, every sound may be heard therein.” They were the first ever Chinese band to have an album chart on the CMJ Top 200 with their 2015 self-titled release.  Read our interview them done during their first North American tour.

Alpine Decline is an experimental noise rock duo with mighty fine melodies and plenty of surgical gauze. They just released their newest record, Life’s A Gasp, in May 2016 with Chinese indie rock legend Yang Haisong on bass and joining them on tour.

Friday, October 21, 8 PM
Baby’s All Right, 146 Broadway Brooklyn
Tickets available here


2) Duo Duo: From Underground Poetry to World Poetry – What are the various boundaries within and without contemporary Chinese poetry? What separates contemporary Chinese poetry from its classical or even modern counterpart? Where does Chinese poetry stand vis-à-vis the so-called world literature that is often dictated by an unequal East/West power structure? Who are the true pioneers and seers of modern or contemporary Chinese poetry other than the names we have been normally told? Can contemporary Chinese poetry further expand its boundaries and find alternative identities and voices that are at once open, experimental, radical and significant in a globalized world? With such questions in mind, these three lectures by poet and professor Yibing Huang will introduce three famous, even canonical yet often misunderstood Chinese writers and re-examine their distinctive relationships with contemporary Chinese poetry.

Part of the series Expanding the Boundaries of Chinese Poetry.

Saturday, October 22, 2 – 4 PM
China Institute, 40 Rector Street


3) Ears Switched Off and On 《如果耳朵有開關》 – “You can close your eyes but never the ears.” says the tagline of this film that attempts to track downs the Taiwanese sound art context, those active, off-mainstream but ignored artists: Dino, Wang Fu-jui, and Lin Chi-Wei (whose Tape Music was performed in the inToAsia: TBA Festival 2013 in Brooklyn). This documentary, which is still an on-going project, delineates these pioneers who have been devoted to sound art since the 90s.

Followed by a Q&A with director Chen Singing (陳芯宜)

Saturday, October 22, 2:30 – 4:30 PM
3rd Floor Screening Room, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza


4) Liu Chang: Code is Beautiful Opening Reception – The Brooklyn-based apartment gallery Fou Gallery presents Chinese artist Liu Chang’s first solo exhibition in New York.  See the exhibition section for details. 

Saturday, October 22, 5 – 8 PM
Fou Gallery, 410 Jefferson Ave #1, Brooklyn


5) Happy Together 《春光乍泄》– Hong Kong cinema superstars Tony Leung and Leslie Cheung play a pair of lovers living out the waning days of their relationship as expatriates in Buenos Aires. Lusty tango bars, the salsa music of the La Boca sidewalks, and a hypnotic visit to the nearby Iguazu Falls give further dimension to the tensions growing between the two. Winner of the Best Director prize at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, Wong Kar-Wai’s Happy Together is a stunning display of filmmaking style and a touching story of love on the brink of dissolution.

Saturday, October 22, 6:45 PM
Metrograph, 7 Ludlow Street


6) Chinatown Is Not for Sale Join Artists Space, Chinatown Art Brigade and Decolonize This Place for a town hall discussion that will bring together local residents, activists, gallery owners and artists for a candid dialogue about the growing impact of art galleries in Chinatown. This discussion will explore the role that artists can play in preserving, protecting and fighting for our neighborhoods. Central to the discussion will be a working document promoting ways in which artists, galleries and other cultural institutions can show their solidarity with longtime Chinatown residents.


Peter Kwong
Liz Moy
Margaret Lee, 47 Canal
Juan Puntes, WhiteBox
Betty Yu, Chinatown Art Brigade
Moderated by Julien Terrell

Saturday, October 22, 7 – 9 PM
Artists Space Books and Talks, 55 Walker Street


7) Lecture: Life and Works of Mao Dun – Mao Dun (1896 – 1981) was the pen name of Shen Yanbing, a 20th-century Chinese novelist, cultural critic, and the Minister of Culture of People’s Republic of China (1949–65). He was one of the most celebrated left-wing realist novelists of modern China. His most famous works are Midnight, a novel depicting life in cosmopolitan Shanghai, and Spring Silkworms.

To mark the 120th anniversary of Mao Dun’s birth, the Renwen Society invites Dr. Maiheng Shen Dietrich, a senior lecturer in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at University of Pennsylvania to give a lecture on the life and works of her grandfather.

