NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: December 2 – December 8, 2016

Min Qiji

Things are quieting down a little as the holiday season arrives, but this week has lots to offer: a symposium on how Chinese music has been an important part of cultural exchange; new exhibitions at inCube Arts, Tenri Gallery, and a new Chelsea gallery founded by art aficionados from China; Asian American Arts Alliance’s holiday market; Min Xiao-Fen at a showcase of New York’s experimental music scene; emerging composer Rongxin Peng’s works at Carnegie Hall; events relating to Asian Americans’ and Chinese thoughts on and expectations for incoming president, Donald Trump; talks on Chinese literature and art and Chinese food in America; Taiwan’s relation with China; a neo-noir film about the breakdown of rule of law; and a film that earned its director a Golden Horse Award.

Coming up:

December 8 – 31 – 20-film series showcasing the career of Maggie Cheung at Metrograph.

December 10 – Algorithmic art workshop with Liu Chang at Fou Gallery.

December 11 – Filmmakers Siyan Liu and Danni Wang talks about their documentary film Factory Girls.

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) Sounding China in the World: A Workshop on Musical Circulations to and from China from the Qing Dynasty Through the Present – This workshop investigates the evolving place of China in the world and of the world in China through the important and underutilized lens of music. Examining circulations of music and their connections to processes of knowledge formation, we will consider the ways diverse musics have been transmitted, reformulated, and integrated in contexts ranging from the eighteenth century Qing court to contemporary southern China. We aim to generate productive dialogue through trans-historical perspectives across and through disciplines in order to reassess China’s central role in the formation of a globalized culture from the Enlightenment through the present.

Friday, December 2, 9:30 – 5 PM
Room 701C, Dodge Hall, Columbia University


2) Monk Comes Down the Mountain 《道士下山》 – From internationally renowned filmmaker Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine, The Emperor and the Assassin) comes a fable of good versus evil from a book by Xu Haofeng (who co-wrote The Grandmaster) in which a young monk embarks on an adventurous journey after being kicked out of his monastery. As he faces the trials, tribulations, and seduction of the real world for the first time, he encounters many masters along the way, including Boss Zha (Chang Chen), an opera singer with a knack for spears, and Zhou Xiyu (Asian pop superstar Aaron Kwok), a broom wielding Taoist. Each step along the way invites increasingly impressive feats of martial arts skill and buoyant cinematic ingenuity.

Dir. Chen Kaige, 2015
123 mins
In Mandarin with English subtitles

Friday, December 2, 7:30 PM
Museum of the Moving Image


3) Hidden Melody – Composer Rongxin Peng, an emerging composer in the style of late-Romantics and early 20th century composers premieres a piano concerto, violin concerto, and vocal suite.

Friday, December 2, 8 PM
Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, Carnegie Hall


4) Lu Xun: Alternative Cosmopolitanism and the Future – Lu Xun (1881-1936) has been universally considered to be the founding father of modern Chinese literature, particularly, of modern Chinese fiction. His canonical status in this regard is beyond dispute. But the lesser known or often misunderstood fact is that Lu Xun was also instrumental in promoting modern Chinese poetry in terms of innovating its form and expanding its boundaries in many ways, by re-articulating its relationship with world poetry and calling for an alternative cosmopolitanism. Lu Xun’s vision is still extremely relevant today as we envision contemporary Chinese poetry and its future.

Part of the series Expanding the Boundaries of Chinese Poetry.

Saturday, December 3, 2 PM
China Institute, 40 Rector Street


5) Symposium on Liu Haisu, Pioneer of Modern Chinese Art – Liu Haisu was a prominent twentieth-century Chinese painter and a noted art educator. He excelled at combining traditional Chinese painting methods with European techniques, especially those of van Gogh and Cézanne, and promoted this style as a model for revolutionizing art education in China. As the leader of art schools in Shanghai and Nanjing, Liu exerted extraordinary influence. The scion of a distinguished literary family, Liu studied calligraphy under Kang Youwei and traditional landscape and flower painting under Wu Changshi and Chen Hengke. He became one of the founders of the Shanghai Academy, the first art college in modern China. During the 1920s and ’30s he organized several important national and international exhibitions and toured Japan and Europe, where he studied Western techniques and exhibited his own works. As a teacher, Liu maintained that painters should combine a knowledge of formal art theory with their natural talent and personal judgment, a departure from the Chinese tradition of copying the compositions and techniques of old masters. His works in traditional Chinese style were free-flowing and brilliant in color.

