NYC Chinese Cultural Events and Art Exhibitions: November 10 – November 16, 2017

Chinatown Mural

This week: Lots of classic kung fu movies; a Chinatown-based theater company stages a Pulitzer-winning play; ethnographic films about China and documentaries that are part of a research project about how Americans perceive Chinese films; Guo Xiaolu and Michael Meyer; and more…

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.  For art, images, and other instances of Chineseness we see, follow our Instagram.

We’re looking for contributors!  If you’re interested in writing an article, contributing photos or artwork to be featured with our weekly events and exhibitions listing, letting us know about an event, send a pitch at


1) The Seventh Curse 《原振俠與衛斯理》– For Dr. Yuan adventure has become a way of life – though not one he asked for. On a routine mission to pick up some of the herb that cures AIDS the good doctor stumbles across a tribe deep in the countryside of Thailand. Unfortunately for them, the evil priest of this “Worm Tribe” is in the middle of resurrecting Old Ancestor with a ghastly human sacrifice! Furious that his ritual as been interrupted the priest puts a blood curse on Dr. Yuan and he narrowly escapes with his life.

Now a year later he must travel back to Thailand with his pipe-smoking professor friend (Chow-Yun Fat in the ‘Wisely’ role – something of Hong Kong’s Indiana Jones) must travel back to reverse the curse before his seventh vein bursts in his heart and kills him. To do this they must use an artifact called Buddha’s Eye. Along the way (with intrepid reporter Maggie at their side) they’ll fight monks, walking skeletons, monsters, rolling boulders, and the film’s true star – a small ghost that flies into people and then makes them explode.

Dir. Ngai Choi Lam (藍乃才)
Hong Kong, 1976, 78 min.
Cantonese with English subtitles

Friday, November 10, midnight
Spectacle Theater, 124 S 3rd St, Brooklyn


2) Documentary Screening and Panel Discussion – Fan Jian and Still Tomorrow (2016) – Despite not having finished high school, Yu Xiuhua became an overnight internet sensation and China’s most famous poet in 2015. Her book of poetry has become the most widely distributed and sold poetry book in China for the past 20 years. As a young woman with cerebral palsy, she discusses her limited marriage options in rural China and shares her experience as a woman who was married off to a stranger when she was 18. Through her poems, she contemplates her fate, and writes about the human body, life, sex, and her yearning for true love.

Still Tomorrow won the IDFA Special Jury Award for Feature-Length Documentary and was an official selection of IDFA 2016, HotDocs 2017, Sheffield Doc Fest 2017, and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

The Hollywood Reporter says its an “[a]rtful negotiation of the ever-tricky literature/cinema interface.”

Friday, November 10, 6 PM
Dodge Hall, Room 511, Columbia University


3) Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theater –  12 hours of Old Skool Kung Fu Classics celebrating the 40th Anniversary of 5 Deadly Venoms. Hosted by HK Action Star Robert Samuels with Special Guest Venom #1 Lu Feng! Venoms Panel with Lu Feng moderated by Kung Fu Historian Ric Meyers!

1. 5 Deadly Venoms 《五毒》 (#11 on Entertainment Weekly‘s Top 50 Cult Films List)
2. Return of the 5 Deadly Venoms aka Crippled Avengers 《殘缺》
3. Invincible Shaolin 《南少林與北少林》
4. Masked Avengers 《叉手》
5. The Flag of Iron 《鐵旗門》
6. The Rebel Intruders 《大殺四方》

Saturday, November 11, 10 AM – 8 PM
AMC Empire 25


4) China Crossings: Ethnographic Film in and of China – Join for a day of screenings and conversation that brings together anthropologists, film scholars, and filmmakers whose work and practice are integral to thinking about ethnographic film in and of China today.

