by DAMIAN WEBER
The diaries of Andy Warhol were meticulous. Their purpose was to create a record of business expenses and personal expenses that could be presented to the IRS in case of an audit. But they became more. It was a conversation between two friends, who would call each other daily at 9 a.m. and talk for an hour or two. Pat Hackett would keep notes, then immediately type them after getting off the phone, capturing his voice while it was still stuck in her head. This log was over 20,000 pages, which she edited to 800 and published as The Andy Warhol Diaries.
I have experienced a lot of hostility about the friendship of Andy and Jean Michel Basquiat — mainly surrounding the idea that Andy was using him. My friends make disparaging and dismissive comments that Andy was a hack and a jerk. But a lot of these same friends aren't impressed by Jean Michel either. Trying to persuade them is to argue against "nuh-uh," and "you're wrong." So, instead, here's every diary entry he composed about Jean Michel, for your consideration. The point, the reason why, was because, I love Jean Michel, I love Andy, and I love the truth.
Monday, October 4, 1982
Down to meet Bruno Bischofberger (cab $7.50). He brought Jean Michel Basquiat with him. He's the kid who used the name "Samo" when he used to sit on the sidewalk in Greenwich Village and paint T-shirts, and I'd give him $10 here and there and send him up to Serendipity to try to sell the T-shirts there. He was just one of those kids who drove me crazy. He's black but some people say he's Puerto Rican so I don't know. And then Bruno discovered him and now he's on Easy Street. He's got a great loft on Christie Street. He was a middle-class Brooklyn kid-I mean, he went to college and things-and he was trying to be like that, painting in the Greenwich Village.
And so had lunch for them and then I took a Polaroid and he went home and within two hours a painting was back, still wet, of him and me together. And I mean, just getting to Christie Street must have taken an hour. He told me his assistant painted it.
Tuesday, October 5, 1982
And I forgot to add that with Jean Michel Basquiat the day before, he reached into his pocket and said he'd pay back the $40 he owed me from the days when he painted T-shirts and used to borrow money from me, and I said oh no, that's okay, and I was embarrassed — I was surprised that's all I'd given him, I thought it was more.
Monday, November 15, 1982
Jean Michel Basquiat who used to paint graffiti as “Samo” came to lunch, I’d invited him.
Wednesday, May 18, 1983
Oh, and Paige is upset — Jean Michel Basquiat is really on heroin — and she was crying, telling me to do something, but what can you do? He got a hole in his nose and he couldn't do coke anymore, and he wanted to still be on something, I guess. I guess he wants to be the youngest artist to go. Paige gave him a big art show uptown last month and she's the reason he's been around the office-they're "involved."
Wednesday, June 1, 1983
Bruno came to lunch, and Jean Michel Basquiat. And after Paige'd been crying away that he was destroying himself on drugs and was going to die, here he showed up as healthy as a horse, he's put on twenty pounds, and he was just in Jamaica, and he looked actually handsome. He gets his hair cut at this shop on Astor Place that's gotten so chic, it used to be $2.50 for a haircut and now it's $4 something.
Tuesday, August 9, 1983
Paige stayed overnight with Jean Michel in his dirty smelly loft downtown. How I know it smells is because Chris was there and said (laughs) there were crumpled up hundred-dollar bills in the corner and bad B.O. all over and you step on paintings. The day Jean Michel came over to exercise with me he made a point of saying that Paige had made it to work on time, so that's how he was letting me know. He'd thought that Paige was Jay's girlfriend, which she was at one point, but then he asked her out and she went. And they had a date and this was the date-they rented a U-Haul and went out to Brooklyn to a black neighborhood and went to a White Castle and had eight hamburgers and then two people came in with big sticks and they thought they were going to kill them. You know, it was a "kooky date." This was the day before he went to St. Moritz to see Bruno. Mary Boone and Bruno are both handling him. And Thomas Ammann without either one of them knowing had a few works of Jean Michel's to sell. I don't know where he got them. He said from some "secret source”-oh wait! I bet it was Paige! Oh Thomas is a creep, meeting all these people through us and then being secretive. I bet they were from Paige because she had that show a few months ago of Jean Michel's stuff!
Monday, August 15, 1983
Cabbed to meet Jean Michel Basquiat at the workout with Lidija, he was doing it with us (cab $5). He's in love with Paige Powell.
Thursday, August 18, 1983
Went to meet Jean Michel Basquiat and did a workout with Lidija (cab $5).
Sunday, August 21, 1983
Cabbed to meet Jean Michel Basquiat and Paige Powell ($5). And Paige is just so nutty, she laughs so loud at nothing. I would put her in the category of schizophrenia. Jean Michel said he never finished high school. I'm surprised, because I thought he went to college. He's twenty-two.
Monday, August 22, 1983
Went to meet Jean Michel at the office and I took pictures of him in a jockstrap.
Friday, August 26, 1983
Cab to meet Jean Michel and we worked out ($6). He's going to rent the carriage house we own at 57 Great Jones Street. So Benjamin went over to get a lease and I hope it works out. Jean Michel is trying to get on a regular daily painting schedule. If he doesn't and he can't pay his rent it'll be hard to evict him. It's always hard to get people out.
Wednesday, August 31, 1983
Cab to meet Lidija ($5). Worked out with Jean Michel who brought me some of his hair, cut off and put on a helmet. It looked great. He got Bruno to pay his first month's security and rent. He wanted to buy the Great Jones Street carriage house from me but I told him that together with our other one around the corner from it on the Bowery it was a nice lot, and that we might put a theater on it some day. He and Paige had a big fight because they had a date for 9:00 and he didn't show up till 1:00.
Friday, September 2, 1983
Jean Michel didn't show up for the workout because he was up all night. He was in love that day with Paige.
