NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: February 24 – March 2, 2017


This week: A quasi-documentary on Chinese Korean War veterans and North Korean defectors in China; a talk about a Polish photojournalist who documented New York City’s Chinese community; performances by Abigail Washburn and Wu Fei, and recent Grammy Award-winner Wu Tong; readings and discussions on contemporary Chinese literature; two new exhibition listings; and more…

It’s the last weekend to see Ye Funa and Liang Ban: Self-Created Universe at Klein Sun Gallery; historic shadow puppet exhibition Pauline Benton and the Red Gate Exhibition at Flushing Town Hall; and Su Yu-Hsien and Cici Wu: A Disappearing Act at Triangle.

We’ve also updated the closing dates for two curent food-related exhibitions, Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant and Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy: Stories of Chinese Food and Identity in America.  Don’t keep putting off seeing the shows though.

A couple of things happening this Thursday, February 23 were omitted from last week’s post:

  • Bitter Money 《苦钱》 -An essential chronicler of modern China in constant flux, Wang Bing turns his camera this time on garment workers in Eastern China. His roving study of migrant laborers is a sometimes shocking, sometimes lulling immersion into a usually invisible swath of humanity. Wang’s steady gaze gives the sense of people (many of them teenagers) buffeted about by far more powerful forces, and mired in the daily grind. A prize-winner at last year’s Venice Film Festival, it’s another formidable effort from the director of ’Til Madness Do Us Part and Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks.  Screens as part of Film Society Lincoln Center’s Film Comment Selects series.Review by Variety.
    6:30 PM at Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center,144 W. 65th St.
  • Whereto Opening Reception – See below for information about the show curated by Lux Yuting Bai and featuring works by Huiqi He.6:30 – 9:30 PM at CP Projects Space, 132 W. 21st, 10th Floor
  • A Disappearing Act:  Conversation with Howie Chen, Su Yu-Hsien, and Cici Wu  – Join for an evening of conversation with artists Su Yu-Hsien and Cici Wu, moderated by Howie Chen. The discussion will focus on the two artists’ works currently on view at Triangle, touching upon a range of questions: What are the particular urgencies for Su and Wu to use the past as material, reference, and structure for new artistic production? How does reconstruction connect a specific history to the present in meaningful ways? How does this practice differ from earlier cinematic and conceptual manifestations around the turn of the millennium? What are the particular formalisms of this practice and how much does it rely on re-presentation and the weight of the original material?This public program is part of A Disappearing Act, an exhibition developed from archival research in an effort to reconstruct historical works that were either lost, fragmented, never realized, or inherently ephemeral.

    7 PM at Triangle, 20 Jay Street, #317, Brooklyn

  • Hand Pulled Noodles of Xi’an – The city of Xi’an, located in Northwest China, is home to a unique and delicious culinary heritage in which thick, hand-pulled noodles play an iconic and historical role. Xi’an was a bustling hub on the Silk Road, and its culinary legacy has impacted world cuisine. Join Jack Tchen, co-founder of The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) and professor at NYU, and Jason Wang, president and CEO of Xi’an Famous Foods and Biang!, as they discuss the origins of the famous Xi’an noodles and the significance of the desert landscape to local cuisine.6:30 PM at MOFAD Lab, 62 Bayard Street Brooklyn

Now that things we overlooked are out of the way, let’s see what’s around the bend:

March 3 – Sourcing the Grassroots, a workshop that “seeks to familiarize researchers with local and unconventional sources that reveal Maoist society at the margins”

March 5 – Artist Liu Chang, who had a show at Fou Gallery last fall, host the workshop, Intro to Generative Art: From Handicraft to Digital.

March 9 – 18 – Asia Week

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) The Swim – Presented in conjunction with Tales of Our Time, this film program features documentary and narrative works that explore topics shared with the exhibition, investigating concepts such as boundaries, territory, migration, and place.

