NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: December 16 – December 22, 2016

Wan Qingli – ‘Clearing After Snow’

This week: we’re visiting the Zao Wou-Ki exhibition at Asia Society in what we plan to be regular organized excursions to see exhibition; two documentaries — one about the struggles and dreams of female factory workers in China and another about the racially motivated murder of a Chinese American engineer in the Midwest in the 1980s; an exhibition organized by two Chinese curators, one who is visiting as part of a NYFA program that brings curators from China; and dinner with the rabbi who literally “wrote the book” about why Jewish people eat Chinese food on Christmas Day.

January 6 and 7: 17th Contemporary Dance Showcase: Japan + East Asia featuring two troupes from Taiwan

January 9 – A contemporary chamber concerto and a re-imagining of Hamlet by a Chinese opera star at Shanghai/New York: Future Histories

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) Tour of No Limits: Zao Wou-Ki with Beyond Chinatown – Beyond Chinatown is excited to have arranged a special docent-led exhibition-tour of No Limits: Zao Wou-Ki at Asia Society. Join us for this free museum event to view the extraordinary retrospective of Chinese-French painter, Zao Wou-Ki, whose early works draw from Matisse, Cézanne, and Chagall, yet are later inspired by both abstract expressionism and traditional Chinese painting.

Learn more about Zao Wou-Ki’s complex relationship to Chinese culture, and why it has taken so long for his first museum show to take place in the United States from our earlier article and this tour.

Wine and soft drinks will be available for purchase in the Asia Society lobby starting at 6:30 PM, where we will first gather before the tour begins. Friday nights are pay-as-you-wish at Asia Society, and the tour itself is free.

Friday, December 16, 6:30 – 8 PM
Asia Society


2) Factory Girls: China’s Female Migrant Workers  Filmmaker Siyan Liu  discusses her current documentary project, ‘Factory Girls’, on China’s female migrant workforce. In 2014, Siyan and her production team traveled to Dongguan, China, a major manufacturing hub and home to 1.7 million female factory workers, to conduct research into the lives of these workers, their struggles and motivations.  Factory Girls challenges our media-conditioned belief of “the oppressed Chinese factory worker,” and dives deep into the minds of these faceless masses through the personal stories of three factory girls. In a post-industrial modern China, each of these girls struggle with different paths to escape the factory, chasing their own versions of “The Chinese Dream.”

Friday, December 16, 6 – 8 PM
Asian American Asian Research Institute, Room 1000, West 43rd Street


3) Who Killed Vincent Chin? – Chatham Square Library’s ‘Chinese in America’ film series screens Who Killed Vincent Chin?, an Academy Award nominated documentary film (Best Documentary Feature, 1989). Associate Producer Nancy Tong will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A.

Vincent Chin, a successful engineer living out his dream of designing automobiles in Detroit, meets an unexpected and violent end when he is assaulted and killed by two men in the summer of 1982, following an altercation at a bar. Despite their bloody crime, the assailants initially receive lenient sentences due to a plea bargain. The troubling outcome of the case outrages civil rights advocates, who fight for justice and struggle to prove that Chin’s attackers had racist motivations.

This documentary is just as important in 2016 as it was when it was released. The themes of economic strife, crumbling blue collar industries, and the racial tensions that result from these struggles are all issues America is still dealing with to this day.

Saturday, December 17, 2 – 4 PM
Chatham Square Library, 33 East Broadway


4) When Jews and Chinese Unite: Why Jews Eat Chinese Food on Christmas – On no other day do Jews and Chinese come together like on Christmas. It has become a longstanding traditions for Jewish families across America to enjoy Chinese food on Christmas.

To celebrate and learn about this tradition, Jewish-Chinese Cultural Connection presents “When Jews and Chinese Unite: The History of Jews Eating Chinese on Christmas.” The person who “wrote the book” on this topic join for a special dinner and discussion. Rabbi Joshua Plaut is author of the book A Kosher Christmas which includes a chapter dedicated to the history and tradition of Jews eating Chinese food on Christmas.

Sunday, December 18, 5:30 – 7:30 PM
New Style Handpulled Noodles, 23 Pell St


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


Opening and Newly Added:

1) A Space-Time of Transitional Desires (107 Suffolk Street #413, 12/18 – 12/31) – A Space-Time of Transitional Desires takes New York City as the Activation Point to launch a series of exhibitions that focuses on the works of four artists Cui Fei, Chen Dongfan, Gu Zhongsheng, Zhang Wenxin, along with dance performance by Can Huang and poem reading by Zhu Judy at the opening. Curator Zu Yu and Mo Shucao will invite you to an immersive environment where artists’ transitional desires are intercepted for reinterpretations.

Opening reception: December 18, 2016, 6 – 9 PM; Performance at 7 PM
December 19 – 31, by appointment only:

 Martian and Marxian, HD video with sound, Dimension variable, 1’18’’, 2016 (video still)

Wenxin Zhang, Martian and Marxian, HD video with sound, Dimension variable, 1’18’’, 2016 (video still)


2) ITP Winter Show (ITP NYU, 721 Broadway, Fl. 4, 12/18 – 12/19) – A two-day exhibition of creative interactive projects by the graduate students of ITP (Interactive Telecommunication Program) at New York University, where an increasing number of talents from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan participate in the program.


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)

ITP Winter Show (ITP NYU, 721 Broadway Fl. 4, 12/18 – 12/19)

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)

ITP Winter Show (ITP NYU, 721 Broadway, Fl. 4, 12/18 – 12/19)

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, 12/18 – 12/31)

A Space-Time of Transitional Desires (107 Suffolk Street #413, 12/18 – 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, 9/30/16 – 3/19/17

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 – 8/6/17)

Cinnabar: The Chinese Art of Carved Lacquer, 14th – 19th Century (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 6/25/16 -10/9/27)

From the Imperial Theater: Chinese Opera Costumes of the 18th and 19th Centuries (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 6/25/16 – 10/9/17)

Colors of the Universe: Chinese Hardstone Carvings (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 6/25/16 – 10/9/17)

Lead image – Wan Qingli (萬青力) – Clearing After Snow (晴雪), 1983. Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, 68 x 49.4 cm.  The inscription translates as “Clearing after Snow. The aim of my life is to find enjoyment in mountains and trees. I feel embarrassed to promote my painting reputation to people. I hid my scrolls, burned incense, and laid down a fresh piece of paper. The bright moon illuminated the drizzly night. I painted this in the summer of the guihai year [1983], as I was lonely after my arrival in a foreign country. Sending this to my teacher, Professor Chu-tsing, for his comment, and to his wife, Yaowen, for her amusement. Your student, Wan Qingli, in New York.”  Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Chu-tsing Li Collection, Gift of B U.K. Li in honor of Chu-tsing Li and in memory of Yao-wen Kwang Li and Teri Ho Li