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Manuel Borja-Villel, Director

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Responsibilities

Programming, directing and coordinating, within the framework of the general action plans of the museum, and the budgets and guidelines from the Royal Board of Trustees, exhibitions and activities held in the Museo Reina Sofía, as well as the different associations, units and museum staff, under the terms set by the Statute of the Organisation (approved by the Royal Decree 188/2013, of 15 March).

Other roles

As Director of the Museo he is a full member of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Royal Board of Trustees and the Board of the Museo Reina Sofía Foundation.

Academic background

He received B.A. in the History of Art from the Faculty of Geography and History at the University of Valencia in 1980. In 1981­–1982 he was named Special Student at Yale University and between 1981 and 1983 he was awarded a Fulbright grant. In 1987 he obtained a Master of Philosophy from the Department of Art History at the City University of New York. In 1988–­1989 he was also awarded a grant from the Kress Foundation Fellowship for Art History and, in 1989, he received a PhD in the Department of Art History from the Graduate School at the City University of New York. He has also written about modern and contemporary art.

Professional experience

He was director of the Antoni Tàpies Foundation, in Barcelona, from its opening, in June 1990, to July 1998, where he organised exhibitions such as Els límits del museu (The Limits of the Museum) and La ciutat de la gen (The City of the People), as well as shows featuring the work of artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Brassaï, Marcel Broodthaers, Lygia Clark, Hans Haacke and Krzysztof Wodiczko, among others.

From July 1988 to January 2008, he was director of the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), presenting noteworthy exhibitions, including those devoted to Vito Acconci, El Lissitzky, Öyvind Fahlström, Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Robert Frank, David Goldblatt, Luís Gordillo, Raymond Hains, Richard Hamilton, William Kentridge, Perejaume, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Gerhard Richter, Martha Rosler and Antoni Tàpies, among others. Some thesis exhibitions organised in the aforementioned exhibition included: Antagonismos. Casos de studio (Antagonisms. Case Studies); Campos de fuerzas (Force Fields); Arte y Utopía. La acción restringida (Art and Utopia. Restricted Action); Un teatro sin teatro (A Theatre without Theatre) and Bajo la bomba. El jazz de la guerra de imágenes transatlántica (Be-Bomb. The Transatlantic War of Images and All that Jazz) 1946-1956. Under his supervision the museum’s collection was also expanded and consolidated and the MACBA Library and Research Centre, in the Convent dels Àngels building, increased in size.

Since January 2008 he has been director of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS), where, to date, he has programmed exhibitions such as Nancy Spero. Dissidances; Deimantas Narkevičius. The Unanimous Life; Mixed Use, Manhattan; Georges Vantongerloo. A Longing for the Infinity; Drifts and Derivations; Paul Thek; New Realisms: 1957-1962; Miralda. De gustibus non disputandum; Martín Ramírez. Reframing Confinement; León Ferrari and Mira Schendel: The Frenzied Alphabet; ATLAS. How to carry the world on one’s back?; Juan Muñoz. Retrospective; Thomas Schütte. Hindsight; :VAL DEL OMAR overflow; alighiero boetti. game plan; Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos; Elena Asins. Fragments of Memory; Specters of Artaud; Nacho Criado. Collaborating Agents; Encounters with the 1930s; Concrete Invention. Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection; Cristina Iglesias: Metonymy; Cildo Meireles; Richard Hamilton; Dalí. All of the poetic suggestions and all of the plastic possibilities, and numerous others. The core of his programme in the Museo is also represented in the development and reorganisation of the Collection – the systematic approach to a series of thesis exhibitions and the creation of a Public Activities area as well as, in general, the start-up of an international museum network. Moreover, under his supervision a Law for the Museo has been approved.