The Swim (2016) is an art film with documentary characteristics. Artist He Xiangyu returned three times to his hometown in Kuandian—a poor county located by the Yalu River on the China–North Korea border. Through interviews with six Korean War veterans, also defectors from North Korea, and their families, The Swim unveils the cruel reality hidden behind the beautiful scenery of Kuandian and presents the utopian fantasy projected on individuals.

Directed by He Xiangyu, 2016
96 min., Mandarin, Liaoning dialect, and Korean with English subtitles

Friday, February 24, 1 PM
Saturday, February 25, 1 PM
Guggenheim Museum


2) Emile Bocian: Photojournalist for The China Post, NYC – From the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s, a Polish Jew named Emile Bocian, extensively photographed and documented New York City’s Chinese community for The China Post, a Chinese-language daily paper. Billing itself as “The Voice of the American Chinese,” The China Post was in publication from 1972 through 1986. At its height, the paper saw a nationwide circulation of over 30,000 copies, but gradually declined to 20,000 in 1986 when the paper suspended publication.

At The China Post, Emile took thousands of photographs of Chinese Americans, capturing images of protests, sporting events, daily life, trade shows, parades, opera performances, school graduations, etc. About a dozen photos of each event would be used in The Post’s photospreads, but Emile archived hundreds of his outtakes. By the late 1980s, many of these photos would find their way into the archives at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), located in the heart of Manhattan’s Chinatown.

Kevin Chu, Research Manager at MOCA, will discuss the interesting story of how twenty-five boxes labeled only as the Emile Bocian Collection, came into the Museum’s possession, and highlight various photographs and their significance in documenting the history of Chinatown and Asian American life.

Friday, February 24, 6 PM
Asian American / Asian Research Institute, CUNY, 25 West 43rd Street, Room 1000


3) A Musical Dialogue Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Center on U.S.-China Relations – Join for an evening of music, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Asia Society Center on U.S.-China Relations and the rich tradition of artistic collaboration between China and the United States. This anniversary concert features masters on the sheng, guzheng, and banjo, who all radiate infectious joy as they bend the rules of their traditional instruments.

Wu Tong, the renowned sheng player and vocalist, and a charter member of the Silk Road Ensemble, will perform the U.S. premiere of his new chamber piece, “Water Way,” and collaborate with renowned American visual artist Clifford Ross. Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations, says “‘Water Way’ evokes the spiritual power of Buddhism and the beauty and importance of water to our world.”

Abigail Washburn, a Grammy award-winning, Mandarin Chinese-speaking banjo player, and Wu Fei, a guzheng virtuoso and composer who recently relocated to Nashville, will kindly take a break from recording their first duo album to perform for us. Classical training, folk traditions, and a love for improvisation find harmony in their performance.

The Silk Road Ensemble’s album “Sing Me Home,” which features both Abigail Washburn and Wu Tong, recently won the 2017 Grammy Award for Best World Music Album.

Tuesday, February 28, 6 PM
Asia Society


4) A Reading by Jin Yucheng, Shanghai in Blossom – Jin Yucheng is a Chinese novelist, best known for his novel Blossoms which won the Mao Dun Literary Prize (2015) — one of most prestigious literature prizes in China. Yucheng started to publish works in 1985, at the age of 33. His maiden effort The Lost River was published by Mengya magazine, which won a national essay contest sponsored by Mengya magazine. He entered a Youth Writing Workshops, which was set up by the Shanghai Writers Association. In 1988, his novel, The Wind Birds, won a fiction Award sponsored by Shanghai Literature. At the same year, he was transferred to Shanghai Writers Association and worked as an editor of Shanghai Literature. In 2012, Jin Yucheng published Blossoms, a novel full of Shanghai dialect, which has gained popularity nationwide and won several literary awards: the 2nd Shi Naian Literature Prize, the 1st Lu Xun Literature Prize, and 9th Mao Dun Literature Prize.

The event will be held in Chinese and translated into English.

