Victor Henry

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You Call That Art?

Albert Acton III, Sunday hobbyist painter, adores the art of disputation.  Art groupies surround him, lean forward listening to his every word as he critiques an unknown artist at a Soho opening in Lower Manhattan.  Albert is the author of HOW TO PAINT BY THE NUMBERS, a national best seller, and master of ceremonies of a highly successful talking heads art show on commercial television called CHEESE AND CRUST.  To those in his coterie, he says, Anybody can do that stuff.  Standing nearby and overhearing the celebrity hobbyist, the artist asks him to return tomorrow afternoon, whispering to him that great fleas have lesser fleas and there's another painting that hasn't arrived yet to complete his one man show.  The next day they stand in front of a canvas entitled YOU CALL THAT ART?  The hobbyist at first feeling tricked now feels bewildered.  Two figures peer back at him.  Have their positions actually changed?  Are the protagonists in the painting looking at the viewers?  Could it be possible the viewer is now being judged?  The thought suddenly mortifies the Sunday hobbyist.  For a moment he feels faint, feels he's incapable of distinguishing between reality and distorted reality.  To hide his own embarrassment he asks the artist to explain his painting.  Art is not made to be understood, the artist says. Art is like the night.  Why do we love the night without trying to understand it?  All at once the dabbling dilettante burns to be in his studio, to paint like Dali on drugs, to make the logical connection which satisfies the mind, to discover the secrets of the masters.


Victor Henry's work has appeared in various small press magazines, anthologies, and Ezines.  He holds two earned master's degrees, enjoys working as a reference librarian, is a Vietnam veteran, and a member of Veterans for Peace.