Vanity Fair gives the Acquavella show of Basquiat drawings collected by Lenore and Herbert Schorr who used to drive into Manhattan and chauffer Jean-Michel around town on errands because he couldn’t get a cab to pick him up:
Their love affair with the artist started in 1981, after he had decided to reject his famous (among graffiti writers) tag as Samo© (which stood for “same old shit”) and become Jean-Michel Basquiat, an artist in the so-called legit art world. Thanks to a dynamic group of shows put on by various collectives, word got out about his prodigious gifts, and the first bite from a gallery came from Annina Nosei, a dealer with sharp antennae for talent. She offered him an exchange: he could use the basement of her ground-floor gallery as a studio, and she would sell the work. (Looking back, the zoo-like aspects of the deal are even more blatant. What about “a room of his own,” with some light?)
One day the Schorrs showed up. Nosei schlepped some Basquiat canvases up from the basement. The couple was curious but not convinced. Nosei said she wanted them to see one other work that she’d been saving for herself. Code for: Here comes the sales pitch, the Schorrs recall, laughing. But the painting, Poison Oasis, 1981, won them over, and so did the hauntingly beautiful young man who suddenly appeared. He remained in their lives until heroin stopped his heart, in 1988.