Monday, September 5, 1983
Labor Day. Jean Michel called, he wanted some philosophy, he came over and we talked, and he's afraid he's just going to be a flash in the pan. And I told him not to worry, that he wouldn't be. But then I got scared because he's rented our building on Great Jones and what if he is a flash in the pan and doesn't have the money to pay his rent (supplies $35.06)
Monday, September 12, 1983
Jean Michel was late and he had to go back downtown so he was missing his pedicure. So I went over there and took his appointment ($35).
Tuesday, September 13, 1983
Jean Michel came over, he was drugged-out and excited, he brought a painting he wanted to show me. He told me a story about how he'd wanted to buy a pack of cigarettes so he did a drawing and sold it for $.75 and then a week later his gallery called up and said they had this drawing of his there and should they buy it for $1,000. Jean Michel thought it was funny. It is. And he was on his way upstairs to see if anybody would buy a painting of his for $2. I mean, because now his paintings go for $15,000 and so he wanted to see if anybody would give him $2 for one. Lidija was there, did a workout. Oh, and the girl Jean Michel took around the world and left in London arrived in New York and wanted a ticket back to California.
Wednesday, October 5, 1983 New York - Milan
Jean Michel came by the office to work out with Lidija and I told him I was going to Milan and he said he'd go, too, that he'd meet us at the airport. Worked all afternoon till 4:30. I hadn't thought Jean Michel would come, but while I was waiting in line at the airport he appeared, he was just so nutty but cute and adorable. He hadn't slept in four days, he said he was going to watch me sleep. He had snot all over the place. He was blowing his nose in paper bags. It was as bad as Christopher. Paige has turned him into sort of a gentleman, though, because now he's taking baths.
Thursday, October 6, 1983 - Milan
Jean Michel came by and said he was depressed and was going to kill himself and I laughed and said it was just because he hadn't slept for four days, and then after a while of that he went back to his room.
Saturday, October 8, 1983 - Milan - Paris
Jean Michel came in when we were leaving. He said he was staying on with Keith Haring to get publicity. Jean Michel's trying to get so famous so fast, and if it works, he'll have it, I guess.
Wednesday, October 12, 1983
And Paige is really upset because Jean Michel hasn't called her. He hasn't called us, either. She sells his paintings, she's been doing that for a while. And he dropped Mary Boone — she took 50 percent, Paige only takes 10 percent. He's still with Bruno, though, so that's how he'll still be shown. I told Paige that Jean Michel was after Joanna Carson in Milan, and maybe I shouldn't have. Paige said she might just forget him, that it had to be all or nothing. But naturally people are people and a fool is a fool so no matter what they say, they'll just go on being in love.
Tuesday, October 18, 1983
Jean Michel came by and I slapped him in the face. (laughs) I'm not kidding. Kind of hard. It shook him up a little. I told him, "How dare you dump us in Milan!" Benjamin put me up to it.
Friday, October 21, 1983
Jean Michel came in and Paige Powell was there with some clients. And Paige had set it up for Jean Michel to go to Vassar with Jennifer that night to give a talk — Jennifer goes to school there now-and the car was going to pick them all up. But Jean Michel told me he didn't want to take Paige up to Vassar with him because he would be wanting to fuck the girls up there. So when I got home there was a message from Robert Hayes saying Paige was hysterical because Jean Michel had never come in the car to pick her up. So that was mean. And I told her that that's the way life goes and I said we'd go out for drinks and I called Sean McKeon to come with us so that I could handle it better. And Sean's had a crush on me for a few years, and it's nice to be around someone who likes you. So we went to the Mayfair and had two champagnes and a coffee ($40). And Paige was so upset-here she'd just handed Jean Michel a $20,000 check for selling some of his paintings. She said she'd never show or sell his stuff again. I told her I'd let her do an exhibit of my work called "The Worst of Warhol" where I would just go into my closets and find all the really horrible stuff that had never worked out, so then she cheered up a little. But then in a little while she left because she was still so nervous. Sean dropped me and I went to bed.
Wednesday, October 26, 1983
Jean Michel was at the office all afternoon. Paige came in but left in a huff. I guess it's over between them because he wants to be free and easy and she wants to be involved.
Tuesday, November 1, 1983
And now Jean Michel has this blonde WASP girl that he's fucking. I think he hates all white women.
Sunday, November 13, 1983
At 9:00 Thomas picked me up and he said Richard Gere and Silvinha would meet us at VanDam, so we went down there and it was empty on Sunday night. Had broiled fish but didn't eat it. Richard was wearing a little hat and a mustache, and that's his look from The Cotton Club. And he was screaming about newspapers never getting things right, he was grand. He said he only came because he wanted to meet Keith Haring. He's buying art. He told me how he threw a Come painting of mine into the fireplace. What happened was I'd given Jean Michel a Come painting and he had it with him when he and &chard got drunk together, and Jean Michel didn't have anything to write his phone number on for Richard Gere except this painting of mine, so he wrote it on that and gave the painting to Richard. Then when Richard woke up the next morning. He said he saw it and thought it was disgusting and threw it into the fire. I told him it was my Come but actually it was Victor's. And Richard said that if he had all the money he wanted, he'd buy all the paintings of Balthus, who does the little girls smiling like after sex. They cost over a million now.
Tuesday, November 29, 1983
The New York Times had a big story on AIDS. The tourist business in Haiti is down to nothing.
Probably the tourists were only there secretly for the big cocks. Because Jean Michel is half Haitian and he really does have the biggest one.
Wednesday, December 14, 1983
Bruno came and drove us crazy. He didn't bring Jean Michel's rent payment, so later I called Jean Michel about his rent being due and then I had a fight with Jay because he gave Jean Michel my home phone number. He said, "Oh, I didn't know you didn't want..." I yelled at him, "Are your brains still with you?" I mean, he knew I wouldn't have Jean Michel coming up to my house — I mean he's a drug addict so he's not dependable. You can't have — I mean, so then why would I want him to have my home phone? Jay should have known better.
