Constantin Brancusi, Endless Column, 1937, Târgu Jiu, Romania. Photo: The Spectator

Recent links of note:

“The Last Battle for Democracy in Venezuela”
David Luhnow and José de Córdoba, The Wall Street Journal

Recent news out of Venezuela has been ominous, suggesting the possibility of an armed civil conflict between the government of President Nicolás Maduro (successor to Hugo Chávez) and an opposition party. In March, Venezuela’s Maduro-loyalist Supreme Court stripped the country’s opposition-controlled National Assembly of its powers, eliminating the one check to Maduro’s autocratic power. Though the Court soon backtracked after massive public outrage, more recently Maduro has called for what looks like a heavily-rigged election to replace the National Assembly with an entirely new (and loyalist) legislative body. On the heels of a Tuesday afternoon helicopter attack on the Venezuelan Supreme Court building, David Luhnow and José de Córdoba write a concise summary of the constitutional crisis, and how corruption and dictatorial governance have brought devastation to not only the country’s population, but also its civic and cultural institutions.

Opposites meet in the land of Scrugletopia
Robert O’Brien, Standpoint

In a meeting of minds that gave philosophy enthusiasts cause to rejoice, Terry Eagleton (Marxist literary critic) and Roger Scruton (traditionalist philosopher) sat down in 2012 to discuss aesthetics, economic theory, and more for the debating forum Intelligence Squared. In a recent article for Standpoint magazine, Robert O’Brien playfully dubs the discussion “Scrugletopia,” gives an overview of each thinker’s body of work, and teases out how the two rivals’ competing worldviews alternately clash and concur. Both the original debate and O’Brien’s write-up are delightful examples of intelligent and deeply considered thinking, certainly worth a look.

The most celebrated work of modernism that almost nobody has seen
Martin Gayford, The Spectator

In a recent article in The Spectator, Martin Gayfordoffers a pleasant vignette into his experience visiting an out-of-the-way modern masterpiece. As the title suggests, Constantin Brancusi’s Endless Column (1937) is greatly celebrated as one of the great modernist outdoor sculptures, but rarely experienced in person—seeing the piece “in the flesh” requires an arduous pilgrimage to Târgu Jiu, Romania. The journey, of course, is well worth the effort. Gayford attempts to describe in words what photography apparently fails to capture—that is, the magical transformation of material (a feature of most great works of art) that Brancusi has achieved in his attempt to convey the limitlessness of time through bronze and steel. 

From our pages:

“Crushed by life in Paris and London”
Paul du Quenoy

On Wozzeck in Paris and Don Carlo in London.