NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: April 14 – April 20, 2017


This week: Playwright Zhu Yi’s A Deal introduces a glimpse of the lives of contemporary Chinese; talks about the legacy of June 4, 1989 and inkstones used in calligraphy; screening of a documentary about craftsmen restoring the Forbidden City in Beijing; Taiwanese American entrepreneurs; films about China at the Tribeca Film Festival, an exhibition that re-purposes garments as sculptures and another that deifies former President Barack Obama; and more…

Also, this week is an event organized and featuring talents of members of the Chinese community here in New York:

April 16 – Artist Tao Xian leads the first of two workshops that introduce painting techniques to those interested in the medium.  Materials will be provided, and participants will create their own landscape masterpiece

It looks like the warm weather is here to stay.  When you’re out and about, why not stroll along Broadway between 41st and 36th Streets and marvel at Taiwanese artist Hung Yi’s Fancy Animal Carnival.  It’s the last weekend they’re in town.

Coming up:

April 21 – 22 – A symposium held in conjunction with Asia Society’s Secrets of the Sea: A Tang Shipwreck and Early Trade in Asia

April 23 – Talks about The Art of War and dim sum

April 24 – Huang Ruo’s Sonic Garden

April 26 and 28 – Nanyin music from Fujian province

May 3 – The Role of the Asian Artist in America with dancers, musicians, and arts organizers from the Asian American Arts Center and Chinese Theatre Works

May 5 – Taiwan Meets Jamaica – Chinese-influenced jazz by Stephanie Chou meets Caribbean music by Owen Romeo and Tribal Legacy

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) Three 《三人行》– When a police sting goes bad, a master criminal (Chung) makes a desperate choice: He forces the cops to shoot him. Injured and brought in for treatment, he refuses help, instead waiting for his cohorts to break him out. The latest stylish thriller from Hong Kong master Johnnie To puts the fate of one man between an obsessed cop (Koo) and a troubled surgeon assigned to save his life (Zhao)—a tense standoff that could turn a hospital into a bloody battleground at any moment.

Dir. Johnnie To
2016, 87 min.
In Cantonese with English subtitles

Friday, April 14, 7:30 PM
Museum of the Moving Image


2) New Asia Chamber Music Society – Seasons of Legacy – New Asia Chamber Music Society opens its 2017-2018 season concert with a special evening of music both familiar and new.  Vivaldi’s charming The Four Seasons begins the evening, setting the stage for New Asia’s interpretation of the Seasons in a commissioned work titled Spring by Taiwanese composer Hung-Ping Chang, featuring Andy Lin on Erhu.  The Chausson Violin Concerto with String Quartet and Piano concludes the program, featuring special guest artists Cho-Liang Lin and Orion Weiss, as they lead the next generation of concert artists with them on stage.

Saturday, April 15, 8 PM
Merkin Concert Hall, 129 W. 67th St.


3) The Social Life of Inkstones: Artisans and Scholars in Early Qing China – An inkstone, a piece of polished stone no bigger than an outstretched hand, is an instrument for grinding ink, an object of art, a token of exchange between friends or sovereign states, and a surface on which texts and images are carved. As such, the inkstone has been entangled with elite masculinity and the values of wen (culture, literature, civility) in China, Korea, and Japan for more than a millennium. However, for such a ubiquitous object in East Asia, it is virtually unknown in the Western world.

Examining imperial workshops in the Forbidden City, the Duan quarries in Guangdong, the commercial workshops in Suzhou, and collectors’ homes in Fujian, The Social Life of Inkstones traces inkstones between court and society and shows how collaboration between craftsmen and scholars created a new social order in which the traditional hierarchy of “head over hand” no longer predominated. Dorothy Ko also highlights the craftswoman Gu Erniang, through whose work the artistry of inkstone-making achieved unprecedented refinement between the 1680s and 1730s.

The Social Life of Inkstones explores the hidden history and cultural significance of the inkstone and puts the stonecutters and artisans on center stage.


