Mr Lars Nittve, a renowned museum director and curator with years of experience heading world-class facilities such as London’s Tate Gallery of Modern Art and Stockholm’s Moderna Museet, has been appointed Executive Director, M+ of the WCKDA. In his new capacity, Mr Nittve will be responsible for all content and exhibitions of Museum Plus (M+), a groundbreaking new museum concept planned at the future West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD), and the Exhibition Centre with focus on arts, culture and the creative industry.
The appointment is effective January 2011. Mr Nittve will report directly to the CEO of the WKCDA, Mr Graham Sheffield.
Mr Henry Tang, Chairman of the Board of the WKCDA, said, “Bringing in a professional of Mr Nittve’s calibre demonstrates that the Authority is absolutely committed to ensuring the best possible content for M+ and the Exhibition Centre. This is without doubt a major step forward in the development of the WKCD as an Asian and international centre for the arts, and I have no doubt that Mr Nittve will play a key role in the establishment of M+ as a unique, interactive arts facility like no other”.
Mr Sheffield said, “I am delighted to complete the executive artistic team of WKCDA with the appointment of Lars Nittve as the Executive Director, M+. Lars will bring a wealth of international experience and proven success at the top level to this critical role, and he will be involved from the outset in the planning, design and curatorial development of M+, as well as its future collection. In the months to come he will be working with me and Louis Yu (Performing Arts Policy and Management Services Executive Director) to liaise with local and international stakeholders and refine the vision, mission and artistic direction of the arts and cultural facilities of WKCD. We will also work on further senior recruitment, which will ensure that we have a balanced team across the spectrum of the arts as we move forward”.
Mr Nittve has over 30 years of experience as a director, curator and educator of the arts. From 1978-1985 he lectured on art history at the University of Stockholm while concurrently writing as senior art critic for Stockholm’s Svenska Dagbladet newspaper and as contributor to New York’s Artforum magazine.
Beginning in 1986 he embarked upon a career in museum curating and directing that saw him successfully hold posts at the Moderna Museet, the Rooseum in Malmo, Sweden, and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek, Denmark. In 1998 he was named the first Director of Tate Modern, which opened in May 2000 to great acclaim. During his time there, he led Tate Modern from its initial development into one of the leading modern art museums in the world, establishing its reputation as a must-see attraction in London. In its first year, Tate Modern drew over 5 million visitors.
From 2001-2010, while serving as Director of the Moderna Museet, Mr Nittve helped double the museum’s attendance, triple its donor members, raise approximately US$62 million in donations, and host a number of critically acclaimed exhibitions featuring artists such as Max Ernst and Andy Warhol. In 2003, Moderna Museet was named Museum of the Year by the Association of Swedish Museums. During his time there, Mr Nittve also developed a training programme with the goal of deepening appreciation and understanding of visual arts among teachers and promoting it as an educational tool in school activities.
In conjunction with the Performing Arts Policy and Management Services Department, Mr Nittve’s Museum Policy and Management Services Department is tasked with refining the vision, mission and artistic direction of the arts and cultural facilities of the WKCD. Mr Nittve will also be responsible for overseeing the management and operations of M+ and the Exhibition Centre, exploring acquisition targets for the museum’s collection, curating and developing exhibitions, and spearheading efforts to enhance public awareness and education about visual arts.
M+ will be a new and forward-looking cultural institution focusing on 20th to 21st-century visual culture, with four initial broad groupings including design, popular culture, moving image and visual art (including ink art). Interim activities for M+ will be planned prior to its construction, including community outreach via activities held throughout Hong Kong promoting the concept of M+ and visual arts.