Lars Nittve was born in Stockholm in 1953. After studies at the Stockholm School of Economics and a M.A. at Stockholm University and Post Graduate Studies at New York University. He served as lecturer in art history at the University of Stockholm during the period 1978-85. During the same period he held a post as Senior Art Critic at the daily Svenska Dagbladet, Stockholm, and contributed regularly to Artforum magazine, New York.
In 1986 Nittve was appointed Chief curator at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, where he curated a large number of high profile exhibitions – both monographic and thematic, among them Walter De Maria, Kandinsky in Sweden, Hilma af Klint and the seminal Implosion – a Postmodern Perspective. 1990-95 he served as founding Director of Rooseum – Center for Contemporary Art - in Malmö, Sweden, where he organized the whole exhibition programme, including surveys of Susan Rothenberg, Allan McCollum, Sherrie Levine and Andreas Gursky. In July 1995, Nittve became Director of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek, Denmark, where he also curated the groundbreaking exhibition Sunshine & Noir – Art in L.A. 1960-1997and the first one-person exhibition of Cai Guo Qiang outside Asia. In the spring of 1998, he was named the first Director of Tate Modern, London, which opened in May 2000 to great acclaim.
On November 1, 2001, he took up his post as Director of Moderna Museet in Stockholm where he also, in 2004 co-curated the thematic exhibition Fashination about the dialogue between art and fashion in the last ten years. Later exhibitions include Time and Place: Los Angeles 1957-1968 (2008); Antony McCall (2009) and most recently Ed Ruscha: Fifty Years of Painting (2010) .
Noteworthy during his time at the Moderna Museet has been his successful campaign for strengthening the collection – including The Second Museum of Our Wishes, which focuses on bringing more works by women artists into the collection. The creation of the innovative Renzo Piano designed Pontus Hultén Study Gallery (opened in May 2008), The American Friends of the Moderna Museet Inc. and the Moderna Museet Malmö , opened in 2009, can also be mentioned.
Lars Nittve has served on the jury of numerous international prizes and been on the board of large number of international art organizations. He is the author of several books on art, as well as articles in journals and catalogues in Sweden and abroad. In 2009 he was awarded a Ph.D. H.C by Umea University, Sweden, where he also since 2010 is Professor in Art History. He is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Art and was in 2010 awarded H.M. The King’s Medal in gold, 12th size in the Order of the Serafim’s ribbon.
In the end of 2010 Lars Nittve left his post as Director of the Moderna Museet after having served the maximum length of nine years anyone is permitted to hold the post. Since January 2011 he is the Executive Director of M+, the future innovative museum of visual culture in the West Kowloon District in Hong Kong, scheduled to open in 2017.