NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: November 18 – November 24, 2016


This week: How East Asian diasporic artists contributed to abstract art; an immersive voyage that explores ideas of transience and artistic practice; lectures on rival schools of landscape painting, Taiwanese aboriginals in present-day society, and funerary customs in contemporary China; comedian and Chinese comedy researcher Jesse Appell; Tan Dun introduces a work in progress; new exhibitions by camouflage artist Liu Bolin and mapping American history in Chinatown; and more…

The submission deadline for Wing On Wo & Co.’s and China Residencies’s 店面 Residency which presents an opportunity for artists to use their space and facilities for projects that will be featured on their Mott Street storefront display for Chinese New Year, has been extended to November 22.  Read more about the opportunity and apply here.

Also, on November 19, Chinese contemporary design shop Chop Suey Club helps you get ready for the holidays with a party with food, drink, and discounts on their trendsetting merchandise.

Coming up:A

November 29 – The Camera for Social Change: Photographic Art in Contemporary China with photographer and critic Bao Kun

November 29 and December 1 – The China Onscreen Biennial continues at Asia Society.

December 2 – Composer Rongxin Peng premieres piano and violin concertos and a vocal suite and becomes the first Asian to debut original compositions at Carnegie Hall.  Email us by 11:59 PM Saturday, November 19 for your chance to win tickets to the concert.

December 4 – A symposium on a pioneer of modern Chinese art, Liu Haisu

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) Asian Abstractions/Global Contexts – Presented in conjunction with the exhibition No Limits: Zao Wou-Ki and co-organized with Colby College Museum of Art, this symposium considers the significant contributions of Zao Wou-Ki and other diasporic East Asian artists to the international abstraction movement during the middle of the twentieth century. These artists lived and worked between two cultures and paved the way for the generation of East Asian artists active in the global art world today. Speakers will address a number of different issues related to East Asian culture in the work of these artists, including the role of East Asian ink painting and calligraphic traditions in abstract art, and the coalescence of Asian and western techniques within postwar painting. Keynote address by Eric Lefebvre, Director, Cernuschi Museum, Paris. Confirmed speakers include: Iftikhar Dadi, Associate Professor, Cornell University; Francesca Dal Lago, art historian and critic; Robert Harrist, Jane and Leopold Swergold Professor of Chinese Art, Columbia University; Pepe Karmel, Associate Professor of Art History New York University and Shen Kuiyi, Professor, Art History, Theory, & Criticism, University of California, San Diego.

Friday, November 18, 2:30 – 6 PM with live webcast
Asia Society, 725 Park Ave.


2) MOCAMIX with Jason Chu – A unique evening of storytelling through music and poetry, featuring Jason Chu.Jason is a rapper, poet, and activist; raised in Delaware, then attending Yale University, he is now based in Los Angeles. He has partnered with the White House to fight bullying in Asian-American communities, and the California government to speak out on mental health issues.

His new album, Arrivals, tells stories from his life, his family, and the community. Through freestyles, poetry, and these songs, he will take listeners on a journey through his experiences – and invite you to share and consider your own.

Friday, November 18, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre St.


3) MONO X: Never – Still  – Never – Still is a fantastical, 3-dimensional space-ship that navigates the virtual seas of moving images conceived by transnational Hong Kong artists, Jolene Mok and Carla Chan. Featuring large-scale projections alongside live sound performances by Grace Elaine Osborne, we embark on an immersive voyage through worlds marked by constant natural transformations – colossal clouds, unfolding cosmics, transitional living spaces and revisiting ghosts – a state of moving in-between natural, human and imaginary terrains that is perpetual and momentary at once.

In a new age of itinerant artists who live and work across shifting geographical/social landscapes, how does this ever-reaching and arriving become a part of their practice? How does moving, on screen or in life, propel this rhythmic cycle of emergence?

This multimedia performance is curated by independent artist and cultural worker Tiffany Fung, in collaboration with Mono No Aware X.

Friday, November 18, 7:15 PM (Doors 7 PM) and 8:30 PM (Doors 8:15 PM)
The CAVE home of LEIMAY, 58 Grand Street, Brooklyn


4) Traditional Chinese Landscape Painting: Northern & Southern Schools – Prof. Yanzhe He of Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, a renowned artist of the traditional Chinese landscape painting and author of many books on the subject, will focus this lecture on a comparison between the Northern School and the Southern School as well as between the Northern themes and the Southern themes in the history of the Chinese landscape painting. He will elaborate on all the major aspects involved in this comparison such as the intellectual ideas behind the images of the paintings, artistic styles and techniques as well as how the social backgrounds of individual artists likely affected their artistic styles. The speaker will also give a demonstration at the lecture of different techniques of brush work related to the Northern & Southern Schools.