Speakers include:

Ms. Liu Chan, daughter of Liu Haisu, Guest Professor at Nanjing University of the Arts, Honorary President of the Liu Haisu Gallery in Changzhou
Mr. Chen Lusheng, Former Vice President of the National Museum of China
Ms. Zhang Anna, President of Changzhou Liu Haisu-Xiayiqiao Art Museum

Sunday, December 4, 2 PM
China Institute, 40 Rector Street


6) ¡ The Dither Extravaganza ! – Jazz and avant-garde pipa player and composer Min Xiao-Fen plays her work Mao, Monk and Me in this showcase of New York’s experimental music scene.

Sunday, December 4, 5 – 10 PM
17 Frost Theater of the Arts, 17 Frost St, Brooklyn


7) Call for Participation: Asian Americans Talk Trump –  Are you a New York-based Asian American? Do you have any recommendations for President-elect Trump? Asia Society would like you to participate in a new video project.

Come ready to answer: What advice do you have for the 45th president of the U.S.A.? Each participant will be given one minute to speak to the camera — we’ll post an edited compilation video to our YouTube channel. Let your voice be heard!

Tuesday, December 6, 11 AM – 2 PM, 5 – 8 PM
Asia Society

Wednesday, December 7, 11 AM – 6 PM
We Work Dumbo Heights, 81 Prospect Street, Brooklyn


8) Asian American Arts Alliance Holiday Pop-Up Market – This holiday season, support your local artists by doing some gift-shopping with the Asian American Alliance. Enjoy an evening of food, indie-art, and all-around hand-crafted awesomeness from nearly 30 independent artists and boutique shops.

Tuesday, December 6, 6:30 – 9 PM
W83, 150 W. 83rd St.


9) 725 Salon: Chinese Perspectives on the U.S. Election and the Future of a Changing America – As President-elect Donald Trump begins to choose key appointees for his administration, it is worth taking stock of the implications of an arguably changing America for Chinese all over the world. The U.S. election has drawn unprecedented attention from Chinese observers of the United States and given rise to divergent views among Chinese people. How and why has the election caused such division? How do Chinese see the relationship between the two powers changing? How has the election reshaped their views of the United States? New Yorker magazine staff writer Fan Jiayang and Beijing-based artist Li Shurui will speak to Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations Orville Schell in a conversation moderated by Ouyang Bin, Associate Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations.

NOTE: This program will be in Mandarin Chinese, no translation provided.

Tuesday, December 6, 6:30 – 8 PM, livestream available
Asia Society


10) Food and the Chinese American Journey: A Conversation with Anne Mendelson and Kian Lam Kho – In her new book, Chow Chop Suey: Food and the Chinese American Journey, culinary historian Anne Mendelson uses cooking to trace different stages of the Chinese community’s footing in the larger white society in America. Please join Anne Mendelson and Kian Lam Kho, food writer and co-curator of MOCA’s exhibition, Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy: Stories of Chinese Food and Identity in America for a thought-provoking conversation on the history and impact of American Chinese food.

Wednesday, December 7, 6:30 PM
Museum of Chinese in America


11) Taiwan’s China Dilemma – Despite similar cultures and extensive economic ties, Taiwan and China have not achieved a stable political relationship, let alone progress toward the unification that both governments once claimed to seek. Join author Syaru Shirley Lin as she introduces her book, Taiwan’s China Dilemma: Contested Identities and Multiple Interests in Taiwan’s Cross-Strait Economic Policy, and explains this puzzle by examining the connection between Taiwan’s consolidating national identity and its oscillating economic policy toward China. (MOCA)

Wednesday, December 7, 12 PM, moderated by Andrew J. Nathan
Room 918, International Affairs Building, Columbia University

Thursday, December 8, 6:30 PM, followed by book signing.
Museum of Chinese in America


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”.

Adding to her review for China Film Insider, Samantha Culp adds on social media that the film is a must watch for those interested in contemporary China and the “moral costs of an unstable rule of law and widespread social precarity.

At IFC Center.


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.

Director Feng Xiaogang won Best Director for the film at the Golden Horse Awards this past week.