Tuesday, December 20, 1983
Jean Michel came up to the office but he was out of it. Clemente brought up some of the paintings that the three of us are working on together, and Jean Michel was so out of it he began painting away. Jean Michel and Clemente paint each other out. There's about fifteen paintings that we're working on together.
Monday, January 2, 1984
Got back to New York and got a Scull limo ($20 to the driver). The driver said he'd picked up Jean Michel and drove him to the airport to go to Hawaii for two months. And I hope he paid his rent in advance.
Wednesday, January 11, 1984
Jean Michel called from Hawaii. He said it wasn't so primitive out there, that the first guy he saw said, "Aren't you Jean Michel Basquiat, the New York City graffiti artist?" And he said he met these hippies out there and mentioned my name and they said, "Oh you mean that death warmed-over person on drugs?" And I mean, it's him they should be talking about. Jean Michel called again from Hawaii. I told him to cut off his ear. He probably will.
Monday, January 23, 1984
And Jean Michel is meeting all these women in Hawaii and he's going to L.A. to paint Richard Pryor and then going back to Hawaii. And Paige is going out there and I told her that she should make sure he's really going to be there when she gets there. I mean, she'll make all these plans and she'll get there and he'll be gone.
Sunday, January 29, 1984
No one was available to accompany me to the office, and I was afraid the elevator would get stuck, so I didn't go down. Paige made it to Hawaii. Jean Michel did make it back from Los Angeles to meet her there, I guess, and they were going off to some ranch.
Tuesday, February 7, 1984
Jean Michel called from Hawaii and talked a long time. Paige is back here now and she's in seventh heaven, overfucked, I guess. And now he's flying this other girl out there. Paige was stupid and paid her own way — she insisted because that's the way she is — and now he's paying for this other girl. He's paying $1,000 a week for this house. He owes us three months' rent and he's trying to get Bruno to pay.
Monday, March 12, 1984
Jean Michel came by, he's back from Hawaii, and he brought a rent check which was good.
Saturday, March 17, 1984
Dolly Parton was coming to the office to be interviewed. She arrived and she was great. She had two people with her. She said she has a place in New York and goes out and around, but I don't know how she can unless she puts another kind of wig on. She talked nonstop for four hours. She's a walking monologue. Jean Michel came by and he misunderstood something she said about "plantations" so he didn't like her but then I got him to come back in and she charmed him. She repeated herself a lot, called herself "trash" a lot. She said most of her groupies were lesbians and fags. She has a group of dykes that follows her around. She had her hairdresser and her girlfriend Shirley pick her up. They just came in a cab, not a limousine. I worked late.
Wednesday, April 11, 1984
I think Jean Michel called a couple of times before 8:00 but hung up. Then at 8:00 he called and we talked.
Thursday, April 12, 1984
Jean Michel came by. He'd been out all night. Got him to work on one of our joint paintings. He wanted spaghetti so we got some from La CoIonna ($71.45). He fell asleep and then he got up and he was up front by the phones with a big hard-on, like a baseball bat in his pants. I guess that's being young, I forget about those things.
Monday, April 16, 1984
Jean Michel was at the office, he brought his lunch and he was on the floor painting and not talking much. I think he stays up all night and so that was his bedtime. I did a Dog painting in five minutes at five of 6:00. I had a picture and I used the tracing machine that projects the image onto the wall and I put the paper where the image is and I trace. I drew it first and then I painted it like Jean Michel. I think those paintings we're doing together are better when you can't tell who did which parts. Then the streets were deserted and we finally figured out it was Passover. Dropped Benjamin ($7).
Tuesday, April 17, 1984
The 860 office said that Jean Michel was waiting there, but I went to the new office and since I was high I terrorized everybody. Walked down to 860 and as we passed the new chic food place on 23rd Street a couple of black truck drivers yelled, "Hey faggots!" so that got me down. Especially because truck drivers are usually the ones who're cheerful and recognize me and wave. Maybe these were faggots themselves. Got to the office and called Jean Michel and he came up and painted over a painting that I did, and I don't know if it got better or not.
Wednesday, April 18, 1984
Kate has eyes for everyone. She's so bubbly, so pretty. Let's hope Jay stays in this good mood. And Jean Michel was after Kate, too-she styled an Interview shoot of him and de Antonio in Armani clothes and he left five joints for her.
Monday, April 23, 1984
Cabbed downtown ($7). Called Jean Michel and he came up and ordered Chinese food from a place on Sixth Avenue. And then Keith Haring wanted me to go and see his paintings before they got shipped out, because he said 1 influenced him-he's painting on canvas now. So we ate Chinese food and things from Pie in the Sky.
Monday, April 30, 1984
Then Jean Michel called me. His show at Mary Boone is coming up this weekend and I guess he's nervous. Sent out for lunch ($44.25).
Wednesday, May 2, 1984
Jean Michel was there but he was nervous about his show and I had to push his hand around the canvas. For the first time in a while he'd taken heroin, I think, so he was moving slow (cab $7).
Thursday, May 3, 1984
Jean Michel called and wanted us to come down to the Mary Boone Gallery to look at his show, so I said we would. So I took Jay and Benjamin and it looked great (cab $5). Jean Michel was very nervous. He was with a pretty Korean girl who's the secretary of Larry Gagosian, his gallery person in L.A. But he'll just break her heart. All these pretty girls go for him. They were lovey-dovey, holding hands. Then Jean Michel wanted to go to dinner, so we decided to go down to Odeon because that way we'd be close to the Area party for Vincent Spano that Vic Ramos was having (cab $6).
