Professor Juan Cruz


  • Juan Cruz is the Dean of the School of Fine Art at the Royal College of Art. He is an artist whose work employs a broad range of approaches to exhibition-making, including video, performance, text and site-specificity. 

    Prior to joining the College, Juan was Director of Liverpool School of Art and Design at Liverpool John Moores University, where he introduced an innovative model of research and knowledge transfer with leading arts organisations, including Tate Liverpool, Liverpool Biennial and FACT.

    Also in Liverpool, Juan facilitated the foundation of the Exhibition Research Centre, which saw the school research and develop a series of leading exhibitions and keynote lectures around the theme of exhibition studies, attracting international audiences, funding and media.

  • Biography

  • Juan Cruz (b. 1970, Palencia, Spain) first studied art at Atlantic College in South Wales, before going on to Chelsea College of Art, where he graduated with a BA (hons) in Fine Art (Painting) in 1992.

    Following a period of independent work as an artist and critic, becoming represented by Matt’s Gallery in 1998 and working as a regular contributor to Art Monthly, he took up a year-long fellowship with Kettle’s Yard at the University of Cambridge. This was followed by his first tenured academic post in the Department of Art at Goldsmiths (2000–2008). Juan then joined the School of Art and Design at Liverpool John Moores University as Head of Art, gaining a personal chair as professor of Fine Art in 2010 and being appointed Director of the School of Art and Design in 2012. Juan joined the Royal College of Art in 2014 as Dean of Fine Art.

    Recently, Juan has exhibited work at Terminal Convention, Cork, Ireland 2011; Sound Art at No Longer Empty, Liverpool Biennial 2010; Translating: Chapter 3 Centre for the Study of World Civilisations, Tokyo Institute of Technology 2010; On Second Reading, Galeria Estrany de la Mota, Barcelona 2009; Translating: Chapter Two, Crate, Margate 2009; Mensch, Edinburgh International Festival 2009; Afterwards, Mead Gallery, University of Warwick 2009; Squatters, Murcia, Spain 2008. His work has also been shown at Matt’s Gallery, London; Witte de With, Rotterdam; Serralves Foundation, Porto; Museum of Living Art, Reykjavik; Galeria Elba Benitez, Madrid and the Melbourne Festival, Australia.

    Juan is represented by Matt’s Gallery in London and Galeria Elba Benitez in Madrid.

    Show more
  • External collaborations

  • Juan Cruz is member of the Tate Liverpool Council, a trustee of the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust and a board member of the Liverpool Biennial. He has played a leading role in Arts Council groups tasked with reaching new understandings about the relationship between HEIs and the cultural sector in the UK, leading to funding for ‘Artist’s City’, a project designed to enhance opportunities for artists in Liverpool through better integration of institutions. Juan was also a trustee of the A Foundation between 2009 and 2011.

    Through his work with the John Moores Painting Prize China and the Liverpool Biennial, Juan has developed fruitful research and exchange links with the University of Shanghai, which have led to numerous residencies and exchanges, as well as the development of an international critical writing prize.

    Under Juan’s leadership, Liverpool School of Art and Design became a partner in ‘The Uses of Art’, a €2.5-million European project delivered in collaboration with ‘L’Internationale’, a key European museum confederation including MACBA in Barcelona, the Reina Sofia in Madrid, MuKHA in Antwerp, Salt in Istanbul, Van abbemuseum in Eindhoven and Moderna Galerija in Slovenia, as well as other collaborating Institutions including Grizedale Arts, University of Hildelsheim and KASK in Ghent.

    Between 2011 and 2014, Juan was a co-opted member of the executive of CHEAD, the Council for Higher Education in Art and Design. Earlier in his career, between 1999 and 2002, Juan was also a member of the Arts Council National Touring Programme selection panel, as well as a Member of the London Arts Visual Arts Advisory Group.
    Show more
  • Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes

  • Exhibitions (Larger Projects)


    Un Aire de Actividad

    Commissioned by Nicolas Bourriaud for Estratos - Proyecto Arte Contemporaneo Murcia 2008. Juan Cruz’s video installation dealt broadly with archaeology as a process and as a metaphor in relation to the medieval city of Murcia. The work was sited in the Museo de Santa Clara and shown using an adaptation of the existing setup for the tourist information video. The work was subsequently exhibited at Galeria Elba Benitez, Madrid from 22 November 2008–17 January 2009.