Monday, April 17, 4:10 PM
Room 403, Kent Hall, Columbia University


4) A Revolution That Was Not: The Tiananmen Movement Revisited – Since the momentous event, the scholars and the public have both firmly believed the political crisis in Beijing in 1989 to be a revolutionary situation. That is, a revolution was on the way to a regime-changing outcome, had it not been for the military crackdown. Yet this understanding does not accord with historical evidence. This presentation provides five sets of evidence. 1) There was no regime crisis, fiscal or otherwise; 2) There was no real international pressure; 3) Protest leaders advocated a reformist agenda only, and promoted no violence; 4) There was no elite insider with a revolutionary ambition; 5) The crackdown came at the protest’s declining days. To examine the real nature of the Tiananmen Square Movement has at least two theoretical implications. It calls for a reexamination of the justification for the bloody crackdown; it sheds lights on the puzzle of the Chinese exception in the 1989 global wave of revolutions.

Yang Su, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of California Irvine joins moderator Yao Lu, Associate Professor of Sociology, Columbia University, for a discussion about this defining event in China’s modern history.

Tuesday, April 18, 4 PM
Room 918, International Affairs Building, Columbia University


5) Taiwanese American Food Creatives – Sweet on nostalgia and enamored with the riches of Taiwanese cuisine, meet the entrepreneurs who have gone beyond the traditional restaurant model to create their distinct Taiwanese American food business. Please join Cathy Erway, author of The Food of Taiwan: Recipes from the Beautiful Island and The Art of Eating In, Carson Yiu of Outer Borough, Kris Kuo of Taiwan Bear House, and Tony Wu of Nomz for a discussion on Taiwanese food as well as the delights and challenges of entrepreneurship.

The event will be followed by a tasting.

Tuesday, April 18, 6:30 PM
Museum of Chinese in America


6) King of Peking – Big Wong and Little Wong are a close knit father-son duo. Together, they travel around as a mobile cinema projecting Hollywood movies for local villagers. When Big Wong’s ex-wife demands he start paying spousal support, he realizes he may lose custody of his son. In order to raise enough money to stay together, Big Wong takes up a job as a janitor in an old Beijing movie theater.

When Big Wong happens upon an old DVD recorder in a junk store, he comes up with a business plan that he hopes will make him enough money to maintain custody of Little Wong: creating and selling bootleg DVDs. Together, they secretly run their new business — which they name King of Peking — out of the basement of the movie theater. As business booms, Little Wong starts to question the moral and ethical implications of their scheme and Big Wong senses that he is slowly losing his son’s trust.

In King of Peking, writer-director Sam Voutas put his reverence for movies on full display. He crafts a beautiful story that is at once an endearing father-son story and a love letter to cinema. (Shayna Weingast)

Thursday, April 20, 5 PM (additional screenings next week)
Cinepolis Chelsea


7) Screening and Filmmaker Talk: Masters in the Forbidden City 《我在故宮修文物》 -China Institute presents an exclusive screening of the documentary Masters in the Forbidden City 《我在故宮修文物》 followed by a discussion with the filmmakers. A surprise box office hit in China, this film follows the daily lives of the artisans and craftspeople who restore relics at the Palace Museum in Beijing, including experts in bronze, lacquer, wood, and clockworks. Through stunning imagery and refined storytelling director Xiao Han uses his unprecedented access to the Forbidden City to celebrate and evoke the “spirit of craftsmanship” that is the hallmark of these unsung artists.

The film will be shown in Mandarin with English subtitles.

This presentation is being co-sponsored by the Chu-Griffis Asian Art Collection at Connecticut College, with additional funding from the Confucius Institute at China Institute.

Thursday, April 20, 6:30 PM
China Institute


8) MAXINE! with Maxine Hong Kingston & Monique Truong – The Asian American Writer’s Workshop celebrates the 40th anniversary of The Woman Warrior by legendary Asian American novelist and poet Maxine Hong Kingston, one of the most influential and formally adventurous forerunners in Asian American literature. She’ll appear in conversation with Guggenheim Fiction Fellow Monique Truong.

Thursday, April 20, 7 PM
Asian American Writers’ Workshop, 112 W 27th Street (venue may change to accommodate a larger audience)


9) Iron Hands –  As a 12-year-old girl prepares for her final test trying out for the traditionally all-boys Chinese youth Olympic weightlifting team, she makes an unlikely connection with the gym’s reclusive groundskeeper.

