NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: November 25 – December 1, 2016

Frozen food and framed art

The post is up later than usual because of the holiday, but most organizers knew you weren’t probably away or busy doing holiday things.  So, the majority of events for covered in below begin on Tuesday — we’ve even been given Monday off to recover from the trauma of going back to work.

This week: Three talks at Columbia; a conversation about US-China relations since 1776(!); a community-focused panel discussion on Chinatown; the beautiful last two films of the China Onscreen Biennial; and the opening of an acclaimed film at IFC.

Coming up:

December 2 – A symposium that investigates the evolution of China through music since the Qing Dynasty.

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.

December 3 – Opening reception for a new show at inCube Arts featuring four Taiwanese artists.

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

December 7 – A history of Chinese food that traces the Chinese diaspora’s relationship with greater American society.

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) An Afternoon of Chinese Theater – The Chinese American Arts Council presents The West Lake 《白蛇傳》; a guzheng recital, and The Legend of Wang Baochuan and Xue Pinggui 《红鬃烈马》

Saturday, November 26, 2:30 PM
Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, 62 Mott Street


2) The Camera for Social Change: Photographic Art in Contemporary China – Photographer and critic, Bao Kun (鲍昆), who has said that in order for their works to be remarkable, photography students in China “should learn more politics, history or economics” speaks at Columbia.

Tuesday, November 29, 4 PM
Room 403, Kent Hall, Columbia University


3) Zhang Peili: Continuous Reproduction Tour and Conversation – Asia Society curator Michelle Yun and scholar Katherine Grube lead a tour of Asia Society’s current exhibition of the Zhang Peili work Continuous Reproduction followed by a private screening of two of his video works in the Museum’s collection, ‘Go Ahead, Go Ahead’ and ‘Scenic Outside the Window’. They will then lead a roundtable discussion on these works and Zhang Peili’s role as one of the leading artists from China who came of age during the social upheaval of the Cultural Revolution.

Tuesday, November 29, 4 PM
Asia Society


4) Taiwan’s Popular Culture and its Impact on China, East Asia, and Beyond Marc Moskowitz, University of South Carolina speaks in this lecture that is part of the Modern Taiwan lecture series at Columbia University.

Tuesday, November 29, 4:10 PM
Room 963, Schermerhorn Hall, Columbia University


5) Xinjiang Studies: The Third Wave – Peter Perdue, Professor of Chinese History, Yale University.  Introduced by Madeleine Zelin, Dean Lung Professor of Chinese Studies, Columbia University

Tuesday, November 29, 5:30 PM
Room 918, International Affairs Building, Columbia University


6) Sensing Chinatown: Local Expressions, Global Connections – What comes to mind when you think of the cultural life of Chinatown? How are Chinatown’s cultural offerings represented within the city? Among visitors? Please join us as we share our discoveries of Chinatown’s local cultural expressions highlighted in MOCA’s Welcome to Chinatown Map and how they reflect our connections to the larger community and surface pressing issues of the community.

Panel discussion followed by community conversation.

Aaron Reiss, radical cartographer and writer/producer of Welcome to Chinatown Map
Gary and Mei Lum, father and daughter team behind Wing On Wo & Co, the oldest store in Chinatown, NYC and The W.O.W Project
Andrea Louie, Executive Director, Asian American Arts Alliance
Moderated by Beatrice Chen, VP of Programs & Museum Experience, Museum of Chinese in America

Tuesday, November 29, 6:30 PM
Museum of Chinese in America


7) ATA 《照见》– Tianyu is a blind boy whose mother believes his only chance for a future is to become a champion disabled ping-pong player. Tianyu has other ideas – envisioning a much wider world than his mother understands. When he goes missing, she is forced to see things as he does in this beautiful, spiritually suffused debut feature from Tibetan writer-director Chakme Rinpoche.

Perry Lam of the Rochford Street Review is in awe of the film as an emotional and sensory experience.  the film when it screened at the Golden Koala Chinese Film Festival in Australia where the Rinpoche won Best Director.

Dir. by Chakme Rinpoche
2014. 94 mins. DCP. Color.

In Mandarin with English subtitles

Part of the series China Onscreen Biennial. See our coverage here.

Tuesday, November 29, 6:30 PM  6:30 PM
Asia Society


8) The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: The Complexities Guiding the Sino-U.S. Relationship – John Pomfret, a reporter for The Washington Post, will discuss his new book on how the United States and China have been dramatically intertwined since 1776, and what it means going forward, in conversation with Elizabeth Economy, C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society.

Pomfret’s new book, The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present, is a remarkable history of the two-centuries-old relationship between the United States and China, from the Revolutionary War to the present day. For more than two centuries, American and Chinese statesmen, merchants, missionaries, and adventurers, men and women, have profoundly influenced the fate of these nations. While we tend to think of America’s ties with China as starting in 1972 with the visit of President Richard Nixon to China, the patterns—rapturous enchantment followed by angry disillusionment—were set in motion hundreds of years earlier.

Wednesday, November 30, 6:30 PM with livestream available
Asia Society


9) Knife in Clear Water 《清水里的刀子》 In the far mountains of Ningxia province, Muslim elder Ma Zishan mourns his deceased wife. His son wants to sacrifice the family’s only bull in memory of his mother, yet Zishan’s sorrow and his love for the old animal leave him unsure of the correct path. Even prayers and the Imam don’t seem to erase his doubts… until one morning the bull stops eating and drinking. Has it seen the knife in the clear water? This lyrical first feature is the latest from the producing team of last year’s brash new Chinese indie and festival favorite Kaili Blues.

Variety says the film is a “somber elegy richly lensed like a rotating gallery of oil paintings” and its “its swarthy lighting of primitive, electricity-free interiors and blending of human figures into stunning images of parched, mountainous terrain in Ningxia do evoke the abstract-realism of Wyeth and the rural lyricism of Millet.”

Dir. by Wang Xuebo
2016. 93 min. DCP. Color.

New York Premiere
In Mandarin, with English subtitles

Part of the series China Onscreen Biennial.  See our coverage here.

Thursday, December 1, 6:30 PM
Asia Society


1) Old Stone 《老石》 – A Chinese taxi driver finds himself plunged into a Kafkaesque nightmare where no good deed goes unpunished. Beginning as a gritty social-realist drama before U-turning into a blood-drenched noir, ‘Old Stone’ follows the repercussions of a car accident where life is cheap and compassion is ruinously expensive.

The Hollywood Reporter says the film “deploys powerful performances and eerie imagery” and Variety says, “Channeling the style of gritty mainland independent films but without the usual longueurs, the film deftly morphs into a suspense thriller with Dostoevskyan undertones”.

Opens at IFC Center on November 30


2) 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:

We’re keeping an eye out.


Closing soon:

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: Frozen food and framed art at Asian Food Market in Plainsboro, NJ.  Photo by Andrew Shiue