Ian Schrager once gave away a Basquiat

Ian Schrager

As the co-founder of Studio 54, Ian Schrager came into contact with a good deal of famous and successful people. One of those people, it seems, was the artist Jean Michel Basquiat, whose painting just sold at auction for $110 million to a Japanese billionaire.

That painting, however, was not owned by Schrager, who tells the New York Times in a new interview that Basquiat once gave him a study of a painting he was working on, and that Schrager in turn “gave it to a girl.” Whoops.

The hotelier, whose new Public hotel is opening soon on the Lower East Side, also said he thinks the “hotel industry is in denial about Airbnb” and that he’s working against that by offering his hotel patrons a strong “social community space” since Airbnb can’t do that.

Other little factoids in the piece include Schrager’s insecurity about his popularity. “I still think I’m going to throw a party and nobody’s coming.”

And the revelation that he’s still shaken up about his conviction for tax evasion (he was fully pardoned by President Obama earlier this year). “People say, “Why did you get the pardon?” I was embarrassed for my kids. Doing a big financing now, you have to write that thing whether you’ve been convicted of a crime. It’s still an embarrassing thing for me.” [NYT]