Friends of the Gallery

Dreams of the Kings: A Jade Suit for Eternity, Treasures of the Han Dynasty from Xuzhou, China Institute’s renowned exhibition featuring burial artifacts and exquisite jade from the Chu Kingdom, opened in December at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. Several Friends of the Gallery members joined Gallery Director Willow Weilan Hai and Nelson-Atkins senior curator of East Asian art Colin MacKenzie to celebrate the exhibition’s grand opening at the world-renowned museum. Nelson-Atkins Museum’s Director Emeritus Marc Wilson and wife Elizabeth Wilson welcomed China Institute’s Friends of the Gallery into their home for a tour of their Asian art and design collection.

The exhibition has already garnered the attention of several media channels, including a nearly half-page article in the Wall Street Journal. “Dreams of the Kings: A Jade Suit for Eternity originated at New York’s China institute Gallery, whose director, Willow Weilan Hai, collaborated with a team from the Xuzhou Museum which lent the 70 plus works,” Lee Lawrence writes.

Dreams of the Kings: A Jade Suit for Eternity will remain on display at the Nelson-Atkins Museum until April 1st.

Since its establishment in 1966, China Institute Gallery has gained renown for introducing Chinese art and culture through exhibitions and related programs which enhance cultural understanding between Chinese and Americans, and enrich the artistic climate of New York City. It is with the generous support from our Friends of the Gallery that the Gallery is able to excel at presenting its innovative exhibitions and publications. Friends of the Gallery (FOTG) is a category of membership for friends and supporters who share a special love for the art of China.

As a token of our sincere gratitude, the Gallery provides six annual events exclusively for Friends of the Gallery. Friends are invited to opening celebrations of the Gallery’s exhibitions, unique visits to leading private art collections, and up-close interactions with artists, collectors, curators and scholars. Whether you are a longtime admirer of Chinese art or your interest is just beginning, we invite you to become an active supporter of China Institute Gallery. Find out about the benefits of being a Friend of the Gallery, and be a part of enduring Chinese art and civilization.

Private Tour: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Antonio Ratti Textile Center & Spirited Creatures: Animal Representations in Chinese Silk and Lacquer

Friday, January 26, 11:30AM – 1:30PM
Open only to FOTG and China Fashion Members
Speakers: Mei Mei Rado, Pengliang Lu
Location: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10028

This January China Institute’s Friends of the Gallery and China Fashion members are invited to an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Antonio Ratti Textile Center followed by a tour of the exhibition Spirited Creatures: Animal Representations in Chinese Silk and Lacquer led by curator Pengliang Lu.

This event has reached capacity. For questions or to register by phone, please contact Michael Liu at 212-744-8181 ext. 158 or by email at [email protected] 

Kansas City Chinese Art Excursion

Thursday, December 14 through Sunday, December 17
FOTG fee: $600, Non-FOTG fee: $1,600

Join China Institute’s Friends of the Gallery on a specially-designed art excursion in Kansas City, MO.

Escape New York for an art-packed getaway in Kansas City. Explore the treasures of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the private collections of art specialists and help the China Institute Gallery celebrate its current exhibition’s opening at the Nelson-Atkins Museum.

December 14: Arrive in Kansas City, join the China Institute with a welcome cocktail at the Raphael Hotel lounge

December 15: Visit the exquisite art and design collection of Nelson-Atkins Director Emeritus Marc Wilson, Chinese art specialist, at his contemporary farmhouse in the hills northwest of Kansas City. Celebrate opening night of Dreams of the Kings at the private home of a Nelson-Atkins supporter

December 16: Tour behind-the-scenes at the Nelson-Atkins Museum storage, led by East Asian Art senior curator Colin MacKenzie. Dine on authentic Kansas City BBQ.

