NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: March 3 – March 9, 2017

Escorting the Deity

This week: A workshop for those interested in unconventional primary sources from China; a talk about Armenians in China; a collaboration between a Taiwanese vibraphonist and a Japanese violinist; an exhibition walkthrough of Tales of Our Time led by curator Xiaoyu Weng; a performance of a Chinese play inspired by The Vagina MonologuesChungking Express at Metrograph; the opening of a new exhibition at Asia Society; and the opening of an exhibition of 19th century photographs from China; and more…

Three shows really worth seeing, Tales of Our Time 故事新编 at Guggenheim Museum, Willem de Kooning | Zao Wou-ki at Lévy Gorvy Gallery, and HongKong Boyhood close next weekend.  The first two are both on the Upper East Side; so, they can both be seen the same day.  Don’t wait until the last weekend!

We’ll also be on the lookout for Chinese artists at the Armory Show, Volta NY, Art on Paper, and Spring Break shows going on this week.

We learned earlier this week that a filmed version of the dance performance Huang Yi & Kuka is being screened March 2 at 7:15 at Elebash Recital Hall, Segal Theatre Center, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue.  Here’s the description:

Huang Yi & Kuka is a film shot in 2D and 3D that attempts to capture the unique performance and relationship between choreographer, media artist and dancer Huang Yi and an eight foot tall Kuka industrial robot. Filmed over eight days with twelve cameras, 3LD attempted to capture the film inside out and directed, produced, and edited the film as part of 3LD’s cross platform production program 3LD/3D+.

Dance works particularly well in 3D, so it’s worth seeing how the incredible choreography between man and machine was captured and is portrayed.

Here’s the video teaser to the 2015 performances:

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, hosts the workshop, Intro to Generative Art: From Handicraft to Digital.

March 9 – 18 – Asia Week and Asia Art Fair New York

March 16 and 17 – Dalei Zhang’s The Summer is Gone 《八月》at the New Directors/New Films 2017 series

March 17 – 23 – A weeklong run of Edward Yang’s Taipei Story 《青梅竹馬》

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) Sourcing the Grassroots: New Methods and Unconventional Sources in PRC History – “Sourcing the Grassroots” is a workshop that seeks to familiarize researchers with local and unconventional sources that reveal Maoist society at the margins. The impetus for the workshop follows the work of recent PRC scholars such as Jeremy Brown, Michael Schoenhals, Yang Kuisong and others, who have turned to “grassroots sources” (also known as 垃圾资料) as a complementary archive. These sources have enabled a recent historiographical shift away from state-centered narratives in favor of new approaches to issues such as social classification, petty crime, local religion, and medical practices from the vantage point of everyday life. As you are all no doubt aware, restrictions on historical research in Chinese archives have continued to tighten over the past few years, and use of grassroots sources has already become a commonplace if not necessary.

Visit the event page for details about the morning and afternoon sessions.

Friday, March 3, 10 AM – 6 PM
International Affairs Building, Room 918, Columbia University


2) Don’t Fall Off the World: Armenian Communities in China from the 1880s to the 1950s 
Hundreds of Armenians journeyed eastward to China in the late 19th century in search of opportunity, anchoring themselves in major cities, as well as in Harbin, a town that rose to prominence with the construction of the Chinese Eastern Railway. A few thousand others arrived in the region escaping the Armenian Genocide and turmoil in the Caucasus in the years that followed. Many of these Armenians coupled their personal success with a dedication to community life, helping build small but vibrant communities (even a church and community centers) in Harbin, Shanghai, Tientsin, and other cities, despite conflicts, war, and foreign occupation that beset the history of China in the first half of the 20th century. In this illustrated lecture, Mouradian presents the rich, yet understudied, history of the Armenian communities in China based on interviews and archival research conducted in China, Armenia, Lebanon, Europe, and the U.S.

Friday, March 3, 6:30 – 8 PM
Faculty House, Columbia University


3) Omurasu: Yuhan Su + Tomoko Omura and Karolina Beimcik’s Zorya– Omurasu is an experimental electric duo by a vibraphonist Yuhan Su and a 5-string violinist, Tomoko Omura. The night will be its first performance and collaborating with a media artist, Poyen Wang.

The set will be followed by Zorya is a project created by Polish singer and violinist, Karolina Beimcik.

