NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: April 21 – April 27, 2017


This week: Zhu Yi’s look at contemporary Chinese, A Deal, continues, a screening of Edward Yang’s (楊德昌) final film at the newly renovated Quad Cinema; talks about The Art of War, the I Ching, and dim sum; music by Annie Chen, renowned composer Huang Ruo, and from Fujian Province; a symposium on Chinese maritime trade and cultural exchange of the 9th century; and more.

New exhibition listings include shows relating to Chinese body art of the 90s, creative use of materials, and video art.  Five exhibitions are closing in the next two weeks.  So, be sure to check them out.

Also this week in Chinese talent working in projects that don’t quite fit in our listings below, Lux Yuting Bai, SVA MA Curatorial Practice fellow who creatively curated the excellent Whereto featuring the work of ink wash artist Huiqi He, is part of a group curated show The Map is Not the Territory which runs from April 21 to May 14 at Pfizer Building, 630 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn.  The opening is on Friday, April 21

Coming up:

April 29 – Composer-pianist-DJ Xiren Wang leads live performances of compositions she created for YangTze Repertory Theatre of America’s productions over the past few years.

May 1 – ChinaFile presents two documentaries from Chinese students in NYU’s News and Documentary program that look at the medical system and a boarding school for Tibetan children.

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 4 – Geng Xue: Mount Sumeru opens at Klein Sun Gallery

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) Exhibition Symposium: Secrets of the Sea: A Tang Shipwreck and Early Trade in Asia – This landmark symposium represents the first academic gathering in the United States to present a comprehensive review of the cargo of the Belitung shipwreck and the maritime trade routes of the ninth century with a view to broadening the understanding of the profound cultural significance of the find.

Asia Society hosts the keynote address, Precious Metals, Precious Earths: Luxury Goods in Ninth-Century China, by scholar Regina Krahl on the eve of a daylong symposium co-organized with Columbia University.

Speakers and moderators for the Tang Center for Early China at Columbia University Symposium include:

Bryan Averbuch, CUNY
Dora Ching, P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art at Princeton University (moderator)
John Guy, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Derek Heng, Northern Arizona University and the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Center, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (Singapore)
François Louis, Bard Graduate Center
Victor Mair, University of Pennsylvania
Adriana Proser, Asia Society Museum, New York (moderator)
Liu Yang, The Minneapolis Institute of Art

Friday, April 21, 6:30 – 9:00 PM
Asia Society

Saturday, April 22, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Pulitzer Hall, Columbia University


2) 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)

Friday, April 21, 6:45 PM
Regal Cinemas Battery Park

Saturday, April 22, 7:45 PM
Cinepolis Chelsea

Additional screenings next week.


3) Yi Yi 《一一》– The swan song of one of the luminaries of the Taiwanese New Wave, this absorbing portrait of three generations of a contemporary middle-class Taipei family is imbued with an emotional specificity that is hard to shake.

Dir. Edward Yang
173 min., 2000
In Mandarin with English subtitles.

Friday, April 21, 7 PM
Quad Cinema, 34 W. 13th Street


4) Dai’s Garden – NYC Life teams up with NYU’s News & Documentary program to bring Ruohan Xu’s documentary Dai’s Garden   Here are the synopsis and trailer:

Slow-food movement pioneer Dai Jianjun is dedicated to bringing back vanishing traditional culture in an era of rapid urbanization.  He runs an expensive farm-to-table restaurant in the city of Hangzhou and uses all of his profits to build a green utopia in a remote village 200 miles away where migrant workers can stay local to take part and benefit in his project.

Friday, April 21, 11:30 PM
Channel 25 on over-the-air and many cable TV stations


5) Masters of Wushu: A Martial Arts Spectacular Kung Fu, Wushu, and Chinese Martial Arts are all general terms used to describe a set of several hundred fighting styles that have developed over thousands of years of Chinese history. Variations in philosophy, form, origin, and practice divide these fighting styles into various schools that continue to attract followers throughout China and around the world today.

China Institute will welcomes a delegation of stunning Martial Arts Masters from China for an all-ages performance featuring seven distinct forms of martial arts including Chin Wu, Northwest Boxing, Taichi, Huaquan, Whip Boxing, Eagle Claw, and Bagua Zhang. Additional performances from the “Little Martials” Chinese Martial Arts Youth Group, a renowned guqin (Chinese zither) player, and an expert calligrapher will make for a one-of-a-kind program.

Saturday, April 22, 1:30 PM
China Institute


6) Video Screening: Qinmin Liu & Shurui Li – A screening of Qinmin Liu’s & Shurui Li’s “Li Min”, about a trans-pacific merry-making girl power collective that knows how to make good use of obedient men. They cherish the body, tames the mind, and turns modern society’s pervasive muzak down.

Saturday, April 22, 7 PM
Gallery 456, 456 Broadway


7) The Art of War – Throughout recorded history, Sun Tzu’s wisdom, rules, and philosophy have been eagerly embraced by warriors, leaders, and gentle contemplators alike. Join J.H. Huang as he introduces his new interpretation of The Art of War. This edition is an entirely new text based on manuscripts discovered in Linyi, China in 1972.

