Henry James ardently to the friend (lover?) Hendrik Christian Andersen, coaxing his companion toward specific lived experiences and places, expressing doubt regarding “any use on all the made earth … for a ready-made city, made-while-one-waits, as they say, & which is the more preposterous & the more delirious, the more elaborate & the more ‘complete’ & the more magnificent you have made it. Cities are living organisms, that grow from within & by experience & piece by piece; they are not bought all hanging together, in any inspired studio.”

The colossi punctuating a tender megalomaniac’s dream expectant with grimace-glories in gesso behind the pink facade of the Villa Helene, magnificently, muscularly forlorn.

Yinka Shonibare’s double headless portrait in batik of James & Andersen the only conscious joke, their pointing index fingers a wouldabeen God plus Adam too remote from one another to make the magic happen.

image courtesy of Museo H.C. Andersen

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