by Craig Stephens
Painter Richard Kessler’s March 14 show “This Is Not A Urinal,” at the District Gallery, crosschecks both a key influence, Marcel Duchamp, and the familiar reaction to people urinating in public amongst LA’s downtown detritus.
Duchamp’s widely renowned 1917 work was in fact an inverted urinal, titled “Fountain.” The porcelain urinal, signed “R.Mutt” was submitted for the exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in 1917, though ultimately rejected’
Having himself endured both rejection and acceptance as a painter and scriptwriter in LA for some thirty plus years, Richard Kessler offers some valuable insights into the industrial wasteland that is downtown LA.
“In run down urban areas, people are always urinating in public, “ Kessler offers. “In addition to the obvious Duchamp reference, there’s also the play on the catchphrase spoken to those who urinate in public, something synonymous with downtown living.”
Kessler adds, “I’m influenced by everything and everyone from Marcel Duchamp to Jasper Johns,” reveals LA painter Richard Kessler. Modern art is so fraudulent, it’s just the same thing over and over, people are becoming multi-millionaires for second rate work. I’m having a bit of a joke with this show, though I do think its good.”
Recounting visions of Marcel Duchamp, Robert Rauschenberg and Willem De Cooning, Kessler, has been a significant member of the Arts District creative community for more than thirty years. The work dissects the and sensuous, decaying urban landscapes that are oddly recognizable.