Friday, March 3, 7 PM
ShapeShifter Lab, 18 Whitwell Place, Brooklyn


4) Call of Heroes 《危城》 – When a spoiled young man is accused of triple murder, his father—a powerful general who has grown into a vicious and depraved warlord—threatens to destroy the town if his son is convicted. It leaves villagers with an impossible choice: let a guilty man go free, or face the consequences of pursuing justice. Featuring action choreography by Sammo Hung, Variety has called the film “a glorious throwback to Shaw Brothers.”

Dir. Benny Chan
2016, 120 mins, Digital projection
In Cantonese with English subtitles

Friday, March 3, 7:30 PM
Museum of the Moving Image


5) Spring Exhibition Tour and Dessert Tasting Party – A walk through Fou Gallery’s current exhibition Renqian Yang: ‘Complementary Colors’ with a three-course tasting of desserts inspired by the exhibition designed and prepared by pastry chef Yuezhou Zhu.

Saturday, March 4, 3 – 6 PM
Fou Gallery, 410 Jefferson Avenue, Brooklyn


6) Chungking Express 《重庆森林》 – A hot-shot to the heart, pop masterpiece Chungking Express tells the stories of two lovelorn cops (Takeshi Kaneshiro and Tony Leung) and the women who baffle them (Brigitte Lin and Faye Wong), with a bifurcated structure like the A and B-sides of a 45. Wong’s international breakthrough introduced wide audiences to a rich, sensorial brand of filmmaking to disappear into, sink into, live inside, a voluptuary world bigger and brighter than our own, but just as heartbreaking.

Saturday, March 4, 9:15 PM
Sunday, March 5, 3:15 PM
Metrograph, 7 Ludlow Street


7) Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company: CrossCurrent IV – CrossCurrent IV is an unprecedented project by Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in NY, and Flushing Town Hall, offering a dynamic showcase of superb dancers/choreographers from Taiwan. A panel discussion will follow the works of internationally renowned choreographer Kun-Yang Lin, leading principal of Martha Graham Dance Company Pei-Ju Chien Pott, and National Endowment of the Arts Choreography Fellow Nai-Ni Chen.

Sunday, March 5, 1 PM
Flushing Town Hall


8) Intro to Generative Art: From Handcraft to Digital – We are in a special era surrounded by numerous emerging technologies that can be applied to the creative practice to enrich creation or generate new ideas. Through this workshop participants will learn about the history and context of “generative art”, as well as basic coding skills through using Processing, an open-source programming software. The instructor, Liu Chang, will lead a series of activities as a metaphor for attendees to better understand generative flow, algorithm, and code logic, will also provide the syllabus and resources of coding tutorial, examples, books, and websites.

What’s generative art? Generative art refers to any art practice where the artist creates a process, such as a set of natural language rules, a computer program, a machine, or other procedure invention, which is then set into motion with some degree of autonomy contributing to or resulting in a completed world of art.

Learn more about Liu Chang from our interview with her during her show at Fou Gallery last fall.

Sunday, February 5, 1 – 4 PM
Queens Museum


9) Our Vagina Ourselves – Inspired by The Vagina Monologues and staged by a group of students who hope to spark some new angles for the Chinese-speaking communities here when thinking of the issues women facing back in China, Our Vagina Ourselves is an independent theater play created by BCome, a grassroots feminist group based in Beijing. Narrating from the feminist perspective, the show tells stories about Chinese women who fight for the rights of self-body determination and against gender-based violence, in a both vivid and humorous way.

Sunday, March 5, 7 PM
777 Theatre, 777 8th Avenue


10) Connecting Empires: Shipwrecks, Ceramics, and Maritime Trade in Ninth Century Asia – In this members-only lecture, Stephen A. Murphy, Curator for Southeast Asia at the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM), Singapore and Curator-in-Charge for the Tang Shipwreck Gallery at the ACM tells the story of the discovery of the Belitung shipwreck and explores its precious cargo now on display both in New York and Singapore. The exhibition Secrets of the Sea: A Tang Shipwreck and Early Trade in Asia is jointly organized by Asia Society and the Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore.

Tuesday, March 7, 6:30 PM
Asia Society


11) Tales of Our Time: A Curator’s Perspective with Xiaoyu Weng – A walkthrough of the current Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum exhibition Tales of Our Time led by Xiaoyu Weng, the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Associate Curator of Chinese Art. Xiaoyu Weng will discuss her curatorial approach for this exhibition and elaborate on her experience working directly with artists to commission new artworks for the museum’s permanent collection.