December 17: Return to New York

Register online. For questions or to register by phone, please contact Xenna Goh at 212-744-8181 ext. 117 or by e-mail at [email protected]

Past Events

Sunday Brunch at Christie’s

Sunday, September 10, 2017
Tour: 9:30-10:30am, Brunch and lecture series begin at 10:30am
Location: Christie’s 20 Rockefeller Plaza , New York, NY 10020

This event is open to current special membership levels and guests ONLY. For more information, visit:

Start Sunday morning off with a curated tour of Christie’s Asia Week auction items, led by former China Institute Gallery Committee member and Christie’s Senior Consultant Robert D. Mowry. Following the tour, Chairpersons Jonathan Stone and Athena Zonars will host Christie’s brunch celebrating its fall sales for Asian Art Week.

For more information, please contact Xenna Goh, [email protected], 212-744-8181, ext. 117

Exclusive preview of Sotheby’s Asia Week Auctions

Saturday, September 9, 2017
Tour at 4:30pm, Reception from 6-8pm
Location: Sotheby’s: 1334 York Ave, New York, NY 10021

This event is open to current special membership levels and guests ONLY. For more information, visit:

Join the Friends of the Gallery for a preview of Sotheby’s Asia Week auctions. Explore treasures of Ancient China dating back from the Neolithic period, as well as Imperial Qing Porcelain, carved jades, and contemporary Chinese art. Following the tour Sotheby’s will host its opening exhibition reception at 6pm.

For more information, please contact Xenna Goh, [email protected], 212-744-8181, ext. 117

Guided Tour: Chinese Ethnographic Collection at the American Museum of Natural History


Join Curator of Asian Ethnology, Dr. Laurel Kendall, for a behind-the-scenes tour of the American Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Asian Peoples and highlights of the Museum’s Chinese ethnographic collection in storage.

Open To Friends Of The Gallery Members Only

The American Museum of Natural History houses the finest collection of Asian ethnographic objects in the Western hemisphere, and is the product of decades of collecting as complete a record as possible of the cultures in the Pacific rim.

A large percentage of the Museum’s China collection was amassed between 1901 and 1904 by Bethold Laufer, a distinguished Sinologist and linguist. Laufer was hired by the Museum to travel and collect representative objects used in daily life, agriculture, folk religion, medicine, and in the practice of such crafts as printing, bookbinding, carpentry, enamelware, ceramics, and laquerware. Thus the Museum now holds one of the finest archives of late-Qing art and ethnographic objects.

Image number: 6772 “Brass figures from Tibet in compact storage, Anthropology Department,”
Finnin, Denis, AMNH Digital Special Collections


Guided Tour: Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection

Friday, January 8, 2016, 6:00PM
A FOTG Member-only Event

Join Assistant Curator of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, Joseph Scheier-Dolberg, for a private tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s current exhibition, Masterpieces of Chinese Painting. This exhibition highlights the gems of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s permanent collection in a chronological display, with an emphasis on works from the Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1271-1368) dynasties.

Studio Tour and Reception with: Zhang Hongtu

Friday, April 17, 5-7PM, 2015
(Attendees have the option of meeting at China Institute and traveling together)

Please join us for a tour of Zhang Hongtu’s Woodside, Queens studio, with a reception to follow. Zhang Hongtu grew up through both the Chinese Civil War and the ensuing Cultural Revolution. He went on to graduate from Beijing’s prestigious Central Academy of Arts and Crafts. After moving to New York in1982, Zhang became known for paintings, sculptures and mixed media installations utilizing Mao’s image to express his ideas about Communist China and the Culture Revolution. His most recent works focus on the relationship between nature and the human condition. Zhang’s work has been exhibited extensively, in shows at Princeton University Art Museum, the Guangzhou Triennial, the Havana Biennial, and at PS1 and the New Museum in New York. His first US retrospective will be on view at Queens Museum in October, 2015.

Summer Soiree

Tuesday, June 23, 6-8PM, 2015

Please join us for a very special Friends of the Gallery Summer Soirée in our Suzhou Garden on June 23rd, 2015. Your generous support and friendship is invaluable to China Institute Gallery and we would like to thank you by celebrating together one last time on 65th Street. This will be your chance to say goodbye to the wonderful building that has been home to China Institute Gallery for nearly 50 years. As you may know, in August we will be moving to our new location downtown, where we hope you will join us in Spring 2016 for the VIP opening of our first exhibition, Art of the Mountain: Through the Chinese Photographer’s Lens.