PRINT September 1998

International News

Lars Nittve

Though the Tate Gallery of Modern Art in London won’t open its doors to the public for another two years, museum officials will have to find some office space for its newly named director this month. That’s when Swedish-born LARS NITTVE, director of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen since 1995, takes the helm at the new space in the former power plant across the Thames from St. Paul’s Cathedral and next door to the newly reconstructed Globe Theater. Nittve, who was also founding director of Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art in Malmö, Sweden, will report to Nicholas Serota, director of all Tate Gallery operations in London and Liverpool.

“We were looking for someone who had a reputation for making exhibitions,” says Serota, “of being engaged in contemporary art, but also someone with a historical perspective. Lars is clearly admired by artists, and an institution of this kind has to be respected by artists. Better yet, this is the first time that a major institution in the UK is being directed by someone who didn’t grow up in the culture. That will help to give us a perspective.”

When asked if he’s proud of the project’s development—the new museum will double the Tate’s exhibition space—Serota is characteristically understated. “I will only be proud when we have a building that clearly functions and a program that is stimulating to professionals and attracts a wide public,” he says cautiously, but then adds, “It will finally make London a place to visit if you are interested in contemporary art.”

William Harris