Saturday, May 5, 1984
It was beautiful and sunny, did a lot of work. Called Jean Michel and he said he'd come up. He came and rolled some joints. He was really nervous, I could tell, about his show opening later on at Mary Boone's. Then he wanted a new outfit and we went to this store where he always buys his clothes. He had b.o. We were walking and got to Washington Square Park where I first met him when he was signing his name as "Samo" and writing graffiti and painting T-shirts. That area brought back bad memories for him. Later on his show was great, though, it really was.
Monday, May 7, 1984
So went to the office and the office was busy. Bruno was there and Jean Michel was hiding our work from Bruno-the ones that just Jean Michel and I are doing. Bruno has the ones that Jean Michel and I and Clemente did, but he doesn't know about these that're just the two of us.
Tuesday, May 8, 1984
Jean Michel came up and was so paranoid, he smokes so much marijuana and then gets paranoid. Then he called me up in the middle of the night and said that his painting at auction went for $19,000. I bet mine went for nothing. Probably. My Liz. Probably $10,000. I can just see it. So his went for $19,000. And there were all these parties for the Museum of Modern Art and I was invited to all of them but I didn't go to any of them.
Monday, May 21, 1984
I had invited Jean Michel as my date and I was next to him, so maybe they thought it was a girl's name. Richard Gere's Silvinha moved her seat to sit next to Jean Michel. And Jean Michel gave me all his meat for the dogs, and Silvinha did, too.
Tuesday, May 22, 1984
Jean Michel came down to the office early. He was reading his big review in the Voice. They called him the most promising artist on the scene. And at least they didn't mention me and say he shouldn't be hanging around with me the way the New York News thing did.
Thursday, May 24, 1984
Jean Michel came by and he was in a pretty good mood. We had Chinese take-out food. He was painting some big black screaming people. Worked till 7:00.
Monday, July 2, 1984
Jean Michel called at 8:00 in the morning and we philosophized. He got scared reading the Belushi book. I told him that if he wanted to become a legend, too, he should just keep going on like he was. But actually if he's even on the phone talking to me, he's okay. And the phone calls from pay phones are now .25 . I'm just not going to make calls anymore. All the pay phones uptown were converted already to .25; downtown there are still some .10 ones left.
Sunday, August 5, 1984
Jean Michel wanted to go to the Jermaine Jackson party at Limelight. So we went down there (cab $7). And it was one of those parties where the bouncers were all dumb Mafia-type guys who didn't know anybody. Jean Michel took us to the wrong section and they told us to beat it, and he said, "Now you see how it is to be black." And all the people who I don't know, Jean Michel's just sitting there and then he'll say, "Hi, man." He went to school with them or something. He told me he went to a school in Brooklyn, St. Ann's, that's sort of chic because you had to pay. And then he said that when his father lost money he had to be bussed to a public school that was a lot of Italians and the boys there used to beat him up and he didn't like it. But I guess the education was good, though, and that's why he's smart. Oh gee, that was Benjamin calling and he said that he and Paige were at the Limelight and they heard 1 was in the VIP room and they tried to get in but couldn't. And-this is funny he said that there were three Olympic guys there wearing their gold medals. So I guess those were the ones 1 thought were drag queens with jewelry! Gee.
So anyway. Jean Michel wanted me to see his paintings down on Great Jones Street, so we went there and it's a pigsty. His friend Shenge — this black guy — lives with him and he's supposed to be taking care of the place, but it's a sty. And the whole place just smells so much of pot. He gave me some paintings to work on. Left there (cab $8).
Monday, August 6, 1984
Jean Michel ordered a lot of champagne and he said he'd pay for it but I wouldn't let him (dinner was $550). It was underplayed, nobody said "Happy Birthday" and it went smoothly. Paige had a strapless pink dress on and she took her camera into the kitchen to do movies. Jean Michel dropped me off and it seemed like being with Jean Michel didn't bother Paige too much, she's more recovered from him. Then when he was dropping me off he said that he wanted to go fuck her. I told him that that would just start trouble again. I told him he should give her some artwork because she's the only girl who ever really helped him out, gave him his first uptown show and sold so many of his paintings. And she never would let him pay for her, she was being very independent, paying her own fare to Hawaii and things like that, and I don't know why he never liked that, somehow. And it was nice to see little Suzanne the makeup girl the night before at Limelight wanting not to get stuck with him — it was refreshing to see a girl trying to get away for a change.
Tuesday, August 7, 1984
I was meeting David Whitney and Philip Johnson for dinner at the Four Seasons. Invited Keith Harring and Juan and Jean Michel. Philip goes to bed at 9:00, so he wanted to have dinner at 6:30 but I made it 7:30. Keith wanted to go to Rounds, the gay place at 53rd and Second, and I didn't, so I said I'd never been there because I hadn't in five years, and so we walk in the door and the first thing the waiter says is (laughs), "Mr. Warhol! It's so nice to see you again!" Jean Michel wouldn't go to Rounds. He called this morning and told me that in the old days when he didn't have any money he would hustle and get $10 and he didn't want to remember that. So Jean Michel went downtown with Keith. I walked the Doc uptown and he kissed me on the cheek, which was so tender.
Monday, August 20, 1984
Jean Michel called at 7:30 A.M. from Spain but I was in the shower and I missed it. He was in Ibiza and now he's in Majorca, he's the new darling of the Bruno set. And I'm just expecting him one day to come in and say, "I hate all these paintings, rip them up," about the ones we've done together, or something. Oh and Keith told me that the name Jean Michel used to use, SAMO, stood for "Same Old Shit," and he said that Jean Michel was the biggest influence on the new artists.
Tuesday, September 11, 1984
So Jean Michel just called me and I haven't heard from him in two days. Now he's staying all the time at the Ritz Carlton instead of down on Great Jones, and his room is like $250 a night.
Saturday, September 15, 1984
Had dinner with Jean Michel who brought a woman who's doing a cover article on him for The New York Times Magazine. He's getting the cover! And he told her all this stuff about being a male prostitute before but she can't use it. I guess he told her because he wanted to be fascinating. The right woman can get anything out of him.