Sunday, October 23, 2 – 4 PM
China Institute, 40 Rector Street


8) Old Stone 《老石》–  In Johnny Ma’s engrossing debut, a Chinese taxi driver finds himself in a Kafkaesque nightmare. Beginning as a gritty social-realist drama and becoming a blood-drenched noir, Old Stone follows the repercussions of a car accident. When a drunken passenger causes Lao Shi to swerve and hit a motorcyclist, and the cabbie drives the victim to the hospital, checks him in…and finds himself liable for the man’s medical bills. His selfless act exposes a society rife with bureaucratic indifference. On the verge of losing everything, Lao Shi (in a magnificent performance by Chen Gang) has to resort to desperate measures to survive.

Dir. Johnny Ma
2016, 80 mins
In Mandarin with English subtitles.

Sunday, October 23, 4 – 6 PM
Museum of Moving Image


9) Identity Issues in Taiwan: Past and Present – André Laliberté, Political Studies and Social Sciences professor, University of Ottawa speaks in this lecture that is part of the Modern Taiwan lecture series at Columbia University.

Tuesday, October 25, 4:10 PM
Schermerhorn Hall, Room 963, Columbia University


10) Chinese Theater Works Annual “Dream Life Love Theater” Gala – Chinese Theater Works preserves and promotes the traditional Chinese performing arts (including opera, shadow theatre, puppetry, dance and music); creates new performance works that bridge Eastern and Western aesthetics and forms (such as their collaboration with Zheng Mahler for New York Post- et Préfiguratif (Before and After New York) for Performa 15; and foster understanding and appreciation of Chinese culture in audiences, artists, students, scholars and educators around the globe.  Their annual fundraising gala honors leaders of the Chinese/American arts and media communities. Guests will enjoy an evening of art, live performances, and food and drink.


11) Curators in Conversation: Xin Wang – Museum of Chinese in America curator sits down with curator and researcher Xin Wang in this installment of MOCA’s program series that engages Chinese American curators, artists and cultural producers across generations and geographies in critical conversations to deeply investigate the aesthetic concerns, subject matter, and experiences within the Chinese and Asian American cultural community

Xin Wang has worked as a special exhibition researcher at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on projects such as Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China (2013). She was the associate curator for Asian Contemporary Art Week 2014 and the inaugural edition of its signature program FIELD MEETING. Independent projects include Magiciens de la Terre and China: Looking Back 25 Years, a panel co-organized with Asia Art Archive at Columbia University, the New York solo debut of artist Lu Yang (2014), critically-acclaimed group exhibitions THE BANK SHOW: Vive le Capital and THE BANKS SHOW: Hito Steyerl (2015) in Shanghai, and a performance art cabaret in New York titled House of Flying Boobs (2015). Her writing has appeared in exhibition catalogues (including the 2015 Venice Biennale), artist monographs, and journals such as Artforum, Art in America, Flash Art, the Metropolitan Museum’s blog, Hyperallergic, and Leap. Currently building a discursive archive on Asian futurisms:, among other research-based projects.

Tuesday, October 25, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Museum of Chinese in America


12) China & Israel: Strange Bedfellows – The Sino-Israeli story is a most thrilling story. It encompasses unique history, culture, complex diplomacy and worldwide business. This is undoubtedly a success story. An attempt will be made here to feature the wide picture of Sino-Israeli relations from a historical-political perspective, from Jewish-Israeli standpoint and from the author’s personal stance. Professor Aron Shai, Shoul N. Eisenberg Chair for East Asian Affairs at Tel Aviv University, will devote special place to Israeli companies active in China, to the reasons for their respective successes and failures and to Chinese current high-tech, innovation and infra-structural investments in Israel with a special emphasis on contradictory viewpoints regarding this new trend.

Wednesday, October 26, 7 PM
China House Gallery, 8 Washington Mews


13) Mah Jongg in Jewish and Chinese Heritage – China Institute and the Museum of Jewish Heritage to present this entertaining, insightful program tied to their exhibition Project Mah Jongg. Learn the history of the beloved game and its significance in Jewish and Chinese traditions with authors and scholars Gregg Swain and Melissa Martens Yaverbaum.

Wednesday, October 26, 7-8:30 PM
Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place


14) Interpreting Brooklyn Opening Reception – Interpreting Brooklyn appropriates the landscape of Brooklyn as a point of departure to commission new works by twoResidency Unlimited artists from Taiwan, Kai chun Chiang and Sean Wang. See exhibition section for details.

Thursday, October 27, 6 – 8 PM
El Museo de Los Sures, 120 South 1st Street, Brooklyn


15) Literature of the Six Dynasties Period: A Ben Wang Lecture Series – In conjunction with Art in a Time of Chaos, the grand exhibition of cultural relics from the Six Dynasties Period at China Institute, Ben Wang, Senior Lecturer of Language and Humanity of the Institute, offers a special course on literature of the Six Dynasties Period. Lives and works by representative poets of the period as well as the quintessential spirit of famed texts A New Account of Tales of the World and Zhaoming’s Collection of Literary Works will be discussed in this three-session series.