At AMC Empire 25


Opening and Newly Added:

1) Residency Exhibition: Once There Was There Wasn’t (NARS Foundation, 11/22 – 12/6) – Taiwanese artist Ming-Jer Kuo, among other nine artists, is showcasing his new body of work completed during a residency at the New York Art Residency & Studios (NARS) Foundation. Kuo has been deeply fascinated by the city as a changing and extremely complex system, whose form is partially revealed through maps.  He has been trying to work with these data retrieved from the internet for his creative process.

Ming-Jer Kuo, 'Deux ou trois choses que je sais d'elle'(Two or three things I know about her), 2016. Mixed Media (Recycled Ethernet Cable, Duct Tape, Wire, Monofilament Line) 6x2x3 feet.

Ming-Jer Kuo, ‘Deux ou trois choses que je sais d’elle'(Two or three things I know about her), 2016.
Mixed Media (Recycled Ethernet Cable, Duct Tape, Wire, Monofilament Line)
6 x 2 x 3 feet.


2) Impermanence vs. Permanence Healing Art (Tenri Culture Institute, 12/2 – 12/8) – Tenri Cultural Institute presents a unique interactive exhibition “Impermanence vs. Permanence Healing Art” featuring artists Akihiko Izukura and Ines Sun. The participatory exhibition requires both artist and participant to experience the dynamic of the body and mind. Human’s five senses become sharpened in the silence during 16 minuses of non-verbal communication.  At this particular time, one could use this method daily to block the noise, and discover the permanent true self beyond the physical body.  This ceremonial 16 minutes incorporates tea making, drinking and Chinese calligraphy practice, is set in a silk tea hut, which resembles a silk cocoon.

Opening reception December 2, 6 – 8 PM at Tenri Culture Institute, 43A West 13th Street.


3) For a Better Tomorrow (inCube Arts, 12/3 – 12/31) – Curated by HSU Fong-Ray, the exhibition includes mixed-media installations, photography and video works, gathers four artists from Taiwan: CHEN Po-I ,LIN Yu-En, TENG Chao-Ming, and WU Chi-Yu.  A seemingly ironic slogan, “For a better tomorrow” is intended to underline the status quo where we are faced with a structural problem haunted by neoliberalism. 

Opening reception on December 3, 6 – 8 PM at inCube Arts, 314 West 52nd Street.

LIN Yu-En, The Cement Bags We Traded for with Homes and Fields#2, Photograph, 60 x 45 cm, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.

LIN Yu-En, The Cement Bags We Traded for with Homes and Fields#2, Photograph, 60 x 45 cm, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.

4) A Fine Line (Art100 Gallery, 12/8/16 – 2/6/17) – Art100 Gallery opens its doors on December 8th in a ground floor, 3,000 square foot space on the corner of 25th Street and 11th Ave. in Chelsea, the first exhibition space in the United States of China’s Bai Jia Lake International Group.  The inaugural exhibition, A Fine Line, features four artists with roots in France, Iran, China, and the Bronx; whose distinctive use of simple materials evokes cityscapes, landscapes, and the terrain of the senses. Olivier Catté, Mahmoud Hamadani, Alan Sonfist, and Wang Huangsheng – each has his own way of literally grabbing hold of line and texture to fashion an opening for the viewer to re-examine the physical reality around us.

Opening reception on December 8, 6 – 8 PM at Art100 Gallery, 555 West 25th Street.

Wang Huangsheng, Moving Visions 160618, 2016, ink on paper, 27.2 x 54.3 in.

Wang Huangsheng, Moving Visions 160618, 2016, ink on paper, 27.2 x 54.3 in.


Closing soon:

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

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


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.

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

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

Residency Exhibition: Once There Was There Wasn’t (NARS Foundation, 11/22 – 12/6)

Impermanence vs. Permanence Healing Art (Tenri Culture Institute, 12/2 – 12/8)

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)

For a Better Tomorrow (inCube Arts, 12/8 – 12/31)

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

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)

A Fine Line (Art100 Gallery, 12/8/16 – 2/6/17)

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: Min Qiji (1580 – 1661) – An illustration by Min Qiji (1580 – 1661) that depicts the rescue of Cui Yingying from a monastery that had been surrounded by bandits, and episode from ‘The Romance of the Western Chamber’ (aka, The Story of the Western Wing, 《西厢记》). The illustration is one 20 woodblock prints for the Yuan dynasty romantic comedy play by Wang Shifu (王實甫). Image from Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst Köln, Inv. Nr. R 62,1 (5)