Sunday, September 16, 1984
Jean Michel called and he told me about the problems he's having with Shenge, who takes care of his place on Great Jones Street. Shenge has his own place downstairs but then he goes up and uses Jean Michel's bath and bed, and now after staying at the Ritz Carlton, Jean Michel is used to having his bed tucked in. He found Shenge on the streets, he wasn't living anywhere. He's like a Rastafarian. He's married, he has a wife and little boy in the Bronx, I think. Shenge's bed used to be right by the front door so it was like he was just yanked in off the street, it was so peculiar.
Monday, September 17, 1984
And Bruno had called earlier. These combined paintings of Jean Michel and me and Clemente that he said were "just a curiosity that nobody would want to buy" that he paid $20,000 for like fifteen pictures for, he's now selling for $40,000 or $60,000 apiece! Yes! And I have a funny feeling that he's actually giving Clemente more because I can't see him doing this for this little. And I should get more because I bring up the prices . . . oh but well, Jean Michel got me into painting differently, so that's a good thing.
Sunday, September 23, 1984
Tried Jean Michel because he'd wanted to go to the Pop Art show at the Whitney and then work together, but he wasn't around. Jon and I went there without him (tickets $5).
Saturday, September 29, 1984
Talked to Keith and Jean Michel. Wanted Jean Michel to come over and paint, but he was giving his mother a birthday party so I went to meet him and met his mother. She's a nice-looking lady, a little matronly, but she looked good. He sort of resents her, though — he said she's been in and out of mental hospitals and he felt neglected. But he doesn't have to be ashamed of her, she was really nice and everything. His father was a no-show. They're divorced and the father is living with another woman. He's an accountant. And Jean Michel still keeps a room for $250 a day at the Ritz Carlton. And that fifty-foot concrete table that he had Freddy the architect do up special for the Great Jones place, it filled the whole room and Jean Michel just broke it up into pieces.
Tuesday, October 2, 1984
Jean Michel came over to the office to paint but he fell asleep on the floor. He looked like a bum lying there. But I woke him up and he did two masterpieces that were great.
Wednesday, October 3, 1984
Jean Michel called three or four times, he'd been taking smack. Bruno came by and saw a painting that Jean Michel wasn't finished with yet, and he said, "I want it, I want it," and so he gave him money and took it, and I felt funny, because nobody's done that for me in so long. That's the way it used to be. Then cabbed to Mr. Chow's where Jean Michel was having a birthday party for this girl who'd talked him into having it for her. He had Diego Cortez and Clemente and people and when I got there he was asleep, snoring actually. We woke him up to pay the check, because I wasn't going to get this one.
Friday, October 5, 1984
Jean Michel came by. Worked all afternoon.
Sunday, October 7, 1984
It was a beautiful day. Talked to Jean Michel and he wanted to go to work, so we planned to meet at 860. I went to church and then there were no cabs, so I wound up walking halfway to the office (cab $3.75). I let Jean Michel in downstairs. He did a painting in the dark, which was great. This was the day of Susan Blond's wedding to Roger Erickson, and the thing was at the Cafe Luxembourg and I didn't want to take Jean Michel home with me to pick a painting up for a present, so we both made her a painting there. Jean Michel is so difficult, you never know what kind of mood he'll be in, what he'll be on. He gets really paranoid and says, "You're just using me, you're just using me," and then he'll get guilty for getting paranoid and he'll do everything so nice to try to make up for it. But then I can't decide what he has fun doing, either. Like when we got to Susan's he didn't like it, I don't know if it's because of the drugs or because he hates crowds or because he thinks it's boring. And I tell him that as he becomes more and more famous he'll have to do more and more of these things (cab $10).
Monday, October 8, 1984
Picked up Jean Michel and he has people ringing his bell every fifteen seconds, it reminded me of the old Factory. He says things like, "Listen man, why don't you call before you come over." A guy he'd given fun drawings to once when he was needing a place to stay sold them now for a fortune-$5,000 or something. So Jean Michel's finding out how you have to be a business, how it all stops being just fun, and then you wonder, What is art? Does it really come out of you or is it a product? It's complicated.
Monday, October 15, 1984
After work I went with Jean Michel to finally check out of his hotel room at the Ritz Carlton, but when we got there he decided it was too beautiful to leave.
Tuesday, October 16, 1984
Jean Michel, me, John Sex, and Fab Five Freddy cabbed uptown to the Lyceum and the Whoopi Goldberg show ($8). We were late and in the second row. Whoopi was great, for one and a half hours just a blank stage but she held your interest. She's really intelligent and everything. She does a thing where she asks for quarters from the audience, but then she didn't give them back. So when it was over and we went back to see her she said that she usually gives them back — I asked her — but that a guy had given her a dollar bill and that threw her off, and now she had about $4 and so she might just now give the money to a Catholic charity. She really liked Jean Michel and I invited her to dinner, but she said she had cramps or something.
Tuesday, October 30, 1984
Jean Michel was in bed with some new girl and didn't show up. Bruno arrived and surprised us. And his wife-Yoyo. And they looked at the big paintings that Jean Michel has been doing silkscreens on, and they had a sour look, they said it ruined his "intuitive primitivism." But he'd always Xeroxed before and nobody knew, it just looked like new drawings, and put on with that stuff. Worked till 7:30.
