Downtown Photoroom is pleased to present Photo by Fredrik Nilsen an exhibition of new works by Fredrik Nilsen curated by Kathryn Andrews.
Since the early 1970s, Fredrik Nilsen has been unquestionably influential in the Los Angeles art scene. In 1975, he co-founded the Los Angeles Free Music Society (LAFMS) an experimental music/art collective which helped spur the DIY self-production activity in art and music that occurred in the late 70s and early 80s in LA and elsewhere. LAFMS subsequently performed and exhibited widely in the next few decades, including an appearance at Performa 2009 and at the Beaconsfield Contemporary Art Center, London in 2010 and The Box, Los Angeles in 2012 where major exhibitions chronicling its history were also on view.
In the 70s Nilsen also began a formal education in photography. In 1984 he moved to Norway to work commercially as a color printer and photographer, shooting bands there as well as in Berlin and Paris. In the late 80s he returned to Southern California and began photographing artworks for friends who had recently graduated from art schools and were mounting their first exhibitions in the burgeoning art center.
In the last two decades, Nilsen has developed an exceptional reputation as a specialist in the photography of artworks, exhibitions, and in the production of photographic works of art for other artists. And while his expertise has greatly shaped what has come to be known as Los Angeles art, both through his vision of its seminal artworks and through his hand as an occasional sub-contractor in their production, his photographs have inconspicuously borne the caption in fine print Photo by Fredrik Nilsen.
This exhibition seeks to reconsider Nilsen’s imagery in and of itself as an artistic gesture, and as an important one, both for its historic significance and for its remarkable aesthetic qualities. Consisting of two parts—a selection of recent imagery from Nilsen’s large oeuvre of documentation of artists’ works, and a series of portraits from 1999 depicting artists and gallerists from Los Angeles recontextualized into a sculptural format—the exhibition aims to enlarge Nilsen’s byline, revealing his long-time presence at the center of Los Angeles cultural production and his unique and masterful vision, one that has profoundly shaped how Los Angeles art is known here and internationally.