NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: December 9 – December 15, 2016


In between holiday shopping, final exams and projects, and holiday parties, you might want to check out a talk about a Chinese writer’s friendship with a Japanese intellectual in 1930s; a generative art workshop; Huisi He’s consideration of the past; and Playback Theater’s performance that explore introspection and brings out the actor in you.  Swing by a few exhibitions while you’re out and about.

If you’ve been planning to see the No Limits: Zao Wou-Ki exhibition at Asia Society, you may want to wait until December 16 and join a special tour has been arranged for Beyond Chinatown.  We’ll announce details and set up a Facebook event page soon.

Edit: We added Printed Matter’s Chinese art book table to the ongoing listing.

Coming up:

December 16 – Filmmakers Siyan Liu and Danni Wang talks about their documentary film Factory Girls.

December 17 – Academy Award-nominated documentary Who Killed Vincent Chin?

January 13 – Wu Hongfei at Webster Hall

January 22 – Enno Cheng (鄭宜農) at Rockwood Music Hall

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) Friendship in a Time of War: Lu Xun and Uchiyama Kanzō – Joshua Fogel, Professor of History, York University talks with moderator Eugenia Lean, Director, Weatherhead East Asian Institute; Associate Professor of Chinese History, Columbia University about the relationship between writer Lu Xun, who has been called the “greatest writer Asia produced in the 20th century” and the Japanese intellectual Uchiyama Kanzō who ran a famed bookstore that was the venue for discussion promoting Sino-Japanese exchanges and friendship in the 1930s and later became the first head of the Japan-China Friendship Association.

Friday, December 9, 12 PM
Room 918, International Affairs Building, Columbia University


2) Creative Coding for Artists Workshop with Liu Chang – This unique workshop, the first in the Fou Classroom 否教室 series, is for who wants to use coding to make generative art, design, animation and typography. The purpose of the workshop is to understand that code is a tool to bridge art and mathematics and extend the possibilities of coding as a powerful tool for artists, designers, writers, activists, etc.

Liu Chang will introduce the idea of algorithmic art and the process and technique of her work. During the workshop, she will cover some basic knowledge of Processing software and coding skills. Attendees will be able to practice the technique and make generative art. By the end of workshop, all attendees will create an art piece and bring the printout copy home.

After the workshop, Fou Gallery will invite all the audience for an afternoon reception and artist tour for the Liu Chang: Code is Beautiful exhibition.

Learn more about Liu Chang from our interview with her.

Saturday, December 10, 3 PM
Fou Gallery, 410 Jefferson Ave, #1, Brooklyn


3) Playback Theater Performance – Stage Ai presents Playback Theater, an improvised form of interactive public theater with no set script that encourages dialogue, listening, empathy and acceptance.  Performance exercises focus on the intuitive development and creation of the body, sound and drama arts.

With their background in theater and psychology, the group, founded by first and second generation Chinese, aims to serve the Chinese community.

Saturday, December 10, 4 PM
Teachers College, 525 W 120th St., Columbia University


4) Three Friends Sharing Their Work: An Evening at The Sunview – Performance artist Huise He, one of three artists presenting works, presents A Journey to the Past, a three part choreography that outlines narratives of escape, embrace, and retrospection.  “The past can haunt you even though the places you left are far behind…the only way to get away from the past is to face it with courage and faith,” she muses.

Nathaniel Hendrickson and Christopher Watkins will also give performances

Thursday, December 15, 7 PM
Sunview Luncheonette, 221 Nassau Ave., Brooklyn


1) Maggie Cheung: Center Stage  – Graceful and tensile, Maggie Cheung has made a tremendous impact on visual culture throughout her wide-ranging career, becoming the image of contemporary Chinese femininity recognized the world over. Born to Shanghainese parents in Hong Kong and an on-and-off resident of Paris, London, and China, Cheung is a fluid, cosmopolitan figure, fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin, Shanghainese, English, and French. Coming to film from a modeling and beauty pageant career in the 1980s, she transcended her early roles as eye candy in formulaic romantic comedies for the Hong Kong studio system; went on to participate in the local revolution in action filmmaking; started a long and definitive association with Wong Kar-Wai in his debut feature As Tears Go By; and devastatingly resurrected the pre-revolutionary Shanghainese silent screen goddess Ruan Ling-yu in Stanley Kwan’s landmark 1992 film Center Stage. From there Cheung achieved international fame, collaborating with Olivier Assayas on Irma Vep and Clean—for which she became the first Asian actress to win a prize at Cannes. With a 20-film retrospective, all on 35mm, Metrograph is proud to salute this otherworldly presence who evokes old world glamour and modern transnational elegance with a body of work straddling East and West—the quintessential Chinese screen icon of our time. (Metrograph)

Visit the series page for the films and screening times.

December 8 – 21
Metrograph, 7 Ludlow Street


2) abC – Art Book in China – Printed Matter presents abC (‘Art Book in China’) a store display of artists’ book made by Chinese artists. abC, the first book fair that gathers and showcases independent publishing organizations and individuals in China, was founded in 2015 by DREAMER FTY (夢廠) in Hangzhou, and traveled to Shanghai and Beijing in 2016. As a continuation of this event, Printed Matter has made a selection of titles featured in abC 2016 alongside selections from the store’s catalogue of drawings, photographs, comics and conceptual book-works that represent the diverse and vibrant energy of Chinese book artists. Books were hand-carried by Chang Yuchen (常羽辰) from Beijing to New York.

November 27 – December 26
Printed Matter, 231 11th Avenue


3) Pop-Up Art Shop Project 001: Sex & Love – The newly-established inspiring art organization, ARTUP, presents a series of unique theme- oriented pop-up art projects, Pop-Up Art Shop ProjectT. Their first pop-up exhibition will be on view in New York City before its launch in Beijing.

“Sex & Love” is the first theme of the Pop-Up Art Shop ProjectT. Five young New York- based artists create artworks in the form of painting, photography, and other mediums to tell their narrative concerning humankind’s most universal topics with an in-depth meaning happening in New York City.

December 8 – 15
XY Atelier Gallery, 81 Hester Street


4) Sword Master 《三少爺的劍》 In this beautifully shot 3D wuxia epic produced by Tsui Hark (徐克), a powerful swordsman is haunted by the destructive impact his deadly talents have on others. Weary of the bloodshed and violence from the martial arts world, he banishes himself to the humble life a vagrant, wandering the fringes of society. But his violent past refuses to let him go quietly. The master swordsman must regain the ability to wield his sword and fight those disrupting the peace he so desperately craves.

Opens at AMC Empire 25 December 9.


5) 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


Opening and Newly Added:

We’re keeping an eye out…

Closing soon:

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)


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.

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: Piles of cabbages seen in a neighborhood near the Beijing’s North Second Ring Road.  This autumn classic sight has origins in a government program that offered to urban residents subsidized cabbages grown in rural areas to sustain them in winter months.  Photo by and courtesy of Jennifer Conrad.