NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: May 12 – May 18, 2017


This week: Chinese video art and law; a Taiwanese sculptor; an exhibition featuring the set design of Paradise Interrupted which was presented at the Lincoln Center festival last year; two new exhibitions by local Chinese artists; and more…

Also, on Thursday, May 11, LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture presents Michael Leibenluft, a work in progress, Salesman之死, a theatrical response to Arthur Miller and Ying Ruocheng’s production of Death of a Salesman at the Beijing People’s Art Theater in 1983 inspired by Miller’s and Ying’s recounting of the experiences.  Read more about it here.

Coming up:

May 19 – Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, a documentary about a Chinatown bank, the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

May 25 – A talk with author Jason Chang about anti-Chinese racism in Mexico from the late 19th to mid-20th centuries.

May 25 – Curator’s Lecture for China Institute’s new exhibition, Discovering Shizishan – Archaeology in the Chu King’s Mausoleum

June 3 – 18 – 410 [Gone] – Yangtze Repertory Theatre’s newest production is a play by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig that mixes Chinese mythology, humor, and cyber-imagery to explore how we release loved ones when they are gone.

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) 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.

Saturday, May 13, 2 PM
Chatham Square Library, 33 E. Broadway

Tuesday, May 16, 6:30 PM
Mid-Manhattan Library, 455 5th Avenue


2) Screening and Discussion of Liu Xiaofei’s Assembly Line – A special screening of Liu Xiaofei’s years-long video project which chronicle the relationship between people and machinery in seemingly mundane and placid ways while conveying the humanity of the workers. The screening will be followed by a conversation with Richard Vine, Managing Editor of Art in America, and the artist.

Tuesday, May 16, 6:30 PM
Art100 Gallery, 555A W. 25th Street


3) Sinica Podcast Live at China Institute: Jerome A. Cohen on Law in China – In this live Sinica Podcast interview, Jeremy Goldkorn and Kaiser Kuo will talk to NYU Professor Jerome Cohen about his own long and fascinating involvement with law in China, the emergence of the country’s legal system after the Cultural Revolution, and prospects for China implementing the rule of law that Xi Jinping has talked about so much but that cynics might say is still a long way off.

Wednesday, May 17, 6:30 PM
China Institute


4) Path to Life: A Steel Cable Connecting the World – A notably insightful and innovative sculptor from Taiwan, Kang Mu-Xiang (康木祥), who has devoted most of his career life to creating art from driftwood, will share the story of his latest challenge—using discarded elevator cables from high-rise buildings like Taipei 101, the former tallest building in the world and now the fifth, and implementing the concepts of oriental philosophy, such as rebirth and cycle of life, to create his newest series of works, Life.

Thursdsay, May 18, 6:30 PM
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office


1) This is Not What I Expected 《喜欢你》 – Lu Jin (Takeshi Kaneshiro) is a handsome, wealthy hotel executive whose drive for perfection is matched only by his taste for fine cuisine. When he checks into the Rosebud, he’s dissatisfied with everything he sees and is ready to take action… until flamboyant female sous chef Gu Shengnan (Zhou Dongyu) creates the perfectionist what may be a perfect meal. Now, these bitter rivals find themselves brought together in the kitchen in this light-hearted romantic comedy, infused with fun and flavors to create a delicious dish that foodies around the world wouldn’t dare to miss.

At AMC Empire 25


2) Battle of Memories 《记忆大师》– What will happen if your brain locates a memory that doesn’t belong to you? In 2025, the memory-manipulation operation has been popularized across the world. Feng, a prestigious novelist (Huang Bo), deletes the memory of his failed marriage. But when he tries to recover the lost memories, he finds himself in the mind of a serial killer. He reaches out to police officer Shen (Duan Yihong) and when they begin to solve the case together, a conspiracy surfaces.

At AMC Empire 25


3) 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


This is the season of art school thesis shows, make sure you stop by NYU ITP Thesis Week !

Opening and Newly Added:

1) Jennifer Wen Ma: Eight Views of Paradise Interrupted (Sandra Gering Inc, 5/11 – 7/28) – Fusing aspects of traditional Chinese art with a distinctly contemporary approach, Ma creates delicate, ephemeral installations out of paper, ink, glass and light. For this exhibition, the artist presents an environment of new works borrowing from the traditional Chinese literati landscape painting trope of Eight Views of Xiaoxiang. This contemporary homage meditates on the mental landscape that yielded the artist’s concept for the acclaimed installation opera Paradise Interrupted, exploring the utopian idea of ‘paradise’. Originally presented at the Lincoln Center Festival last summer, the opera was the artist’s directorial debut, and combined Ma’s innovative set designs with her co-written libretto and a contemporary composition in the traditional kunqu vocal singing style with western operatic voice.