Saturday, November 19, 2 – 4 PM
China Institute, 40 Rector Street


5) Dunhuang Inspired: An Afternoon with Tan Dun – Multifaceted composer and conductor Tan Dun—inspired by the caves in Dunhuang, China and especially the cave temple wall paintings at Mogao, which depict more than forty types of musical instruments—is at work on a new symphonic commission. This afternoon program offers a rare opportunity to hear Tan Dun discuss his creative process as a musician and composer, as well as a musical excerpts featuring demonstrations of his current research.

Sunday, November 20, 2 – 3:30 PM
Asia Society, 725 Park Ave.


6) The Great LOL of China with Jesse Appell – Jesse Appell, Beijing-based comedian and founder of the US-China Comedy Center, makes his New York City debut with a special evening of cross-cultural comedy. As a professional comedian in China, Jesse will share a comedy presentation titled “10 Things I Learned in China.” He will also show and perform some of his popular online videos that have been viewed more than 6,000,000 times in China. Opening for Jesse will be three other comedians who lived in China – Joe Schaefer, Turner Sparks, and Gus Tate.

Sunday, November 20, 5 – 7 PM
The Village Lantern, 167 Bleecker Street


7) Governing the Soul of Chinese Modernity – Andrew Kipnis, Professor of Anthropology in the College of Asia and the Pacific at The Australian National University will discuss death and funerary rights in Contemporary China. Specifically, through an examination of practices of memorialisation and funerary ritual in urban China, as well as Chinese Communist Party attempts to steer the evolution of these practices in reaction to “modernity,” Professor Kipnis attempts to tease out what is modern about the conceptions of soul implicit in contemporary Chinese dealings with death.

Tuesday, November 22, 12 PM
International Affairs Building, Room 918, Columbia University


8) Native Peoples of Taiwan in Present-day Society – Scott Simon of the University of Ottawa speaks in this lecture that is part of the Modern Taiwan lecture series at Columbia University.

Tuesday, November 22, 4:10 PM
Schermerhorn Hall, Room 963, Columbia University


9) Crashing the Party: An American Reporter in China with Scott Savitt and Jerome A. Cohen – Crashing the Party: An American Reporter in China is Scott Savitt’s singular account as one of the first Americans in post-Mao China. Arriving in Beijing in 1983 as an exchange student from Duke University, Scott stepped into an environment rife with political unrest and had the rare opportunity to witness a nation on the brink of monumental change. Join us at China Institute on Tuesday, November 22, where Mr. Savitt will tell stories of his experiences living through and reporting on China’s historic transformation, including his founding of Beijing Scene, China’s first independent weekly newspaper; befriending and working with a legendary group of Chinese artists, writers, and musicians; interactions with Chinese and American politics; and his time in prison.

Scott Savitt is a former foreign correspondent for The Los Angeles Times and United Press International in Beijing. His articles have been published in The Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and many other publications. He has been interviewed on NPR, BBC, ABC’s Nightline and the CBS News. He is the in-house Chinese-English translator for numerous human rights organizations. In 1994 he founded Beijing Scene, China’s first independent weekly newspaper. In 2003 he published China Now magazine. He’s the founding editor of the award-winning Contexts magazine. He was a visiting scholar at Duke University until his recent relocation to Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Tuesday, November 22, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
China Institute, 40 Rector Street


I Am Not Madame Bovary 《我不是潘金莲》 The latest from Chinese king of comedy Feng Xiaogang (冯小刚) is an incisive social satire examining corruption and divorce culture in Mainland China. Absurd and droll, it stars Fan Bingbing (范冰冰) as we’ve never seen her—all dressed down—as a spurned peasant from the provinces, traveling to Beijing to battle in a decade-long campaign to get a divorce on her own particular terms at any expense. Feng’s most visually inventive and stylistically indelible film to date, it garnered awards at San Sebastian and Toronto International Film Festival earlier this year.