Screens as part of Shorts: Your Hearts Desire short film program at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Thursday, April 20, 7 PM (additional screenings next week)
Regal Cinemas Battery Park



1) A Deal – In playwright Zhu Yi’s A Deal, directed by John Giampietro, a young Chinese actress in America invents a background of political oppression to get a part in a new play – but it could all be undone when her parents show up from China to claim their piece of the American Dream.

April 19 – 22
Ensemble Studio Theatre, 545 W 52nd St


2) Extraordinary Mission 《非凡任务》– A respected, veteran cop was going through a rough path of his life: His mother passed away recently, while he was under investigation for bribery. On his way to the funeral, he hit someone with his car. Panicked, he decided to get away with it under camouflage. Days past, when it’s finally settling down, he found out that the criminal he is chasing after now is the one he hit. What’s worse, someone witnessed the whole accident, and filed an anonymous report. That ‘someone’, is also a cop. What’s his purpose? Why is he after this accident? Extraordinary Mission tells a complex story of mystery and betrayal, wrapped into one of the most spectacular action films ever made.

At AMC Empire 25


3) 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.

At AMC Empire 25


4) 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


It’s thesis show season. So, in addition to the regular gallery and museum listings below, we’ll share information about graduation shows for the local and regional art schools.

The first one on our radar is Gravity, Ye Jiang’s thesis exhibition which will be on view April 17 – 21 at Steuben Gallery C at Pratt Institute.  The opening reception is on April 17 from 6 -8  PM.

His artist statement:

I think the activities of seeing and thinking are simultaneous. I’m calling attention to mundane things which are easily ignored. The sign is a very important element in my works.  I like that they work with both images and texts. In these works, I tried to transform many objects in the way I see and think about them. My intention is not to show a judgment or critique, but to trigger a fresh view of how we can see things. That is also my understanding of how art works.

‘Gravity’, installation view. Courtesy of the artist.

Opening and Newly Added:

1) Made in China (chashama, 3/31 – 4/16) – Influenced by the absurdity of his chaotic cultural surroundings, Yang Mai challenges traditional forms and reconfigures notions of value in his installation, Made in China. Merging sculpture with personal narrative and storytelling, Mai hopes to “to redefine traditional notions of fashion and express the rebellion of humanity” as well as engage viewers in discussions about the possible functions of fashion and the sculptural possibilities of innovative garment installation.

Made in China, installation view of three large mixed media works including garments, fabric, paint, foam, and metal


2) Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung – In G.O.D. We Trust (Postmasters Gallery, 3/18 – 4/22) – Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung’s 2009 series In G.O.D. We Trust will be shown in its entirety for the first time. G.O.D., in this case, stands for Global Obama Devotion. The series comprises a video animation and a group of digital collages addressing the global and domestic challenges that faced the Obama administration early in his presidency.

In an attempt to heal the world, Obama The Savior reincarnates into various prophets, spiritual leaders and deities: Jesus Christ, Krishna, Abraham, Mohammad, the Yoruba Orisha God Elugua/Eshu, Buddha, and the Virgin of Guadalupe. The series remixes the theological pillars of the various belief systems, substituting key elements of the holy texts with references to the political and economical climate when Obama took office. Rather than idolizing Obama, In G.O.D. We Trust examines the hope and changes the 44th US president promised to deliver as well as the inevitable obstacles looming along the way. The frenetic speed of the video and psychedelic overload of the collages create an explosive spectacle that undermines relationships between political icons, mass media imagery, and the capitalist cathedrals where they dwell.

Where it once felt like shade thrown at the euphoria over Black Jesus, the open-eyed criticality of Tin-Kin’s work now steels our resistance as we stare into the gaping maw of the orange apocalypse.

Born in 1977 in Hong Kong, Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung has been called “the John Heartfield of the digital era.” Like Heartfield, who developed photomontage technique and turned it into a form of social critique, Hung’s meticulously researched collages, animations and video games (composed entirely of imagery sourced from the web) deliver a biting satire and hit hard at the hypocrisies of political rhetoric.


Closing soon:

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)


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.

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)

Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant (Museum of Food and Drink Lab, 11/11/16 – 5/28/17)

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: Seen in the Anping District in Tainan

The post was updated to include information about Ye Jiang’s exhibition.