“China Crossings: Ethnographic Film in and of China” seeks to interrogate the visual ethnographic gaze in China as it has been deployed by filmmakers from differing national and academic backgrounds. The second installation of a three-part series focused on the practices that aim to stabilize ethnographic film as a recognizable category of cultural production, this event centers on the endogenous and exogenous production of the genre of “ethnographic film” within and outside of China. Through screenings and discussions with filmmakers and scholars Ying Qian (Columbia), J.P. Sniadecki (Northwestern), Gu Tao, Zhen Zhang (NYU), and Angela Zito (NYU), this event will inquire into ethnographic filmmaking as a historical and contemporary practice, as well as an artifact and product of anthropological inquiry.

Films include: Writing in Water, Dir. Angela Zito, 2012; People’s Park, Dir. J.P. Sniadecki, 2012; and Aoluguya, Aoluguya, Dir. Gu Tao, 2007

Saturday, November 11, 11 AM – 6 PM
721 Broadway, 6th Floor, Michelson Theater


5) A Life Beyond Borders: An Author Talk and Film Screening with Xiaolu Guo – Xiaolu Guo is one of the most acclaimed Chinese-born writers and filmmakers of her generation, an iconoclastic and completely contemporary voice exploring identity and alienation in the context of an increasingly globalized world. On November 11, we will welcome Xiaolu Guo to China Institute for a conversation with New Yorker writer Jiayang Fan about her recently published memoir, Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China. The talk will be preceded by a screening of her recent film, UFO in Her Eyes.

UFO in Her Eyes is a surreal, Kafkaesque political metaphor about how a rural Chinese village is radically transformed due to an alleged UFO sighting, and this parable of change paints a restless future, not only for rural China, but also for the entire world.

Xiaolu Guo’s vivid, poignant memoir, Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China is the story of a curious mind coming of age in an inhospitable country, and her determination to seek a life beyond the limits of its borders. In the work, Ms. Guo presents a fascinating portrait of China in the eighties and nineties, how the Cultural Revolution shaped families, and how the country’s economic ambitions gave rise to great change. It is also a moving testament to the birth of a creative spirit, and of a new generation being raised to become citizens of the world. It confirms Xiaolu Guo as one of world literature’s most urgent voices.

Saturday, November 11, 1 PM
China Institute


6) Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks 《铁西区》– Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks was filmed over the course of two years between 1999 and 2001 and details the slow decline of Shenyang’s industrial Tiexi district, an area that was once a vibrant example of China’s socialist economy. With the rise of the free market and the move towards other industries, however, the factories of Tiexi have all begun to be closed down, and with them, much of the district’s worker-based infrastructure and social constructs.

The third part, “Rails” will be screened. It narrows its focus to a single father and son who scavenge the rail yards in order to sell raw parts to the factories. With the factories closing however, their future suddenly becomes uncertain.

This screening is a part of a research project about how American audiences understand Chinese documentaries. The researcher wants to explore what role culture plays in the interpretation of documentary films, in other word, does different culture background present an obstacle when audiences watch foreign documentaries. Hopefully, this research will deepen Chinese filmmakers’ understanding of their foreign audiences.

Saturday, November 11, 1 PM; RSVP required
349 5th Ave


7) Fortune Teller 《算命》– Fortune Teller is 2009 Chinese documentary directed by Tong Xu. Li Baicheng is a charismatic fortune teller who services a clientele of prostitutes and marginalized figures whose jobs, like his, are commonplace but technically illegal in China. He practices his ancient craft in a village near Beijing while taking care of his deaf and dumb wife Pearl, who he rescued from her family’s mistreatment. Winter brings a police crackdown on both fortune tellers and prostitutes, forcing Li and Pearl into temporary exile in his hometown, where he revisits old family demons. His humble story is told with chapter headings similar to Qing Dynasty popular fiction.

This screening is a part of a research project about how American audiences understand Chinese documentaries. The researcher wants to explore what role culture plays in the interpretation of documentary films, in other word, does different culture background present an obstacle when audiences watch foreign documentaries. Hopefully, this research will deepen Chinese filmmakers’ understanding of their foreign audiences.