    Translating: Chapter Two
    The exhibition included two works by Juan Cruz as part of Bad Translation, a series of exhibition curated by Matthew de Pullford. One work 'A translation of La Sima (The Chasm) by Pio Baroja' was a collaborative piece with Naama Yuria; the other 'A Translation of The Tree of Science by Pio Baroja' was authored solely by Cruz. This latter work was also shown in amended form at The Centre for the Study of World Civilisations in Tokyo University of Technology, Japan.

    Public work in ten parts using bluetooth transmissions commissioned for Edinburgh International Festival 2009 as part of The Enlightenments, the official visual arts programme of the festival, curated by Julianna Engberg.
Venue(s): Edinburgh International Festival: - The Hub, Edinburgh Festival Centre,
Royal Mile - Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street - King’s Theatre, Leven Street - Queen’s Hall, Clerk Street - Usher Hall, Lothian Road - Royal Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay Street.


    Site-specific, text-based work for Terminal Convention Exhibition in Cork. This piece stemmed from an invitation to make a work for the physical context of a decommissioned airport. The exhibition was organised by Static, Liverpool and curated by Peter Gorschlueter, Deputy Director, MMK, Frankfurt.

    Exhibitions (Smaller Projects)


    Juan Cruz - In the shape of what we know

    Two-screen video projection commissioned by Remise/Galerie allerArt, Bludenz, Austria.


    A Translation of Don Quijote
    Piece shown in group exhibition about language, Sobre Segundas Lecturas - On Second
    , curated by Gloria Pou and held at Galeria Estrany de la Mota, Barcelona. 

    Afterwards (Exhibiting Santa Maria Five o'clock, 2000)
    Work included in an exhibition curated by Sharon Kivland at Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick.


    Sound Art
    Exhibition of one work at the Liverpool Biennial.


    Driving Back
    as part of Savernake: the spirit of the place
    Group show curated by Monika Bobinska including works by Juan Cruz, Gayle Chong Kwan, Andrew Cross, Sir Kyffin Williams and Wen Wu.


    Juan Cruz & Robin Jenkins
    This exhibition was part of the doubles series, which saw a mid-career artist invite another artist, with whom they have some form of artistic relationship, to make an exhibition. In the third in the series, Juan Cruz invited Robin Jenkins to exhibit with him in a show that obliquely referenced personal histories through the exhibition of discrete works. 

    Chapters, Books and Conference Papers

    Cruz, J. (2009) ‘Preface’, in S. Kaye and J. West (eds), A random dispersal of dust (mutely
    ), Leeds: Wild Pansy Press, 3–7

    Cruz, J. (2010) ‘Translating with Strangely Genuine Expression’, paper presented at the Association of Art Historians’ Conference 2010,University of Glasgow

    Cruz J., Kaye S., West J., Rose W., Hughes D. (2010) Slow Revolution, catalogue of works by Sean Kaye and Jenny West, Leeds: Wild Pansy Press

    Cruz, J. (2013) ‘Earnest Abnegation in Perpetuity’, in S. Kivland and N. Segal (eds), Vicissitudes: Histories and Destinies of Psychoanalysis, London: Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, 145–55

    Show more
  • Awards and Grants

  • Artists’ City

    Arts Council award to develop opportunities for artists in Liverpool over two years through schemes designed to foster better dialogue between school art teachers and artists; to provide studio accommodation and business advice models for artists; to enhance critical writing; to stage innovative and critical exhibitions and to bring key practitioners to the city.

    Uses of Art

    In partnership with L’Internationale Museum confederation. The project aims to articulate and embody new models of integrated and ‘useful’ art practice and mediation over five years.

Selected work


Research interests

Juan Cruz’s research comprises the production of artworks and exhibitions, involving a broad range of approaches including video, performance, objects, text and site-specificity, as well as writing about his own work, the work of other artists and related issues. The research dwells upon and expands understanding of the exhibition form and the articulation of narratives within an autobiographical idiom.