Opens at Metrograph and AMC Empire 25 November 18


Opening and Newly Added:

1) Chinatown Invisible (Chinatown Soup, 16B Orchard St., 11/15 – 11/28) – An exhibition of abstracted cartography by professor, theorist, and artist Liska Chan. Mapmaking as creative practice assumes refreshing resonance in a time of turmoil. This exhibit uses mapping and drawing to reveal how the contemporary Chinatown landscape is a palimpsest of pivotal events and patterns in American history.

'1862'. Pencil on Stonehenge paper, 26 x 40 in.

‘1862’. Pencil on Stonehenge paper, 26 x 40 in.


2) Liu Bolin: Art Hacker (Klein Sun Gallery, 11/17 – 12/23) – Known as the “Invisible Man,” Liu Bolin is famous for disappearing himself into the environment in his photography works. The exhibition marks Liu Bolin’s shift towards the virtual world, exploring this new territory artistically through Post-Internet Art. This new body of work consists of appropriations of classical Masterpieces — da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Picasso’s Guernica — juxtaposed with a photograph of the devastating impact of the Tianjin explosions. Using complicated and precise hand-painted camouflage, Liu Bolin painstakingly recreates these images with scores of human subjects as his canvas. Through various methods, Liu Bolin’s new photographs have replaced the three subjects on numerous websites, which were targeted with image-search results on Google and Baidu, thus realizing the Hacker project. Neon installations of the URLs exhibited throughout the gallery pound home the transitory and delicate nature of the internet.

Liu Bolin, 'Guernica,' 2016. Archival pigment print 43 1/2 x 98 3/8 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Klein Sun Gallery.

Liu Bolin, ‘Guernica,’ 2016. Archival pigment print, 43 1/2 x 98 3/8 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Klein Sun Gallery.


3) To Thomas Ruff: This Is How Digital Photos Getting Damaged (Gallery 456, 11/18 – 12/16) – Taiwanese artist Sean Wang showcase photographic work that were taken by a low resolution digital camera in 2004. Due to the limitations of the screen as well as the human eye’s capacity for resolution, the revolution of digital cameras no longer brings us great excitement. In this exhibition about his last family trip, Wang tries to explore the relationship between digital photos and human life experiences. 

Sean Wang

Sean Wang, ‘Cruises,’ 2016.


Closing soon:

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)


Current shows:

Visit the exhibition calendar  for details for the current shows listed below. Check the museum or gallery’s website for hours of operation.

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)

Chinatown Invisible (Chinatown Soup, 16B Orchard St., 11/15 – 11/28)

Liu Fei – Zipped (Museum Quality, 11/3 – 12/1)

Cross the Border ( Wook + Flavio Gallery, 11/6 – 12/3 )

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

Yang Mian (M. Sutherland Fine Arts, 11/3 – 12/??; public viewing 11/3 – 11/5; by appointment through December)

To Thomas Ruff: This Is How Digital Photos Getting Damaged (Gallery 456, 11/18 – 12/16)

Liu Wei (Lehmann Maupin, 11/2 – 12/17)

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

Liu Bolin: Art Hacker (Klein Sun Gallery, 11/17 – 12/23)

Ai Weiwei 2016: Roots and Branches (Mary Boone Gallery, 11/5 – 12/23 )

Ai Weiwei 2016: Roots and Branches ( Lisson Gallery, 11/5 – 12/23 )

Ai Weiwei: Laundromat ( Deitch Projects – 18 Wooster St, 11/5 – 12/23 )

Love Ai Jing (Marlborough Gallery, 11/16 – 12/30)

Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant (11/11 – 12/31, Museum of Food and Drink Lab) 

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

Project Mah Jongg (Museum of Jewish Heritage , 10/15/16 – Jan 2017)

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

No Limits: Zao Wou-Ki (Asia Society, 9/9/16 – 1/8/2017)

In Perspective: Lin Yan, Song Xin and Cui Fei (Chambers Fine Art, 11/17 – 1/28/2017)

Tales of Our Time 故事新编 (Guggenheim Museum, 11/4/16 – 3/10/17)

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)

Show and Tell: Stories in Chinese Painting ( The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 10/29/16 – 8/6/2017)

Cinnabar: The Chinese Art of Carved Lacquer, 14th – 19th Century (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 6/25/16-10/9/2017)

From the Imperial Theater: Chinese Opera Costumes of the 18th and 19th Centuries (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 6/25/16-10/9/2017)

Colors of the Universe: Chinese Hardstone Carvings (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 6/25/16-10/9/2017)

Lead image: Seating at Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei, Taiwan.  Photo by Hai-hsin Huang