Wednesday, October 31, 1984
Bruno just called — at the Christie's auction Jean Michel's painting went for $20,000. I think he's going to be the Big Black Painter. It was one of his sort of big paintings. I think Jean Michel's early stuff is sort of better, because then he was just painting, and now he has to think about stuff to paint to sell. And how many screaming Negroes can you do? Well, I guess you can do them forever, but . . . And he bought a $700 mask for Halloween yesterday. Mexican. He just spends money. He did give up the room at the Ritz Carlton and he doesn't take limos now, so that's an improvement. But what he should do — and I've told him this — is keep his early paintings and store them so that he'll have them to sell later on. Because Bruno just buys up everything and then sells them off slowly. But Jean Michel really should be keeping them for a nest egg. The paintings that get good prices are Rauschenberg's early pieces and anything by Jasper and Cy Twombly. Wesselmann's sort of selling off . . . Rosenquist's prices are just medium, but I think he's the best, I really do.
Friday, November 2, 1984
Went to meet Alba Clemente, the beautiful wife of Francesco Clemente at their loft in the Tower Records building. She studied acting, she has a great laugh, and she's rich. They live in India six months a year. That's why his paintings look the way they do, I guess. Then we went to the Odeon (cab $10). It was fun, we chit-chatted about art. There were big silences, though. Jean Michel is so hard to talk to. His thing is he's in love with waitresses, so he gets quiet and watches them. Alba said that her girl who was minding the children had a crush on him (lunch $90). And then we went back to her place so that Jean Michel could meet the girl, Monica, but she'd taken the kids out. And then Jean Michel was getting inspired from seeing Clemente's work and wanted to go do some painting himself. So we went to the studio (cab $3.50) and worked two hours. Jean Michel was painting back in the images he'd painted out when he was on smack and he came up with some masterpieces. Then he called the girl, Monica, and invited her to dinner. She wanted to go to the Lone Star because her semi-boyfriend who's Schnabel's assistant was going to be there, but Jean Michel didn't want to go there because he was afraid if there was competition that he would lose the fuck.
Tuesday, November 6,1984
So we ordered lunch and that was expensive. Jean Michel ordered a '66 Chfteau Latour wine for $200 (lunch $500). Then we limoed to the Sequoia, the presidential yacht, and it was cold and miserable and getting dark. Same old people. Peter Max and his girlfriend, who's so beautiful, tall and Texan, and I don't know why she's with him. She was at the beginning and ending of Heaven's Gate. A top model, I forget her name. I talked to Chip Carter while I was there. Then we went back to the hotel and Jean Michel rolled a joint. Then we ordered dinner, which was disgusting (tip $5).
Wednesday, November 7, 1984 - Washington, D.C. - New York
I called Jean Michel's room and said we'd be leaving in one second. And I went into his room and photographed him getting out of bed with a hard-on. And then he began rolling a joint. Jean Michel ordered a whole meal but it never came. Cabbed to the airport ($20). Jean Michel and I went to the back of the plane and he was smoking joints, and I realized that he'd left his brand-new Comme des Garqons coat in the hotel room when he'd been rolling, and he called and I called but they'll never send it. He knows just what looks good on him. He's 6'-or 6'1" with his hair. He's really big. Went to Private Eyes (cab $7). Scott was at the door, so he let us right in.
Madonna was on the platform and since Jean Michel had once been involved with her, we started to go up, and the bouncer said, "Step aside for Mr. Warhol." and then tried to block Jean Michel and I said that it was okay, he was with me. And Madonna kissed Jean Michel on the mouth but she was with Jellybean, who said he'd heard his pictures in Interview made him look 6' tall so he was thrilled because he's 2'. And Jean Michel was moody because Madonna got so big and he'd lost her.
Thursday, November 8, 1984
Marina Schiano was there and Jean Michel asked me if she was a drag queen. And Annina Nosei was there. She had a gallery in Soho and Jean Michel used to do paintings in her basement. She would bring people down to look at him like an attraction and he would yell, "Get the fuck out of here!" He destroyed twenty paintings once, he ripped them off the walls. And after she reminded him of all these old days he felt funny being at this chic uptown place. He's not happier now that he's uptown because it's all before him now and he doesn't know what to do. I told him, "Look, those tantrums weren't real anyway." He's confused. Stayed till 11:30.
Monday, November 12, 1984
Cabbed to Mr. Chow's for Jean Michel's party ($7). And it was great. I feel like I wasted two years running around with Christopher and Peter, just kids who talk about the Baths and things, when here, now, I'm going around with Jean Michel and we're getting so much art work done, and then his party was Schnabel and Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch who directed Stranger Than Paradise and Clemente and John Waite who sang that great song, "Missing You." I mean, being with a creative crowd, you really notice the difference. It’s intriguing both ways, and I guess both ways are right, but… And Jean Michel became the hostess with the mostest last night. He said it cost him $12,000 — the Cristal was flowing.
Thursday, November 15, 1984
There were a lot of parties this night but Dustin Hoffman called and said he'd left tickets for Death of a Salesman so Benjamin and I got to the theater and met Jean Michel there at 7:58. At intermission the people behind us tapped Jean Michel and asked if I was really who I was.
Thursday, November 22, 1984
Thanksgiving. Went to see Boy George at the Garden with Jean Michel and Cornelia. I just couldn't like him because it reminded me of what Jackie Curtis could have been, but Jean Michel really liked him. Boy George is so fat. And then Jean Michel started remembering Halston's last Thanksgiving for turkey and wanted to get there, so we left (cab $6). The turkey was already put away and dessert was out. Bianca started punching Jean Michel and me really hard, I actually got a black and blue mark. She was screaming about how we had to contribute to the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Thursday, November 29, 1984
Jean Michel came in and painted right on top of the beautiful painting that Clemente did. There was lots of blank space on it that he could've painted on, he was just being mean. And he was in slow motion so I guess he was on heroin. He'd bend over to fix his shoelace and he'd be in that position for five minutes.
Monday, December 3, 1984
Jean Michel had a date with Paige last night and I think they made it again, which would be a mistake.
