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Salvador Dalí

News from New York: An evening with the British film-maker who gave as good as he got, and dinner with Prince Philip and his famous faux pas

Meanwhile, the Hamptons hot up

The name’s Bond. No, not that one…

MoMA’s Dalí blockbuster (until 15 September) grants a rare chance to see Jack Bond’s astonishing 1965 film of the maestro at his maddest in Manhattan performing every sort of antic. For Dalí had met his match in “Mad Jack”, a tyro of the British movie industry who was also a Hong Kong schoolmaster at 19, long-distance HGV trucker, fabled King’s Road dandy and occasional model. Meeting with Dalí, Bond gave his best pitch: “I told him that I would go to any lengths to metaphorically film his mind in mid-explosion, a cascading, slow motion, black and white, molecular exposition of his accumulated memories.” Dalí loved this “outrage” and filming went smoothly at the St. Regis, even when Bond (right) was obliged to fly 1,000 ants and swans’ eggs from a research laboratory in Maine and procure a quarter of $1m in cash, along with two security guards, from Bank of America. Luckily in the end he did not have to provide 2,000 priests on bicycles. Bond also got to attend the opening of Magritte’s retrospective, in a taxi with Dalí, Larry Rivers and Warhol. “On the way Dalí told me he had telephoned Magritte that afternoon to ask if we could arrive with pineapples on our heads. Magritte’s response was negative:

‘If you arrive looking utterly ridiculous then you will not be allowed in.’” Bond will be discussing this film and his career with Jonas Mekas at MoMA on 10 September.

It’s only over if you weren’t invited

Everyone loves to claim the Hamptons “so over” but for contemporary art they seem to be the hot epicentre of the high summer especially compared to sweltering city streets. For Robert Wilson (pictured, right, with Rufus Wainwright and Kim Cattrall) may have lost his fabled Tribeca loft (kicked out paradoxically by art collector and developer Aby Rosen) but his Watermill Center blossoms in Southampton, their annual benefit and concert being the East Coast equivalent of the Serpentine Summer Party. And this year’s line up was as juicy as ever, including the adorable Wainwright (who dates the head-honcho of Wilson’s organisation) and his special guest Jessye Norman, not to mention celebrities like George Michael and Roger Waters or those achingly well-connected “co-chairs” Amanda Hearst, Tobias Meyer and Viktor & Rolf.

Prince Phil’s faux pas—the early years

Robert Indiana (right), whose 80th birthday on 13 September is marked by a triumphant show of his “Hard Edge” sculptures at Paul Kasmin Gallery (until 1 November), is the most consciously American, indeed proudly Midwestern, of all artists. But the Pop guru is also a closet Anglophile, friend and admirer of such very-English artists as John Bratby and Keith Vaughan. For one of his defining memories is the time he spent as a student at Edinburgh University, where he became friendly not only with aristocratic local lairds the Balfour family but even the Duke of Edinburgh himself. “He came to a fancy reception and there were three of us students, a Frenchman, an Ivory Coast intellectual and myself, the American. He said to the French man, ‘Thank you for your Francs,’ told me, ‘Thank you for your dollars,’ and then turned to the African academic, paused and said, ‘And thank you...for your cocoa!’ ”

It’s not what you know…

Whenever Valentino pops into town it is always a treat, with even mere Flotsam getting the chance to accost him chez Christie’s (pictured), but it was especially so for top art-restorer Lisa Rosen when she spotted him in Chelsea. For in her previous career as a model, Rosen had strode the catwalk for the maestro and was happy to tell him that her boyfriend Walter Robinson had a show of his paintings just up the road. Amazingly enough Valentino and full entourage not only actually went to see the show at Metro Pictures but swiftly snapped up a selection. Indeed Robinson, now known as editor of Artnet magazine, can’t put the brakes on the revival of his painting career. At Basel his works were seized by the Portuguese Ellipse Foundation and BBC money pundit Alvin Hall whilst the very first purchase went to Joe La Placa, until recently Robinson’s eager employee as London representative of Artnet.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'When Dalí met his match'