NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: March 31 – April 6, 2017


This week: Award-winning author Ken Liu; an acclaimed documentary about Hooligan Sparrow, an activist persecuted by the government; openings at Fou Gallery, Gallery 456 and Chambers Fine Art.

It’s the last weekend to see Ho Sintung’s Surfaced at Chambers Fine Art.  Here’s a preview of some of the brilliant works:

Coming up:

April 8 – Tailplay Music Festival organized by millennial mavericks from China

April 12 – Screening of a profile of Pan Asian Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Tisa Chang

April 13 – Ian Johnson talks about his new book about China’s spiritual revival

April 19 – 20 – A symposium held in conjunction with Asia Society’s Secrets of the Sea: A Tang Shipwreck and Early Trade in Asia

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) Life is Like A Dream: Ku Fu-Sheng Retrospective Exhibition Opening Reception – Opening reception for a Chinese American artist active in the 196s for whom human beings are the main subject of his art. People’s meeting and parting, togetherness and separation, the complexity and diversity of human nature, and the illusions and realities of human life all figure among the main themes being expressed. While canvas and paper being the backdrop for most of his work, his use of other media and materials such as clothing, fabrics, gold and silver leaf, rope and wood lend variety and interest to his art. Much of his work falls into the category known as collage. There is nothing simplistic about his human figures which are rarely realistic but instead portray lonely bodies devoid of individual characteristics, some even lacking faces or heads. His world has always been breaking through the bounds of rationality to make his fantasies and dreams fly wherever he pleases.

Friday, March 31, 5 – 7 PM
Gallery 456, 456 Broadway


2) Chen Dongfan: You Know My Name, Not My Story Opening Reception – See below for information about the exhibition.

Saturday, April 1, 5 – 8 PM
Fou Gallery


3) Ken Liu Book Reading and Discussion – Award-winning and best-selling author Ken Liu will read a brief selection from his collection (The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories) and then introduce his novels (The Grace of Kings and its sequels) and translations (The Three-Body Problem and its sequels, The Waste Tide, etc.). Ken will contextualize his work within the larger framework of technological & social change, national myths, and 21st-century fluidity of identity.

The discussion will be moderated by Professor Xudong Zhang, Director of China House, NYU

Tuesday, April 4, 6:30 PM
85 Broad Street, 28th Floor


4) Hooligan Sparrow – Fearless Chinese activist Ye Haiyan, known as Hooligan Sparrow, has incurred the wrath of the government in her fight for the rights of women and sex workers. Winner of the prestigious George Polk Award in Journalism, this gut punching, guerrilla documentary follows Ye as she protests the sexual abuse of schoolchildren—despite the state’s attempts to silence her. Told with the tension of a real-life thriller, it’s a daring exposé from the frontlines of China’s human rights struggle.

Thursday, April 6, 7:30 PM
Peter Jay Sharp Building, BAM Rose Cinemas


1) The Devotion of Suspect X – Based on Keigo Higashinoas award-winning novel, The Devotion of Suspect follows a professor (Wang Kai) assisting in a murder investigation, only to find that a longtime rival and friend (Zhang Luyi) from his early university days may be involved.

Opens at AMC Empire 25 March 31


2) Tea Drunk at The Met – The Metropolitan Museum of Art and East Village tea shop host a new sit-down café with a Chinese tea house theme.

This three-month pop-up café is located on the second-floor balcony overlooking the Museum’s majestic Great Hall, with its soaring domes supported by colossal limestone arches and piers. This new café serves a selection of authentic Chinese teas harvested from renowned tea-growing mountains in China, as well as small plates featuring light delicacies. Surrounded by antique Asian ceramics in long wall cases, the café offers guests an opportunity to experience a tea-drinking culture that emerged in medieval China around the eighth century and continues to the present day.

Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 10 AM. to 4:30 PM; Friday and Saturday, 10 AM to 3:30 PM.

2nd Floor balcony of the Great Hall at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Through June


Opening and Newly Added:

1) You Know My Name You Don’t Know My Story (Fou Gallery, 4/1 – 6/4) – This exhibition will present artist Chen Dongfan’s latest drawing series Half a Man, as well as a single-channel video installation In Bliss Until Eternity. While the Half a Man series continues Chen’s long-term exploration of portrait painting, it is also an homage to the late artist Mike Kelley (1954–2012).