Sunday, December 16, 1984
And while this was going on, the phone rang and it was Jean Michel from Sweden and when he heard these other kids were at my house, he began to go crazy because he's never been there. But it's just that I don't like anything pre-planned. If he just dropped in or something it'd be okay.
Thursday, January 10, 1985
Benjamin dropped me at Jean Michel's and he has like twenty people working for him, getting big canvases ready. It's really neat and clean there now and it looks great. And he has a $5,000 TV set that's really big. Bruno wants me to go there for Jean Michel's opening. Someone was saying that when all these dealers heard there was a really talented black artist who would probably die off soon from drugs, that they hurried to buy his things and now I guess they're frustrated because he's staying alive. I think Jean Michel will be the most famous black artist after this New York Times thing comes out.
Saturday, January 12, 1985
Jean Michel called and said he was coming by to work and he did, and he brought his mother. Jean-Michel's mother is a sweet mother, she brought him a birthday present that said from Mami-M-A-M-I.
Wednesday, January 16, 1985
I talked to Jean Michel and invited him to the party that Fred was giving for Natasha Grenfell at Le Club. And he asked if he could bring — he said, "My girlfriend," and I was shocked. I said he'd never called anybody that before, and he said her body was so hot that he would come five times in a night. This is a black girl he met who works at Comme des Garcons.
Tuesday, January 22, 1985
Talked to Jean Michel and he was in a funny mood. He thinks his "girlfriend" doesn't love him and so he's taking heroin again. The black girl. Charlotte. I told him I would come and visit him. Cabbed to pick him up ($8). We went to Odeon and had two tables and there were twelve of us. Boy George had that boy Marilyn with him. Jean Michel was nodding out. There was a little kid with Keith who didn't say anything, and Keith didn't say much, and I didn't say anything, so Boy George had to do all the talking and he's really intelligent, really a smart kid, and he does talk a lot.
Wednesday, January 30, 1985
Jean Michel invited me to dinner with his father at Odeon (cab $6). And the father was this thin normal-looking man in a business suit, smart, and so you can see where Jean Michel gets his smartness. And now Jean Michel doesn't even like his girlfriend from Comme des Garcons, Charlotte, because she borrowed money from him. He likes to give people money but then he resents them for taking it. He'll say, "They're using me." It's a funny attitude. And in a moment of passion once he told her he loved her and she told him that she was a "free woman," so he tied her up and told her how dare she think that he meant it.
Saturday, March 9, 1985
Talked to Jean Michel and he said he was straight, but he sounded like he was on something. He was with Jennifer, Eric Goode from Area's sister, who's his new girlfriend. He's got three or four girls on the string now, but he's only still in love with Charlotte, from Comme des Garcons. And Jean Michel was complaining about the show that we're having with Bruno... oh, I don't know, I think that whole period is over, with him coming up to paint. He hasn't come that much to the new building, just a few times, and-well, he's feeling on top now that his show is running downtown, but I don't know if he's working.
Thursday, March 28, 1985
Jean Michel was really sweet and sent over a drawing for me. He's gone off to Hawaii.
Friday, May 3, 1985
Then, I’d promised Jean Michel this dinner at Le Cirque. So Benjamin dropped me and I glued and went over there. He’d invited Eric Goode and his girlfriend and Clemente and his wife Alba and then when he ordered the most expensive wine they said they were out of it, and then when he ordered the next most expensive, they were out of it, too. I don't think they wanted to give it to us, see, because it was a free dinner. Sirio's been telling me for years he wanted to give me one, so here it was. And they gave all these excuses and apologies, and then Jean Michel ordered the cheapest wine, and that they had. And it was actually good. And the next day when Paige and I went there with Interview, Sirio was still apologizing. But anyway, it cost me in tips ($200).
Wednesday, May 8, 1985
There was a big Area party. Jean Michel picked me up and we went down there. And my display window had my Invisible Sculpture in it and Jean Michel's stuff looked great.
Thursday, May 9, 1985
Went to Jean Michel's, picked him up (cab $6). And he's working again and his work is wonderful, it's so exciting, and I think he will last.
Sunday, May 12, 1985
Jean Michel called, he's working on his painting for the Palladium. But it's collapsible and he can take it away any time he wants.
Tuesday, May 14, 1985
And Jean Michel was in a dark mood. He'd bought Jennifer a dress to wear to the opening and then he didn't even bring her, he left her home. And I didn't lecture him about the heroin he takes because I didn't want to have a fight.
Wednesday, May 29, 1985
Then Jean Michel came over to paint and he was laughing and kidding around and Paige called up to me on the phone and screamed, "Get him out of here!" And I just didn't know what to say, she hung up before I could even think, and then she just left the office. She was calling Jean Michel a creep and everything.
Monday, June 10, 1985
And Jean Michel said he got a huge bill — like maybe I think $100,000 — from his dealer in L.A., Gagosian, for his stay there when he was living so high.
Friday, June 21, 1985
Called Jean Michel but he hasn't called me back, I guess he's slowly breaking away. He used to call me all the time from wherever he was.
Wednesday, July 10, 1985
Jean Michel came by and did a masterpiece upstairs. He wants to get work done before he goes away again. He had Jay filling in paintings, and I'm going to have Jay fill in, too. He tried to hire Jay away, but Jay didn't want to work for him.
Friday, September 6, 1985
Jean Michel came in and our show is on Saturday. But really, the shows that get noticed are in October and November, so it's still kind of early, but it'll be okay, just a little thing. And in his stupor Jean Michel knocked paint onto the Dolly Parton portrait and messed it up. And Sandy Gallin keeps calling, saying he wants it right away, and 1 wish they wouldn't rush me because I want to make it really good and it's not ready.
Friday, September 13, 1985
Jean Michel called and said he was invited to the MTV awards thing. Keith called, same thing. MTV must want artists to do their logos for them. And Keith was upset because his tickets were up on the mezzanine. Jean Michel arrived in a limo. He said he didn't want to go with Keith because Keith was too pushy. And it did get sick later on-Keith just wanted to be photographed so badly. And he wanted to go with me so he'd be sure to be photographed.
