Wass Stevens is an actor who has appeared on House of Cards and in the movie The Wrestler. In a past life, he worked the door at clubs like Marquee and Avenue. According to Page Six, who talked with him at the premiere of a movie called Club Life, Jean-Michel Basquiat would draw little pictures on napkins for him, but he doesn’t have them anymore because he threw them away.
“‘The night I met Basquiat at Palladium and I didn’t know who he was,’ Stevens said at the Union Square screening, ‘I told him he was a crackhead and to get the hell away from me. I didn’t let him into the [VIP room] . . . Then Andy Warhol came out and said, ‘No, this is my friend, Wass, can you please?’ So I said, ‘Go ahead,’ and subsequently every time I would see him, he would draw me a little picture on a napkin or a VIP ticket, which I, of course, threw away, thinking it wouldn’t be of any worth. I could be living [on] those little drawings,’ he lamented.”
According to IMDb, Wass Stevens was born in 1970. Andy Warhol died in February 1987. If that birthdate and this story are true, Wass Stevens was probably working as a doorman when he was 16. Do you think Wass Stevens is exaggerating? New York in the ’80s was a wilder time, sure, so maybe it’s true. But I’m taking this story with a grain of salt. Probably a lot of people have similar claims. Everyone who met Basquiat can probably tell you a story about a little drawing he gave them. It’s an art-world version of the Mickey Mantle rookie card Mom threw away. Phillip Seymour Hoffman once told me to fuck off. Or did he?
It’s also possible that Wass Stevens’ IMDb page is lying about his age. It’s also possible that Wass Stevens made a mistake by not holding on to those doodles all those years ago.