Sunday, April 23, 1:30 PM
Museum of Chinese in America


8) Interpreting I Ching – The I Ching or Book of Changes is an ancient divination text and the oldest of the Chinese classics. Possessing a history of more than two and a half millennia of commentary and interpretation, the I Ching is an influential text read throughout the world, providing inspiration to the worlds of religion, psychoanalysis, business, literature, and art. Prof. Linlin Chao, guest professor at Peking University and former chair of Department of Philosophy, Soo Chow University, Taiwan, will offer her interpretations of the classics covering a wide range of topics.

The lecture will be conducted in Chinese, with no interpretation.

Sunday, April 23, 2 PM
China Institute


9) Food Writing and The Dim Sum Field Guide – James Beard Award-nominated scholar, author, and artist Carolyn Phillips demystifies the rich, nuanced culinary institution of teahouse snacks in The Dim Sum Field Guide (Ten Speed Press, 2016), a pocket-size, definitive resource featuring 80 hand-drawn illustrations. Join us with Carolyn in dissecting dim sum classics like siu mai, xiaolongbao, char siu, roast duck, and more! She will also talk a bit about how to how she became a professional food writer, found a niche, got started, and kept going, and she will even hand out a few secrets to success, as well as temporary but stylish dim sum tattoos.

Sunday, April 23, 3:30 PM
Museum of Chinese in America


10) Annie Chen Octet – Back from a four-month tour of China, Annie Chen and her octet brings new tunes, arrangements of traditional Polish songs with Chinese lyrics that she performed at the Guangzhou Jazz Festival last year.

Sunday, April 23, 9:30 PM
ShapeShifter Lab, 18 Whitwell Place, Brooklyn


11) Huang Ruo’s Sonic Garden with Momenta Quartet & FIRE – Celebrated Chinese composer Huang Ruo convenes Ensemble FIRE and Momenta Quartet to present five pieces, including “Wind Blows” for cello and piano; “Red Rain” for solo piano; String Quartet No. 2: “The Flag Project”; String Quartet No. 3: “Calligraffiti”; and “Drama Theatre No. 3: Written on the Wind” for pipa, voice, and visuals.

Monday, April 24, 7 PM
Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn


12) 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.

Monday, April 24, 9 PM
Wednesday, April 26, 6:45 PM
Regal Cinemas Battery Park


13) Curators in Conversation: Howie Chen – Herb Tam, Curator and Director of Exhibitions at MOCA, chats with New York-based curator Howie Chen in this installment of a program series that engages Chinese American curators, artists and cultural producers across generations and geographies in critical conversations to deeply investigate the aesthetic concerns, subject matter, and experiences within the Chinese and Asian American cultural community.

Tuesday, April 25, 6:30 PM
Museum of Chinese in America


14) Self Reimagined Artists Talk II – Closing Reception – New-York-based artists Zhang Hongtu and Noriko Shinohara will provide a talk about their work for the closing of the Self Reimagined Exhibition from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., followed by a brief reception. Extending Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity, this group exhibition explores creative ways in which artists reimagine themselves. Featuring painting, sculpture, photography, and performance by: Laura Alexander, Kevin Darmanie, Lisa Ficarelli-Halpern, Farsad Labbauf, Noriko Shinohara, Hirotsune Tashima, Martha Wilson, and Zhang Hongtu. The exhibition brochure is available online and in print in the gallery.

Wednesday, April 26, 4 PM
Harold B. Lemmerman Gallery, Hepburn Hall. Rm 323
New Jersey City University, 2039 John F Kennedy Boulevard West
Jersey City, NJ


15) Reunification – In this award-winning film that gives an insider view on the contemporary immigrant experience, divorce and family psychology, and personal filmmaking, director Alvin Tsang reflects on his family’s migration from Hong Kong to Los Angeles in the early 1980s – fraught with betrayal from his parents’ divorce, economic strife and communication meltdown between parents and children. This poetic exploration of 17 unresolved years moves moodily across different channels and modes, bending into labor histories and Hong Kong’s colonial trajectories. Tsang turns the camera on his own family, cautiously prodding for answers, but fully acknowledging that the only closure he can get will be from deciding for himself how to move on.

Wednesday, April 26, 6 PM
NYPL Seward Park, 192 E. Broadway

Thursday, April 27, 7 PM
NYPL 53rd Street, 18 W. 53rd Street


16) Soul Journey: Traditional Nanyin Music Reimagined (Performance 1) – Singapore’s Siong Leng Musical Association was founded in 1941 to promote and preserve traditional Nanyin music and Liyuan Opera. Nanyin is a traditional musical performance genre of the Minnan people in southern Fujian Province along China’s south-eastern coast. With slow, elegant melodies, nanyin is performed on a combination of distinctive instruments such as a bamboo flute (dongxiao) and crooked-neck lute (pipa) as well as more common wind, string and percussion instruments. The rich repertoire of songs and scores preserve ancient folk music and poems and has influenced opera, puppet theatre and other performing art traditions.