Tuesday, February 28, 7:30 PM
NYU China House Gallery, 8 Washington Mews


5) Reading “Shanghai in Blossom” with Writers from the Shanghai Writers Delegation – A discussion on contemporary Chinese literature with writer Jin Yucheng (金宇澄) and critics Mao Jian (毛尖) and Wenjian Ni (倪文尖)

Wednesday, March 1, 7:30 PM
NYU China House Gallery, 8 Washington Mews


6) Live Show! Person Place Thing with Randy Cohen: Gish Jen – Join acclaimed author Gish Jen in conversation with author and humorist Randy Cohen. This program will be a live-taping of Person Place Thing with Randy Cohen, an interview show based on this idea: people are particularly engaging when they speak not directly about themselves but about something they care about. Guests talk about one person, one place, and one thing that are important to them. The result? Surprising stories from great talkers.

Thursday, March 2, 6 PM
Museum of Chinese in America


7) Red Cliff 《赤壁》– In 208 A.D., in the final days of the Han Dynasty, shrewd Prime Minster Cao Cao convinced the fickle Emperor Han the only way to unite all of China was to declare war on the kingdoms of Xu in the west and East Wu in the south. Thus began a military campaign of unprecedented scale, led by the Prime Minister, himself. Left with no other hope for survival, the kingdoms of Xu and East Wu formed an unlikely alliance. Numerous battles of strength and wit ensued, both on land and on water, eventually culminating in the battle of Red Cliff. During the battle, two thousand ships were burned, and the course of Chinese history was changed forever. (anonymous, IMDB)

Introduced by Annette Juliano, Professor of Asian Art and History, Rutgers University – Newark; Guest Co-Curator of Art in a Time of Chaos: Masterworks from Six Dynasties China, 3rd-6th Centuries, China Institute.

Part of the five-film series Film Art Set in Times of Chaos: Chinese Martial Arts Films

Thursday, March 2, 6:30 PM
China Institute


1) The Great Wall -In this action-fantasy epic set in 11th century China, two mercenaries from the West (Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal) are captured by a military organization that are headquartered in a fortress on the Great Wall. In time, the duo get caught up in a battle between the Chinese warriors and a supernatural menace that the Great Wall was built to repel. Jing Tian, Andy Lau, Zhang Hanyu, Willem Dafoe, and Eddie Peng co-star. Directed by Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers), this collaboration with Hollywood is the most expensive Chinese film to date. (Jack Rodgers, Rovi)

The film is accused of white washing or white knighting (spoiler alert) and having a threadbare story but is beautiful and a lot of fun.

Opens at multiple theaters around the city February 17.


2) Duckweed乘风破浪》– An emotional story by popular blogger Han Han about the reconciliation between a father and his son. Ah Lang, a youth from a small town, thinks that his father Ah Zheng never understood his occupation and life. In a fateful occurrence, he is able to experience his father’s legendary and interesting life in the past.

Review by Variety

At AMC Empire 25


Opening and Newly Added:

1) Whereto (CP Projects Space, 2/23 – 3/3) – CP Projects Space at the School of Visual Arts presents Whereto, curated by MA Curatorial Practice fellow Lux Yuting Bai. The exhibition features the latest work of Huiqi He, who employs classical ink painting techniques to construct contemporary narratives.

Whereto reimagines the Chinese ink-and-wash tradition with a contemporary sense of space. Each piece represents an experimental, autonomous place in itself: a labyrinthine allegorical map; a cube of cubes repeating reflection; an abstract ink stream carrying layers of explicit and implicit messages. The exhibition, enveloping them all, aims to establish an intricate nexus of spatial relations.

Ink embodies the artist’s dialectical aesthetics. It flows in and out of paper, creating positive and negative spaces in one single movement. With their myriad changes and ambiguities, the artist’s enigmatic strokes force viewers to devise their own meanings. Whereto is a game of light and shadow, body and space, the real and the imaginary.

