Manuel Borja-Villel is Director of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS) in Madrid and is one of the institutional agents of Spanish culture. He studied History of Art at the Universitat de València (1980) and Yale University (1981–1982) and received a PhD in the Department of Art History of the Graduate School at The City University of New York in 1989. During his studies in the United States, Borja-Villel was awarded a Fulbright fellowship.
Borja-Villel has directed three of the major art institutions in Spain: Fundació Antoni Tàpies in Barcelona (1990–1998); Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA, 1998–2008); and Museo Reina Sofía (2008–present). He has curated solo exhibitions of some of the most important artists of the last century: Marcel Broodthaers, Lygia Clark, James Coleman, Óyvind Fahlström, Luis Gordillo, Hans Haacke, Lygia Pape, Antoni Muntadas, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Nancy Spero, Antoni Tàpies, Krzysztof Wodiczko, amongst others.
Borja-Villel is also recognised for the thesis exhibitions he has curated in collaboration with specialists like Bernard Blistène, Jean-François Chevrier, Serge Guilbaut or Georges Didi-Huberman, such as: Los Límites del museo, 1995; La ciudad de la gente, 1996; Antagonismos. Casos de estudio, 2001; Arte y utopía: la acción restringida, 2004; Bajo la bomba. El jazz de la guerra de imágenes transatlántica, 1946–1956, 2007; La invención concreta, 2013; Really Useful Knowledge, 2014; and Not Yet, On the Reinvention of Documentary and the Critique of Modernism, 2015, among others.