Wednesday, March 8, 4:30 PM
Guggenheim Museum


12) Legend of the Black Scorpion 《夜宴》 – A loose adaptation of Hamlet, Legend of the Black Scorpion, which was released in the United States as The Banquet, is set in an empire in chaos. The Emperor, the Empress, the Crown Prince, the Minister and the General all have their own enemies they would like to finish off at a night banquet.

Introduced by Morris Rossabi, Senior Scholar and Adjunct Professor, Columbia University; Distinguished Professor of History, CUNY Queens College

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

Thursday, March 9, 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.

At multiple theaters


Asia Art Week runs from March 9 – 18.  The fair showcases art from across Asia presented by international dealers, galleries, auction houses, museums, and institutions. Thursday, March 9 will be a preview day at many galleries and auction houses.  All participating dealers will host open houses Saturday and Sunday, March 11 – 12, and exhibitions will continue through Saturday, March 18.

Running parallel from March 10 – 18 is Asia Art Fair New York whose exhibitors are primarily galleries from around the United States.

We’ll review the two fairs and bring you highlights.

Opening and Newly Added:

1) Masterpieces of Chinese Photography (PRPH Books, 3/7 – 3/20) – The exhibition brings together 30 original photographs by the greatest figures in nineteenth-century photography of China, both Western and Chinese. Among the great photographers represented are Lai Fong, Felice Beato, John Thomson, Thomas Child, William Saunders, Pun Lun, Tung Hing, and many others. The exhibition contains works by these masters as well as by less well-known but highly accomplished photographers. These rare early photographs are from the Stephan Loewentheil Historical Photography of China Collection.

Photograph by Felice Beato


2) Secrets of the Sea: A Tang Shipwreck and Early Trade in Asia (Asia Society, 3/7 – 6/4) – In 1998, Indonesian fishermen diving for sea cucumbers discovered a shipwreck off Belitung Island in the Java Sea. The ship was a West Asian vessel constructed from planks sewn together with rope — and its remarkable cargo originally included around 70,000 ceramics produced in China, as well as luxurious objects of gold and silver. The discovery of the shipwreck and its cargo confirmed what some previously had only suspected: overland routes were not the only frequently exploited trade connections between East and West in the ninth century. Whether the vessel sank because of a storm or other factors as it traversed the heart of the global trading network remains unknown. Bound for present-day Iran and Iraq, it is the earliest ship found in Southeast Asia thus far and provides proof of active maritime trade in the ninth century among China, Southeast Asia, and West Asia.

The objects in this exhibition attest to the exchange of goods and ideas more than one thousand years ago when Asia was dominated by two great powers: China under the Tang dynasty and the Abbasid Caliphate in West Asia. Specifically, the cargo includes some objects of great value and beauty, and demonstrates the strong commercial links between these two powers, as well as the ingenuity of artists and merchants of the period. Moreover, the sheer scale of the cargo shows that in the ninth century Chinese ceramics were greatly popular in foreign lands and that Chinese potters mass-produced thousands of nearly identical ceramics for foreign markets. Ceramics found in the wreck range from humble Changsha wares to those that reflect elite taste such as celadon ware from Yue kilns and white ware from Xing kilns that were valued for their beauty and elegance.

In the past the common historical narrative described major global maritime networks connecting Asia to the rest of the world first emerging in the fifteenth century as western explorers and adventurers asserted a role in the region. With the discovery of the shipwreck near Belitung we now know that important, complex, and dynamic networks of maritime trade already connected disparate cultures across the globe as early as the ninth century.


3) Art of the Tang Dynasty (618 – 906): Selections from the Asia Society Museum Collection (Asia Society, 3/7 – 6/4) – Organized in conjunction with Secrets of the Sea: A Tang Shipwreck and Early Trade in Asia, this presentation of exquisite gold and silver objects, sancai ceramics, and stoneware from the Asia Society Museum Collection showcases the artistry of Tang Dynasty China.


Closing soon:

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)


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.

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)

Shen Shaomin: Keep Upright (Klein Sun Gallery, 3/6 – 4/29)

Red Attack (Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, 2/25 – 4/29)

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: Escorting the Deity by Steve Barringer.  Licensed through Creative Commons