* On the drawing board at MGM is a production to star Michael Douglas playing Brit John Drewe, a brilliant con man who during the Reagan years enticed a talented forger, John Myatt, to crank out fakes in the styles of Impressionists and Modern Masters. Drewe was a master himself in creating provenances for the newly minted works, which he then sold to members of the art establishment. Allegedly, 127 of the 200 counterfeits produced by Myatt are still in circulation. The script by David Henry Hwang is based on "The Art Con of the Century," an investigative article by author and journalist Peter Landesman.
* The Artguys--conceptual-art duo Jack Massing and Michael Galbreth--are producing a new Sunset Boulevard bit of performance art. Local painter Adam Harteau has been commissioned, for $50,000 by the Artguys (who in turn were commissioned by Absolute Vodka), to create a giant billboard featuring a bottle of the clear booze while overpainting the words "Absolut" and "Artguys" 1,000 times. In essence, the work-in-progress is a variation on their installation work, "One Thousand Coats of Paint," created one decade ago in their Texas studio.
NEW HAVEN, CONN.
* After spending nearly 40 years with an 800-pound roommate--the Yale School of Architecture--the Yale Art School now has a home of its own. At the end of last year, University officials dedicated Holcombe T. Green Jr. Hall, a former community center on Chapel Street that was renovated for the school at a cost of $20 million. The oldest art school in the country, the School of Fine Arts was founded in 1869. Originally in Street Hall, the school was moved into the new Art & Architecture Building in 1963. Alumni who later became prominent in the contemporary art world include Chuck Close and Claes Oldenburg, Jennifer Bartlett and Richard Serra, designer Ivan Chermayeff and cartoonist Gary Trudeau.
* The Orthodox Church here has named the apostle St. Matthew as patron saint of the Russian Tax Police, the newspaper Sevodnya has reported. The tax police, who are famous for storming buildings in black ski masks to conduct their audits, have had an image problem recently, as did the tax collectors in ancient Rome, one of whom was St. Matthew. The Moscow newspaper quoted a police spokesman as saying that the Russian tax agency had won the support of the church in part by helping to renovate a local cathedral.
* A Manhattan man convicted of criminal mischief for smearing white paint across a controversial painting at the Brooklyn Museum of Art has been fined $250. The man, Dennis Heiner, 72, had faced a year in prison and a $1,000 fine for having defaced the painting, "The Holy Virgin Mary," by British artist Chris Ofili. The artwork, a portrait of the Virgin Mary that incorporated elephant dung and pornographic images, had been criticized as sacrilegious by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who sought to withdraw financing for the museum.
* Recently the Brooklyn Museum presented a show called "Hip-Hop Nation: Roots, Rhymes and Rage," which contained 47 works by graffiti artists donated to the museum in June 1999 when heirs of Sidney Janis, who died in 1989, closed the gallery on West 57th Street in Manhattan and cleared out bins of work that had been warehoused for years. But two graffiti artists whose works were given to the museum, Michael Tracy and Anthony Clark, now say that at least a dozen of the pieces were never the property of the Janis estate, and that it had no right to give them to the Brooklyn Museum or anyone else. The issue is further clouded by the fact that some of the art was produced on subway car panels that were the property of the Metropolitan Transit Authority.
* An Oregon man who posed as a scholar to steal two antique Chinese snuff bottles from the Princeton University Art Museum has pleaded guilty to theft. The man, Roland Yazhari, went to the museum twice in 1994 to see a collection of the bottles. …