Siong Leng Musical Association is committed to keeping the ancient art form of Nanyin music alive in today’s multicultural, technologically progressive Singapore. In this performance, traditional Nanyin is merged with its Zen influences, and with other elements such as vocals, Indian tabla and keyboard instrumentation, Liyuan dance and more, to bring new life to this ancient art form. The performers in this group are among the most renowned Nanyin performers in the world.

A second performance will take place on Friday, April 28.

Wednesday, April 26, 8 PM
Asia Society


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, 7 PM
April 22, 2 PM
Ensemble Studio Theatre, 545 W 52nd St


2) Born in China – Disneynature, in its ongoing quest to bring the natural world to the big screen as never before, presents its most ambitious project to date, taking moviegoers on a grand journey into the wilds of China. Born In China follows the adventures of three animal families — the majestic panda, the savvy golden monkey and the elusive snow leopard. Featuring stunning imagery, the film navigates the vast terrain—from the frigid mountains to the heart of the bamboo forest—on the wings of a red-crowned crane, showcasing remarkably intimate family moments captured on film for the first time ever.

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

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


Opening and Newly Added:

1) Self Reimagined (NJCU Harold B. Lemmerman Gallery, 3/16 – 4/26) – Extending Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity, this group exhibition explores creative ways in which artists reimagine themselves. Featuring painting, sculpture, photography, and video by: Laura Alexander, Kevin Darmanie, Lisa Ficarelli-Halpern, Farsad Labbauf, Noriko Shinohara, Hirotsune Tashima, Martha Wilson, and Zhang Hongtu.


2) Body, Self, Society – Chinese Performance Photography of the 1990s (The Walther Collection, 4/14 – 8/19) – The German institution’s New York project space highlights some of the most significant examples of Chinese performance-based photography from 1995 to 1999 with an exhibition featuring works by Ai Weiwei, Cang Xin, Huang Yan, Ma Liuming, Song Dong, Zhang Huan, and Zhuang Hui.

Installation view. Photo by Hansi Liao


3) Rewoven: Innovative Fiber Art – Part III (El Museo de Los Sures, 4/18 – 6/30) – This exhibition series showcases 24 artists whose extraordinary creativity and commitment to nature, environmental, and social issues are addressed in a convergence of painted, woven, netted, sewn, assembled, and installed artworks. Artists draw upon natural, synthetic, industrial, and waste materials – from bamboo and silk to Styrofoam, bubble wrap, plastic and paper wrappings, and insulated and stainless steel wire. These artists leave craft far behind to cross the boundary into contemporary strategies that transform diverse materials into works of whimsy, wisdom, and beauty. They address the critical issue of the endangered earth and its inhabitants in abstract and figurative terms of philosophical, literary, cosmic, and quotidian dimensions.

Poyen Wang, Still image from “Atlas (New YorkCity Subway),” 2016. 1080p color HD 3D computer graphic, 147 min. loop.


4) Liu Xiaofei: Assembly Line (ART100 New York, 4/20 – 6/10) – In ART100 New York’s 1891 Project Space, Shanghai artist Li Xiaofei will mount an installation featuring videos created over the last several years  — four pieces from the remarkable Assembly Line series, and recent videos A Cart of Coals, A Packet of Salt, and Chongming Island.

Li Xiaofei is interested in “all kinds of truth.” What he calls “the paradox between truth and reality” pervades his video work.    Li’s Assembly Line series has received global recognition since it was begun in 2011.  He shoots, seemingly without judgment or inflection, the constant, repetitive, mechanical reality of factory work. And his worker interviews, interspersed at unexpected junctures with these images, tell of resignation, boredom and unfulfilled desires. Yet, these oddly touching videos are not particularly about how work dehumanizes.  Factories and assembly lines are purely human creations, and Li says, “I found the relationship between human and machine had become strange and complicated…the factories I shot are brimming with a surprising collective romanticism.”  A Cart of Coals is rooted in Li’s early life.  Members of his family worked in the mines, and through his family, he has stayed abreast of how his mining town and the people in it have developed and changed.   Salt, a condiment rather than a necessity, plays an insignificant role in most lives, except those of the workers for whom reality, as evidenced in A Packet of Salt, is producing and transporting it.  Chongming Island, Li says, is about people and consumption.  Like many of his generation, Li recalls that his father was loath to part with any item that was still useful. Today, it seems, we are loath to hold on.


Closing soon:

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

Self Reimagined (NJCU Harold B. Lemmerman Gallery, 3/16 – 4/26)

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)

Self Reimagined (NJCU Harold B. Lemmerman Gallery, 3/16 – 4/26)

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)

The Map is Not the Territory (group curated show with Lux Yuting Bai) (Pfizer Building, 4/21 – 5/14)

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)

Liu Xiaofei: Assembly Line (ART100 New York, 4/20 – 6/10)

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) 

Rewoven: Innovative Fiber Art – Part III (El Museo de Los Sures, 4/18 – 6/30)

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)

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)

Body, Self, Society – Chinese Performance Photography of the 1990s (The Walther Collection, 4/14 – 8/19)

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: A few of the thousands of movable type characters seen at the Rixing Type Foundry in Taipei

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