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|Some 800 lots of antiques and household furnishings owned by Madame Chiang Kai-shek, the 101-year-old widow of the Chinese Nationalist leader, were auctioned off last week in Norwalk, Conn. Her belongings brought approximately $508,000, well over the presale estimate, said Cathy Braswell, principal in the Braswell Galleries auction house there. Madame Chiang, who is revered by many Chinese Americans, moved to the United States from Taiwan after her husband's death in 1975. The items in the sale are from Hillcrest, Chiang's Long Island mansion. She now lives in New York City.
Top lots included an automated cathedral clock that sold for $64,000 and a pair of Regency-style chandeliers that went for $62,500. Among the more personal items: Madame Chiang's bed sold for $8,000 and three pen-and-ink drawings by the dowager herself went for $11,500. The auction of personal effects would seem to counter the rumors that Madame Chiang had hidden millions of dollars worth of gold after Mao drove the nationalists to Taiwan.
As it happens, Madame Chiang's grandson is Steve Chao, the Exeter and Harvard grad who is one of the developers of "shock tv," the smash hit concept that began with "Cops" on the Fox network. Chao was unexpectedly dismissed three years ago by Fox head Rupert Murdoch after Chao had brought in a stripper to entertain a conference. Unfortunately for Chao, Murdoch's embarassed wife witnessed the act.
"The High is part of a larger trend in reassessing formerly disparaged artists and in broadening the definition of art," said Merrill to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "[Solomon] called it a welcome release from the snobbery of the past, the elitist image of museums. I think it's good publicity. Besides, who gets to pick who is good and who is bad?"
A: When I was a little girl growing up in France, my mother worked sewing tapestries. Some of the tapestries were exported to America. The only problem was that many of the images on the tapestries were of naked people. My mother's job was to cut out the genitals of the men and women, and replace these parts with pictures of flowers so they could be sold to Americans. My mother saved all the pictures of the genitals over the years, and one day she sewed them together as a quilt, and then she gave the quilt to me. That's the difference between French and American esthetics.'' -- Louise Bourgeois in Harper's.
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