Saturday, November 12, 1 PM; RSVP required
349 5th Ave


8) Roundtable of Non Others/chin(A)frica: an interface Press Opening – Held in conjunction with the Duke House fall exhibition chin(A)frica: an interface, this discursive roundtable collectively call into question uncontested notions of “otherness,” which are often defined in relation to Euro-American-centric cultural discourses. This assumption not only serves as an ironically reductive system that further flattens and weakens any meaningful explorations of otherness, but also ignores alternative models of exchange, self-fashioning, and identity politics not mediated by the West or its colonial legacy, particularly in light of new technological and geopolitical realities. Going beyond the bilateral condition explored in the exhibition, the 1-hour round table features scholars, artists, and curators working with a fascinating array of thick, porous localities and uncomfortable “otherness.”

Preceded by a curators’ tour at 6pm and followed by a reception.

Tuesday, November 14, 6 PM
The Institute of Fine Arts, NYU 1 East 78th Street


9) Author Talk: Michael Meyer, The Road to Sleeping Dragon: Learning China from the Ground Up – In 1995, at the age of twenty-three, Michael Meyer joined the Peace Corps and, after rejecting offers to go to seven other countries, was sent to a tiny town in Sichuan. Knowing nothing about China, or even how to use chopsticks, Meyer wrote Chinese words up and down his arms so he could hold conversations, and, per a Communist dean’s orders, jumped into teaching his students about the Enlightenment, the stock market, and Beatles lyrics. Soon he realized his Chinese counterparts were just as bewildered by China’s changes as he was.

Thus began an impassioned immersion into Chinese life. With humor and insight, Meyer puts readers in his novice shoes, winding across the length and breadth of his adopted country –from a terrifying bus attack on arrival, to remote Xinjiang and Tibet, into Beijing’s backstreets and his future wife’s Manchurian family, and headlong into efforts to protect China’s vanishing heritage at places like “Sleeping Dragon,” the world’s largest panda preserve.

In the last book of his China trilogy, Meyer tells a story both deeply personal and universal, as he gains greater – if never complete – assurance, capturing what it feels like to learn a language, culture and history from the ground up. Both funny and relatable, The Road to Sleeping Dragon is essential reading for anyone interested in China’s history, and how daily life plays out there today.

Wednesday, November 15, 6:30 PM
China Institute


10) Eileen Chang’s Traces of Love: A Ben Wang Lecture Series (Part 2) – Eileen Chang (张爱玲, 1920-1995) is the most celebrated and imitated writer of 20th century China. An unusually keen and cool observer of the hauntedness of the human heart, her rich dramas capture the dark corners in the minds of her characters, most of whom are misfits of pathos in a quickly changing time and world.

In this three-session lecture series, China Institute Senior Lecturer Ben Wang delves into Chang’s life and work by focusing on Traces of Love (留情), one of her finest novellas. Its central theme is the makeshifty and falsified nature of love and relationships among its cast of characters. With meticulous descriptions of urban environments, climates, colors and sounds as the backdrop, Eileen Chang transforms her characters and their unsavory manners into a poignant and memorable literary masterwork not to be missed by those who are interested in modern Chinese literature.

Participants are asked to attend all three sessions. The registration fee includes a copy of the text for each participant. The lecture will be conducted in English. No previous knowledge of the Chinese language is required.

Thursday, November 16, 6:30 PM
China Institute


1) Four Seas Players Presents Proof – The Four Seas Players continues their 48th season with the recipient of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Proof, a two-act drama written by David Auburn. The production is directed by Lai Yee Fung with a cast of four, to be performed in Chinese with English subtitles.

On the eve of her twenty-fifth birthday, Catherine, a troubled young woman, has spent years caring for her brilliant but unstable father, a famous mathematician. Now, following his death, she must deal with her own volatile emotions; the arrival of her estranged sister, Claire; and the attentions of Hal, a former student of her father’s who hopes to find valuable work in the 103 notebooks that her father left behind. Over the long weekend that follows, a burgeoning romance and the discovery of a mysterious notebook draw Catherine into the most difficult problem of all: How much of her father’s madness–or genius–has she inherited?