Eight Views features some of Ma’s best-known iconography: her unconventional use of ink and her multifaceted use of the garden as metaphor. Her incorporation of time as material is also significant, whether expressed through performance, narrative, or the movement of light, air and liquid. Upon entering the low-lit exhibition, the viewer is enveloped by the show’s two signature works. One is a multi-layered 43-foot long scroll-like landscape painting on translucent acrylic, which is set off from the wall to create shadows from light projections across its surface. Composed of many individual panels that surround three walls, it is designed to flow together to offer a panoramic view. The nuanced painting, as subtle and mystical as its predecessors, speaks of the artist’s contribution to both Eastern and Western artistic discourse. In the center of the room, a striking large-scale floor sculpture of a black paper garden folds out accordion-style from nothingness to a fully realized garden, tight and controlled in places and wild and unruly in others. Based the opera set design, the garden also references the live gardens and plants worldwide that the artist has painted with Chinese ink.

Opening reception Thursday, May 11, 5 – 7 PM

‘Paradise Scaled V’, 2013. Chinese ink on hand-cut paper, vitrine, 31 x 24 x 35 in.


2) Zeyang Wang: Tomorrow’s Mythologies (Cloud Gallery, 5/12 – 5/23) – Photographs and images are man-made products. How they are exhibited in this show reflects the way artist Zeyang Wang sees things and the subtle implications from his consciousness. Having majored in chemical engineering in college, Wang creates images by scientifically connecting tens of thousands of pixels, like an engineer working on his latest experiment. His works evoke past masters and classicism.  Portraits in the series Girl with a Hat series are illuminated like those from the Baroque age, and much of his recent photography is inspired by Greek myths about princes, deities, and sacrifices, often seen in Renaissance art.

Zeyang Wang, ‘Doranissa’, 2016. Image courtesy of the artist


3) Lin Sha (Gallery 456, 5/12 – 6/9) – In a career spanning nearly sixty years, contemporary ink artist Sha Lin (1940-2010) strove for innovation through a series of breakthroughs in developing his personal aesthetics in a wide range of mediums including ink art, Chinese calligraphy, oils, and installation. The work by Lin is based on his interpretation of I Ching, Yin and Yang, Five Elements, Chinese herbal medicine, and the Oriental cosmographical philosophy. Featuring ink art composed of profound imagery, Chinese calligraphy with dynamic strokes, and installation from his later years, this exhibition provides an opportunity to experience Lin’s work in retrospect. From the exhibits dated from 1960s to 2000s, the viewers can see Lin exploring the possibilities of Shan Shui painting through various forms and materials.

Opening reception: May 12, 6 – 8 PM


4) Inter/Exist: Two Years in Jackson Heights (Flux Factory, 5/18 – 5/21) – Inter/Exit: Two Years in Jackson Heights features new works by Gezi Cao, a writer and artist based in NYC. Her work spans a broad array of media — text, animation, water color, oil painting, and ceramics — that focus on one central theme: the different ways that people experience loneliness. Upon entering the exhibition, the viewer encounters an entrance into a second-floor video store on Roosevelt Avenue. This is followed by images of multicultural storefronts. The main exhibition includes five large paintings in different media – canvas, wood board, and fabric – showing the faces of five foreign-born American subjects facing forward, with videos of their backs and audio of them seen and heard at behind the paintings.

Opening reception: May 18, 6 PM


Closing soon:

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)


Current shows:

In addition to the below is The Map is Not the Territory for which SVA MA Curatorial Practice fellow Lux Yuting Bai is one of the curators.  It runs April 21 to May 14 at Pfizer Building, 630 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn.

Visit the exhibition calendar for details for the current shows listed below. Check the museum or gallery’s website for hours of operation.

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

Inter/Exist: Two Years in Jackson Heights (Flux Factory, 5/18 – 5/21)

Zeyang Wang: Tomorrow’s Mythologies (Cloud Gallery, 5/12 – 5/23)

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)

Lin Sha (Gallery 456, 5/12 – 6/9)

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

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

Geng Xue – Mount Sumeru (Klein Sun Gallery, 5/4 – 6/17)

Rewoven: Innovative Fiber Art (QCC Art Gallery CUNY, 3/16 – 6/20) 

Rewoven: Innovative Fiber Art – Part II (Goodwin-Ternbach Museum, Queens College, 4/6 – 5/26)

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: Chinese chess in Chinatown. Photo by Andrew Shiue