Thursday, October 27, 6:30 PM
China Institute


1) The Terrorizers 《恐怖分子》– Titan of the Taiwanese New Wave Edward Yang (A Brighter Summer Day, Yi Yi) crafts a mesmerizing, enigmatic thriller about fate, urban existence, and violence, both physical and emotional. On a sunny day in Taipei, shots ring out from an apartment complex and a body lies dead in the streets. In the aftermath of the crime, the lives of seemingly disparate people—including a couple whose marriage is dissolving, a photographer, and a sociopathic young woman—begin to intersect, connected by the shooting and by an insidious prank phone call that will shape the course of their existences. Constructed like a puzzle, The Terrorizers maintains an air of quietly creeping unease as it builds towards its shattering, mind-scrambling denouement.

At Peter Jay Sharp Building, BAM Rose Cinemas 10/21 – 10/27


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.

At AMC Empire 25


3) 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.

At AMC Empire 25


Opening and Newly Added:

1) Cheng Ran: Diary of a Madman (New Museum, 10/19 /2016 – 1/5/2017) – For his first solo museum exhibition in the United States, Cheng Ran debuts a new multi-video installation in the New Museum’s Lobby Gallery. As one of the most promising Chinese artists of his generation, Cheng has been producing film and video works that draw widely from both Western and Chinese literature, poetry, cinema, and visual culture, fabricating new narratives that combine myths and historical events. Cheng Ran: Diary of a Madman marks the culmination of his three-month residency at the New Museum, initiated in partnership with K11 Art Foundation.

Cheng Ran, In Course of the Miraculous, 2015 (still). Wide-screen HD film, 5.1 surround sound, color; 468 min. Courtesy the artist, K11 Art Foundation, Erlenmeyer Foundation, and Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne

Cheng Ran, In Course of the Miraculous, 2015 (still). Wide-screen HD film, 5.1 surround sound, color; 468 min. Courtesy the artist, K11 Art Foundation, Erlenmeyer Foundation, and Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne


2) Liu Chang: Code is Beautiful ( Fou Gallery, 10/22 – 12/18) –  Fou Gallery presents the New York-based artist Liu Chang’s first solo exhibition in New York, which features her interactive video installation and a 100-day project called “Nature and Algorithm.” As the title suggests, the exhibition reveals the aesthetics behind the apparent rational and logical nature of code while presenting Liu’s exploration of the relationships between art and technology, nature and man-made, reality and virtuality, and time and space.

Random Walker - Dripping, interactive video installation, 38.7 x 22.3 x 2.3 in., 2016. ©2016 Liu Chang, courtesy Fou Gallery

Random Walker – Dripping, interactive video installation, 38.7 x 22.3 x 2.3 in., 2016. ©2016 Liu Chang, courtesy Fou Gallery


3) Interpreting Brooklyn (El Museo de Los Sures , 10/27 – 11/27) – The exhibition Interpreting Brooklyn appropriates the landscape of Brooklyn as a point of departure to commission new works by two artists in residence at Residency Unlimited, Kai-chun Chiang and Sean Wang. Inspired by the diverse neighborhood of South Williamsburg where El Museo de Los Sures is located, both artists will create works that integrate cultural elements stemming from their native Taiwan. The works presented take many forms including photography and video projections.

Kaichun Chiang, Williamsburg Buildings, photomontage, 2016

Kaichun Chiang, Williamsburg Buildings, photomontage, 2016


Closing soon:

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

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

Hung Liu: American Exodus (Nancy Hoffman Gallery, 9/8 – 10/22)

Qing Dynasty Peking: Thomas Child’s Photographs (Sidney Mishkin Gallery, Baruch College, 9/23 – 10/25)

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.

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

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

Hung Liu: American Exodus (Nancy Hoffman Gallery, 9/8 – 10/22)

Qing Dynasty Peking: Thomas Child’s Photographs (Sidney Mishkin Gallery, Baruch College, 9/23 – 10/25)

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)

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) 

Interpreting Brooklyn (Residency Unlimited/El Museo de Los Sures , 10/27 – 11/27/2016)

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

Liu Chang: Code is Beautiful ( Fou Gallery, 10/22 – 12/18)

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

Cheng Ran: Diary of a Madman (New Museum, 10/19 /2016 – 1/5/2017)

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: Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads presented by Princeton University Art Museum and on view at Scudder Plaza in front of Robertson Hall, home of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affaris in Princeton, NJ.  Photo by Andrew Shiue.