November 11 – 19
Abrons Arts Center – Underground Theater Henry Street Settlement, 466 Grand Street, NY 10002


2) A Deal – Like many new upper-middle-class Chinese families, Mr. and Mrs. Li are proud to give their only daughter a life they could only dream of (an Ivy League degree in art and an apartment in Manhattan), until they realize she’s turning into a dangerous stranger.

A Deal is a dark comedy that features a Chinese family’s home buying journey in New York in winter 2015, a time of increased real estate property ownership by overseas Chinese and a sharp decline in the value of the Chinese yuan against the US dollar. It reveals the ideological conflicts between the East and the West in contemporary society by tracking a little stream of the global cash flow.

This is the first Off-Broadway production for international known playwright Zhu Yi and A Deal will simultaneously tour China in Mandarin.

November 15 – December 10
Urban Stages, 259 W 30th St.


3) M. Butterfly  – The first Broadway revival of David Henry Hwang’s Tony Award-winning play stars Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe Award winner Clive Owen as Rene Gallimard, Jin Ha as Song Liling and is directed by Tony Award winner Julie Taymor. M. Butterfly, charts the scandalous romance between a married French diplomat and a mysterious Chinese opera singer – a remarkable love story of international espionage and personal betrayal. Their 20-year relationship pushed and blurred the boundaries between male and female, east and west – while redefining the nature of love and the devastating cost of deceit.

talks about how the play has always been more than the salacious story on which it is based and how it remains provocative through 30 years of shifting social views and geopolitics

Through February 25, 2018
Cort Theatre, 138 W. 48th Street


Group Shows and Local Artists:

Gallery 456 presents two person show The Mind’s Movement, an exhibition of paintings by the Icelandic artist Valgardur Gunnarsson and New York artist Ting Yih. The show tracks down the varying states of mind of these artists and the creative process. Both artists employ a similar technique of layering paint on paint, color over another color, to form a wealth of densely textured background.

Breaking the Cocoon opens at Grady Alexis Gallery on November 5, showcasing works by Chenlin Cai, Yinjie Deng, Dongze Huo, Sarah Shinhyo Kim, Juna Law, Michael Sheng, Shanlin Ye, and Longfei Zhang.

Wang Xu is one of the artists at The 2017 Socrates AnnualThe Socrates Annual – formerly known as The Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition – is an annual exhibition of new public art that addresses the most urgent issues of today.

Fina Yeung will exhibit her mixed-media cardboard installations at ARTISTS CO-OP at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning which runs rom September 21 – November 11.

Chinese Indonesian artist FX Harsono is one of the artists in Asia Society’s After Darkness: Southeast Asian Art in the Wake of History which runs from September 8, 2017 – January 21, 2018.  A frequent theme in his work is about being part of the ethnic Chinese minority in the country.  From the exhibition page:

Fou Gallery shows the fecund botany-themed works of Michael Eade which invoke a certain Chinese aesthetic in Realms of the Soil.

Opening and Newly Listed:

1)Luyang Asia Character Setting Show (Special Special, 11/10 – 11/24) – Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation (BCAF) and Special Special presents LUYANG Asia Character Setting Show
Presented as part of Creative China Festival. Showcasing a selection of fashion design pieces by Lu Yang, alongside her latest video work, the exhibition reflects the artist’s unique style and aesthetics. Lu’s video and new media art breaks from the boundaries by merging science, computer programming, and digital imaging technologies (e.g. infrared camera image and X-ray), with moving image and various types of new media. Her fashion design label: LUYANG Asia, is deeply rooted in her new media art. The finished works exist in the context of anime, gaming, and sci-fi subcultures, exploring complex issues such as mortality, mental illness, neuroscience, religion, and sexuality.

Opening reception: Friday, November 10, 6 – 8 PM, Special Special, 44 E 1st Street


2) Guo Hongwei: Plastic Heaven (Chambers Fine Art, 11/16 – 12/9) – Chambers Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening on November 16 , 2017 of Guo Hongwei: Plastic Heaven. Since Things, his first exhibition at Chambers Fine Art in 2009, Guo Hongwei has continued to focus on painting although in The Great Metaphorist in 2014 he adopted a multi-media approach for a metaphorical exploration of the daily commute between his home and studio. In spite of this temporary diversion, in the last decade he has produced a remarkably varied group of paintings and water colors in which manmade objects and materials from the natural world are transformed by his innovative handling of watercolor and unusual combinations of different pigments and media in his oil paintings.