The exhibition’s Chinese title “Luo Man Shi (罗曼史)” is a transliteration of the English word “romance.” In Chinese, this word is typically used to denote an anthology of romantic stories or a technique of narrating romantic stories. However, if viewers expect romantic stories from the artworks because of this title, they might be disappointed by the artist’s next message: “You will never know my story.” Chen’s refusal of explanatory narratives, in fact, expands viewers’ possible interpretations of the works. While the exhibition teases viewers with its playful manner, it also allows them to examine their preconceptions of various identities and to ponder the relationship between the artist and his social and cultural background.

Chen Dongfan, Half a Man – 30, 25.8 x 22.4 in., Acrylic and newspaper, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Fou Gallery.


2) Age of Empires: Chinese Art of Qin and Han Dynasties (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 4/3 – 7/16) – Featuring more than 160 objects of ancient Chinese art, this major international loan exhibition will explore the unprecedented role of art in creating a new and lasting Chinese cultural identity. Synthesizing new archaeological discoveries with in-depth research performed over the last 50 years, Age of Empires will introduce a transformational era of Chinese civilization to a global audience.

The works in the exhibition—extremely rare ceramics, metalwork, textiles, sculpture, painting, calligraphy, and architectural models—are drawn exclusively from 32 museums and archaeological institutions in the People’s Republic of China, and a majority of the works have never before been seen in the West. Highlights include renowned terracotta army warriors and a striking statue of a seminude performer whose anatomical accuracy, unheard of in Chinese art, brings to mind Greco-Roman sculpture first introduced to Asia by Alexander the Great.

Installation view, “Age of Empire,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Jiang An.


3) Endurance: New Works by Xie Xiaoze (Chambers Fine Art, 4/6 – 6/17) – As a realist painter by vocation, early in his career Xie Xiaoze found a way to combine his passionate interest in Chinese history and current world events with more formal concerns by focusing on the materials stored in archives and library stacks as the subject matter of his paintings. During his career he has approached this subject matter in many different ways but it is paintings of libraries with which he is most closely associated. The first painting in the Library (Western Books) Series dates from 1993 but the theme has still not been exhausted. In late 1994 when he returned to China for the first time since moving to the United States, he began working on the Chinese Library Series which is also still ongoing. Ten years later in 2005 a change of emphasis began with the Museum Library Series in which the treatment of the photographic sources is generally more specific.

The current exhibition includes paintings based on photographs that Xie took in libraries in Beijing, Kathmandu, New York, Oxford, New Haven, and Toronto. Unlike the German photographer Candida Höfer whose photographs of famous libraries concentrate on the splendid architectural surroundings created to house collections of books, Xie focuses on telling details, only rarely revealing the name of an author or title of a volume.  A great deal is revealed, however, as he lingers on decaying bindings or more serious damage caused by historical events.

Xie Xiaoze, Through Fire (Books that Survived the Anti-Japanese War of Resistence at Tsinghua University, No. 2), 2017, oil on linen.

Closing soon:

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

The Narrative of Lines (Cloud Gallery, 3/25 – 4/1)

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

Ming-Jer Kuo: Suburban Form (Chashama, 3/23 – 4/5)


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.

The Narrative of Lines (Cloud Gallery, 3/25 – 4/1)

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)

Ming-Jer Kuo: Suburban Form (Chashama, 3/23 – 4/5)

Ku Fu-sheng: Life is Like a Dream (Gallery 456, 3/24 – 4/7)

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

Considerate Creations: Chameleons (Taipei Cultural Center, 3/17 – 4/28)

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

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

You Know My Name You Don’t Know My Story (Fou Gallery, 4/1 – 6/4)

Endurance: New Works by Xie Xiaoze (Chambers Fine Art, 4/6 – 6/17)

REWOVEN: Innovative Fiber Art (QCC Art Gallery CUNY, 3/16 -6/20) 

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

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

Hung Yi – Fancy Animal Carnival (Garment District pedestrian plazas on Broadway from 36th to 41st Streets, 9/20/16 – 4/15/17)

Age of Empires: Chinese Art of Qin and Han Dynasties (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 4/3 – 7/16)

Show and Tell: Stories in Chinese Painting (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 10/29/16 – 8/6/17)

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

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: Hung Yi – Bull and Eagle #1 on view as part of Fancy Animal Carnival on Broadway, between 36 and 41st Streets