Opening reception: Thursday, February 23, 6:30 PM


2) Shen Wei: Between Blossoms (Flower Gallery, 3/2 – 4/22) – In his new photographic series Between Blossoms, New York-based Chinese photographer Shen Wei has taken a meditative journey across continents, from the United States to Europe and Asia. His seductive photographs capture a unifying sense of other-worldliness within the changing landscape, generating an abstracted sensation of place that he describes as “deeply connected to my inner melancholy, a dream-like state of mind.”

The images in Between Blossoms possess an inner stillness and tranquility, binding the influence of traditional themes of Chinese art, drawn from the natural environment, with the ancient Chinese philosophy of Qi – a powerful unseen life force within all natural phenomena. Shen Wei’s attention to the interactions of darkness and light, and negative or void spaces gives these hidden forces tangible form, drawing from the philosophical treatment of emptiness as solid space often found in Chinese painting. This can be seen in the near pitch-black void within Peach Tree, from which a lush, flower-studded tree emerges, and the dynamic energy within the central light-filled cavity in Monkey. The interplay of positive and negative elements also articulates oppositional emotional states of fear, attraction, joy, loneliness and absence.

Continue reading on the exhibition page

Shen Wei – ‘Peach Tree’, 2014. Chromogenic print, 13 3/8 x 20 in. (34 x 50.8 cm)


Closing soon:

Ye Funa and Liang Ban: Self-Created Universe (Klein Sun Gallery, 1/12 – 2/25)

Pauline Benton and the Red Gate Exhibition (Flushing Town Hall, 2/3 – 2/26)

Su Yu-Hsien and Cici Wu: A Disappearing Act (Triangle, 2/16 – 2/27/2017)

Whereto (CP Projects Space, 2/23 – 3/3)

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

Willem de Kooning | Zao Wou-ki (Lévy Gorvy Gallery, 1/19 – 3/11)

David Diao: HongKong Boyhood (Postmasters Gallery, 2/4 – 3/11)


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.

Ye Funa and Liang Ban: Self-Created Universe (Klein Sun Gallery, 1/12 – 2/25)

Pauline Benton and the Red Gate Exhibition (Flushing Town Hall, 2/3 – 2/26)

Su Yu-Hsien and Cici Wu: A Disappearing Act (Triangle, 2/16 – 2/27/2017)

Whereto (CP Projects Space, 2/23 – 3/3)

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

Willem de Kooning | Zao Wou-ki (Lévy Gorvy Gallery, 1/19 – 3/11)

David Diao: HongKong Boyhood (Postmasters Gallery, 2/4 – 3/11)

Vestigial Future (Gallery 456, 2/17 – 3/17)

Renqian Yang: Complementary Colors (Fou Gallery, 1/14 – 3/19)

Art In a Time of Chaos: Masterworks from Six Dynasties China, 3rd – 6th Centuries (China Institute, 9/30/16 – 3/19/17)

Construction and Contemplation: Noa Charuvi, Li Gang (Art100 Gallery, 2/16 – 3/31/2017)

Ho Sintung: Surfaced (Chambers Fine Arts, 2/2 – 4/1)

Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant (Museum of Food and Drink Lab, 11/11/16 – 4/2/17)

Shen Wei: Between Blossoms (Flower Gallery, 3/2 – 4/22)

Celebrating the Year of the Rooster (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1/25 – 7/4/2017)

Infinite Compassion: Avalokiteshvara in Asian Art (Staten Island Museum, 10/22/16 – 9/25/17)

Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy: Stories of Chinese Food and Identity in America (Museum of Chinese in America, 10/6/2016- 9/10/17) 

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 -10/9/17)

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: Pounder, pooch-in-residence at Postmasters Gallery, appreciate’s David Diao’s Not to Scale which is on view at as part of Hong Kong BoyHood through March 11.

The post has been updated to add two events coming up in March.