Opening reception: Thursday, November 16, 6 – 8 PM

Guo Hongwei, Green in Snow, 2017, Oil on canvas. Image courtesy the artist and Chambers Fine Art.


3) Homer Shew: The Inscrutable Chinese (364 Broadway, 11/16 – 11/30) – Presented by Think!Chinatown and chasama, The Inscrutable Chinese explores the bodies and visage of the Chinese immigrant experience, distilling the intense wonder of seemingly quotidian life into lush, multi-dimensional portraits. These portraits are Homer Shew’s artistic response to the cultural codes and social masks that the diaspora community utilizes to navigate the fractious landscape of American identity.

Shew paints from photographs that epitomize his foreign subjects’ unique relationship to their American environment. This method of portraiture endows his paintings with feelings of displacement, estrangement, and impenetrability. Shew uses oil paints to inject drama, humanity, and even decadence into fleeting glimpses of these vibrant individuals, whom Western eyes habitually compound into a collective caricature of foreignness.


Closing soon:

Guo Hongwei: The Pre-existent Painting (Chambers Fine Art, 10/1 – 11/12)

Only One You: Solo Exhibition by Teng Teng (Flux Factory, 11/09 – 11/12)

Dreams of the Kings: A Jade Suit for Eternity, Treasures of the Han Dynasty from Xuzhou (China Institute, 5/25 – 11/12)

Current shows:

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

Guo Hongwei: The Pre-existent Painting (Chambers Fine Art, 10/1 – 11/12)

Only One You: Solo Exhibition by Teng Teng (Flux Factory, 11/09 – 11/12)

Dreams of the Kings: A Jade Suit for Eternity, Treasures of the Han Dynasty from Xuzhou (China Institute, 5/25 – 11/12)

Wei Xiaoguang: Durable Pixels (Sleep Center, 10/27 – 11/17, 2017)

Luyang Asia Character Setting Show (Special Special, 11/10 – 11/24)

East of Que Village: The Ends of Nature (The Walther Collection, 10/6 – 11/25)

Closer to the Beautiful World (Klein Sun Gallery, 10/12 – 11/25)

ACAW THINKING PROJECTS Pop-Up: Yang Xin (Beijing) (Klein Sun Gallery, 10/12 – 11/25)

The Mind’s Movement (Gallery 456, 11/10 – 12/8)

Guo Hongwei: Plastic Heaven (Chambers Fine Art, 11/16 – 12/9)

Li Jun: Zi Jie at East Lake (ACAW x Mana Contemporary, 10/15 – 12/15)

Song Dong: Eating the City (ACAW x Mana Contemporary, 10/15 – 12/15)

Uncharted Waters (Boers-Li Gallery, 10/6 – 12/23)

Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World (Guggenheim Museum, 10/6/17 – 1/8/18)

Ai Weiwei: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors (multiple sites NYC, 10/12/17 – 2/1/18)

Patty Chang: The Wandering Lake, 2009 – 2017 (Queens Museum, 9/17/17 – 2/18/18)

chin(A)frica: an interface (NYU, Institute of Fine Arts, 10/27/17 – 2/18/18)

FOLD: Golden Venture Paper Sculptures (Museum of Chinese in America, 10/5 /17 – 3/25/18)

In Focus: An Assembly of Gods (Asia Society Museum, 9/26/17 – 3/25/18)

Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong: Constellation (Seward Park, June 2017 – June 2018)

Streams and Mountains without End: Landscape Traditions of China (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 8/26/17 – 1/9/19)

Lead image: A mural in NYC’s Chinatown done in a classic vintage Teich company style makes the storied immigrant community part of Americana.  Photo by Andrew Shiue