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Last Monday, a man identified as Donald Romps crashed his car into the Getty Museum before jumping out of his vehicle, running around on the Getty plaza and being arrested by L.A. police. Museum officials refused to comment on the incident, which resulted in some chipped stones on a museum stairway. The Getty Museum is closed on Mondays.

Christie's announced worldwide auction sales totaling $870 million for the first six months of 1998, a decrease of 4 percent over the same period the previous year (and somewhat less than the $968 million in sales posted for the period by arch-rival Sotheby's). Christie's explains that the drop in sales is really only one percent, since for the first time the London sale of important 20th-century pictures was shifted from June to July, i.e., the second half of the year, and what's more, the first half of 1997 included the sale of the $93-million Loeb collection, the third largest ever sold at auction. Christie's still sees "continued sales growth" as "the underlying trend." The auctioneer sold approximately 60 artworks for $1 million or more during this period.

Check out Gagosian Gallery in SoHo Sept. 9-12, when works by over 30 contemporary artists go on sale to benefit the Association of Cancer Online Resources (ACOR), the largest provider of cancer support and information on the internet. Co-chairs of the benefit are Richard Serra and Elizabeth Murray; works by Richard Artschwager, Jennifer Bartlett, Ann Hamilton, Julian Lethbridge, Brice Marden, Bruce Nauman, Laurie Simmons and many others are included. Fund-raising goal is $500,000.

A settlement has been reached in the long-running dispute over ownership of the Edgar Degas pastel Landscape with Smokestacks (1890). Art Institute of Chicago trustee Daniel C. Searle bought the work for $850,000 in 1987 from New York dealer Margo Schab, and has frequently exhibited it since then. In 1996, three heirs of Holocaust victims Friedrich and Louise Gutmann, who had apparently sent the pastel to Paris in 1939, filed a lawsuit claiming ownership of the work (it was scheduled to go to court in Sept.). The Gutmann heirs say the pastel was stolen during the war; Searle says the Gutmanns could just as easily have sold it.

The solution? The Degas is to be appraised and then acquired by the Art Institute. Searle is donating his half; proceeds from the Gutmann half goes to their daughter, Lili Vera Collas Gutmann, 79, and their two grandsons, Nick and Simon Goodman. Part of the settlement is a wall label, reading "Purchase from the collection of Friedrich and Louise Gutmann and a gift of Daniel C. Searle.'' The pastel goes on view at the Art Institute this fall, beginning Oct. 9.

Art International New York opens Sept. 9-13, 1998, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, yet another attempt to launch a high-end art fair at New York's famously mass-market exposition center. Among the 130 exhibitors, who pay about $5,000 for a stand measuring 10 x 10 ft., are Brooke Alexander, Clarissa Dalrymple, Gavin Brown's Enterprise, Tom Healy, Bernard Jacobson and Bronwyn Keenan. The fair is a production of the global exhibition behemoth Advanstar Communications, which does maybe 80 other expositions a year. General admission is $15; $50 tickets to the opening night vernissage benefit the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art highlights 27 works from the 250-item gift to the museum made last year by Bay Area collectors Vicki and Kent Logan in "A Portrait of Our Times: An Introduction to the Logan Collection," Sept. 29, 1998-Jan. 3, 1999. Among the works are Warhol's Untitled (Silver Electric Chair) (1963) and Double Jackie (1964), plus works by Colescott, Guston, Hirst, Kiefer, Koons, Ligon, Morimura, Nauman, Richter and Cindy Sherman.

The Henry Luce Foundation has awarded $2 million to the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco to establish the Henry R. Luce Gallery in the museum's new $120-million Civic Center facility slated to open in 2001. The gallery will be dedicated to Chinese art; Henry R. Luce was born in China, the son of missionary parents.

New Zealand police have recovered the James Tissot painting stolen by a gunman in early August from the Auckland Art Gallery. Police said the $2-million painting, Still on Top (1874) was recovered from under a bed in a farm cottage near Port Waikato, south of Auckland. A man has been arrested and charged with aggravated robbery.

Video installation artist Jessica Bronson has won the second Emerging Artist Award sponsored by the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and the Citibank Private Bank. The award goes to a Southern California artist who hasn't had a solo museum show, and includes one -- Bronson's is at MOCA, Dec. 6, 1998-Mar. 7, 1999. In a bizarre display of institutional paranoia, MOCA won't reveal the amount of the award.

New York's coolest gallery, SoHo stalwart TZ'Art, reopens as Frederieke Taylor/TZ'Art at the second floor of 600 Broome Street on Oct. 29 with an installation by Jackie Ferrara.

New York's coolest gallery, the AC Project Room, opens in new quarters on Sept. 12 with a group show featuring work by Michel Auder, Paul Bloodgood, Anne Chu, Aki Fujiyoshi, Paula Hayes, Josiah McElheny and Fritz Welch. The address is 453 West 17th Street -- the same building that houses Richard Anderson, Rupert Goldsworthy and a new gallery opened by Janice Guy and Margaret Murray (who are showing Reinhold Mucha in October).

Recently, ArtNet News related that New York art consultant Abigail Asher had told Vogue that she approved of short skirts in the art biz, saying "you could show up and sell a painting in a short skirt." Now, it has been brought to our attention that in the August issue of Town and Country the comely art-market power broker has further to say on the Ali McBealish issue, noting, "I don't wear skirts to work. Imagine me at auction with a paddle in one hand, a catalog in my lap, and a short skirt riding up -- and my tights begin to rip. Impossible!" Sounds like -- buy long, sell short!

Stuart Regan, 39, Los Angeles art dealer who showed Matthew Barney, Lari Pittman, Catherine Opie and other avant-gardists at his Regan Projects gallery, died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma on Aug. 18. The son of New York dealer Barbara Gladstone, Regan worked at P.S.1 in Long Island City and at Fred Hoffman Gallery in L.A. before opening his own space in L.A. in 1989.

HARRY LUNN, 1933-98
Harry H. Lunn Jr., 65, bon-vivant photo dealer who was a pioneering force in the contemporary photography market, died of a heart attack on Aug. 20, collapsing on a Paris railroad platform while waiting for a train to Normandy, where he had a country house. After a career as an intelligence operative (his Foundation for Youth and Student Affairs was outed as a CIA front by Ramparts magazine in 1967) and a stint selling real estate, Lunn began dealing photography in the early '70s in Washington, D.C. He handled everything from Berenice Abbott's Eugene Atget archive to Robert Mapplethorpe's "X Portfolio." Since 1984 he had lived in Manhattan.