Saturday, September 14, 1985
Called Jean Michel and said I'd pick him up and did. Went over to the Tony Shafrazi Gallery (cab $5) and it was wall to wall. I was wearing the Stefano jacket with Jean Michel's picture painted on the back, but I've decided I can't wear odd things, 1 look like a weirdo. I'm going to stay in basic black.
Thursday, September 19, 1985
When we were at the Odeon I asked for the paper, and there in Friday’s Times I saw a big headline: "Basquiat and Warhol in Pas de Deux.” And I just read one line — that Jean Michel was my "mascot." Oh God.
Friday, September 20, 1985
I had my opening at Leo Castelli's to go to, of the Reigning Queens portfolio that I just hate George Mulder for showing here in America. They were supposed to be only for Europe — nobody here cares about royalty and it'll just be another bad review. And I told Jean Michel not to come to this. I asked him if he was mad at me for that review where he got called my mascot, and he said no.
Sunday, November 24, 1985
Jean Michel hasn't called me in a month. so I guess it's really over. He went to Hawaii and Japan, but now he's just in L.A. so you'd think he'd call. But maybe he's getting tight, maybe he's not throwing money around the way he used to. I heard he locked the door to his bedroom when he left so Shenge can't get in, and he didn't leave him any money, either. Can you imagine being married to Jean Michel? You'd be on pins and needles your whole life.
Sunday, December 8, 1985
Went to church. Paige called and she's thinking of going to a place uptown to get treatment for being a chocolate addict, some treatment they give heroin addicts. And she said she finally is completely over Jean Michel. It happened to her at the Comme des Garcons fashion show. She said he looked like a fool out there on the runway modeling the clothes and that's when she finally was over him.
Monday, December 9, 1985
Jean Michel called me early in the morning to tell me about the fight with Philip Niarchos he had at Schnabel's on Friday night. I guess he still remembers some funny comment Philip made once about how now they're "letting n------ into St. Moritz."
Thursday, December 19, 1985
Tina Chow called and said there was a dinner for Jean Michel at 9:00, just really small. Jean Michel had his mother and her friend there. I brought him a present, one of my own hairpieces. He was shocked. One of my old ones. Framed. I put '"83" on it but I don't know when it was from. It's one of my Paul Bochicchio wigs. It was a "Paul Original."
Sunday, December 22, 1985
Then went over to Jean Michel's birthday lunch at Mortimer's that Marsha May from Texas was giving. And finally I gave Jean Michel a gift he really loved-the rhythm and blues six-album set, that Atlantic just put out. And Ahmet Ertegun wrote some of the songs, those were his big years. Jean Michel was reading the liner notes all through lunch. And then afterwards Jean Michel wanted to go to Bloomingdale's, it was 4:30. So we went over there. He wanted to get a $3,000 gift certificate for his mother and when he took out his gold Amex card one guy asked to see ID but the other guy nudged him and said, "It's okay."
Wednesday, January 8, 1985
Called Jean Michel in L.A. and he said no stars had been at his opening, and he said Jon Gould had been there but he wouldn't talk about him to me for some reason.
Monday, January 20, 1986
Jean Michel woke me up at 6:00 this morning and I went back to sleep and now my tongue can hardly move. He's got problems because he's trying to get Shenge out of the house, he says he's been supporting him for three years, but the main reason is that (laughs) Shenge is now painting like he is. They're copies of his paintings. Jennifer's away. And oh, Jean Michel must be so hard to live with. I told him I'd had dinner with Kenny and the Chows and he wanted to know why I didn't invite him and I said that I'd called him three days ago and he didn't call back.
Tuesday, February 25, 1986
Jean Michel called and said he found a dead person in his backyard yesterday. He called the police and they were in the backyard all day, and by 6:00 they still hadn't taken the body away. He was from the flophouse next door. And Jean Michel sent the cat that didn't catch rats down to Atlanta, he sent it on a plane for $100 down to some gallery there. The poor cat probably never got taken care of — I mean, can you imagine being a cat in the hands of Jean Michel?
Monday, March 24, 1986
Went home after dinner with Jean Michel and caught the Academy Awards. Saw Geraldine Page saying she deserved it.
Sunday, April 6, 1986
Jean Michel was picking me up to go see Miles Davis at the Beacon and it was rainy and cold, and I curled up and watched W for a while, and ate some garlic and then he called and said to meet him over there (cab $4). His cab arrived after mine and he had Glenn O'Brien with him and some other people. He and Glenn are friends again. B.B. King played first and he's just great. And then Miles Davis came out, blond, in gold lame, and he plays really terrific music. High heels. Then we went to Odeon for dinner.
Monday, August 18, 1986
The day started with Jean Michel calling from Josie's, she's the South African Calvin Klein model.
He's not in a gallery now. He left Mary Boone and they're both glad. He wants to be with Leo, but I don't think Leo's taking anyone on. Jean Michel would just like to have one show there, though, even though he knows Leo won't sell anything.
Thursday, November 27, 1986
And then Jean Michel called and he’s furious at Paige because he finally found out about his father playing the cannibal in Paige’s pictorial spread for Tama’s book, A Cannibal in Manhattan, he’d just seen the item on Page Six about it. He said, “What is she trying to do? Is she after my father?” And he said his father’s writing a book, and he said (laughs), “He’s not even a drug addict — how can he write a book? About what?” That’s the first time I ever heard Jean Michel say something funny. I wonder if that’s his sense of humor. And he didn’t go to Germany for his big show.
Damian Weber is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in Buffalo. He last wrote in these pages about Ted Berrigan. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here. You can listen to his album here. You can purchase his book a dictionary in the subjective here.