(Mountainview, Calif., August 18, 2008)




KLAUS OTTMANN received a M.A. in philosophy from the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany in 1980 and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the Division of Media and Communications at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland in 2002. In 2014 Dr. Ottmann attended the Getty Leadership Institute Executive Education Program for Museum Leaders at Claremont Graduate University. In 2016 Dr. Ottmann was conferred the insignia of Chevalier of France’s Order of Arts and Letters by the French ministry of culture and communication. Upcoming curatorial projects includes a comprehensive survey of works by the first-generation abstract expressionist painter JAMES BROOKS, an exhibition of works by UGO RONDINONE and LOUIS MICHEL EILSHEMIUS, as well as JENNIFER BARTLETT: IN AND OUT OF THE GARDEN.

Currently Chief Curator Emeritus at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., Dr. Ottmann has curated more than fifty exhibitions including STILL POINTS OF THE TURNING WORLD: SITE SANTA FE'S SIXTH INTERNATIONAL BIENNIAL (July 2006 – January 2007); LIFE, LOVE, AND DEATH: THE WORKS OF JAMES LEE BYARS at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main, Germany and the Musée d'art moderne et contemporain, Strasbourg, France (2004); and WOLFGANG LAIB: A RETROSPECTIVE, which originated at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. and traveled to five additional venues including the Dallas Museum of Art and the Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2000–2002).

His more recent curatorial projects include NORDIC IMPRESSIONS: ART FROM ÅLAND, DENMARK, THE FAROE ISLANDS, FINLAND, GREENLAND, ICELAND, NORWAY, AND SWEDEN, 1821–2018 (The Phillips Collection, October 2018 – January 2019); GEORGE CONDO: THE WAY I THINK (The Phillips Collection, March–June 2017); KAREL APPEL: A GESTURE OF COLOR (The Phillips Collection, June–September 2016); HIROSHI SUGIMOTO: CONCEPTUAL FORMS AND MATHEMATICAL MODELS (The Phillips Collection, February–May 2015); ANGELS, DEMONS, AND SAVAGES: POLLOCK, OSSORIO, DUBUFFET (The Phillips Collection, February–May 2013; Parrish Art Museum, Summer 2013); PER KIRKEBY: PAINTINGS AND SCULPTURE (The Phillips Collection, October–January 2012; Bowdoin College Museum of Art, March–July 2013) and JENNIFER BARTLETT: PLACE—A SURVEY OF PAINTINGS AND SCULPTURE (The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, June–October 2013; Parrish Art Museum, Summer 2014). Earlier projects include FAIRFIELD PORTER: RAW – THE CREATIVE PROCESS OF AN AMERICAN MASTER (Parrish Art Museum, April – June 2010); RACKSTRAW DOWNES: ONSITE PAINTINGS, 1972–2008 (Parrish Art Museum, June – August 2010); EV+A 2007: A SENSE OF PLACE, an international survey of contemporary art held city-wide in Limerick, Ireland (March – May 2007); and BODIES OF DESIRE: WORKS ON PAPER BY WILLEM DE KOONING AND CHLOE PIENE, Locks Gallery, Philadelphia (January – February 2007).

From 1988 to 1995 Ottmann was Curator of Exhibitions at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Connecticut, where he implemented an original exhibitions program, emphasizing European and American art since 1960. He presented important historical exhibitions as well as one-person shows of established and emerging artists such as Franz Erhard Walther, Astrid Klein, Mary Kelly, Kiki Smith, Jessica Stockholder, and Tom Friedman. He initiated and taught Wesleyan's first course on contemporary theory and exhibition practice, now an established part of the curriculum. He was also a pioneer in initiating online art projects with artists such as Renée Green and Vik Muniz.

From 1996 to 1999 he held the position of Curator of Exhibitions at the American Federation of Arts in New York, where he conceived original exhibitions and solicited and evaluated proposals from leading curators and art historians to develop and implement traveling exhibitions to museums worldwide.

From 2008 to 2010 he was the Robert Lehman Curator for The Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, N.Y.

Ottmann has written extensively on art for numerous museums including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museu Serralves, Porto; IVAM, Valencia; and the Kunstmuseum Bonn. He has also contributed to leading periodicals, including FLASH ART, ARTS, DOMUS, ART ON PAPER, ART PRESS, SCULPTURE, and ARTNEWS.

His books include YVES KLEIN BY HIMSELF: HIS LIFE AND THOUGHT (Paris: Edition Dilecta, 2010); YVES KLEIN: WORKS, WRITINGS (Barcelona: Ediciones Poligrafa, 2010); THOUGHT THROUGH MY EYES: WRITINGS ON ART, 1977–2005 (Putnam, Conn.: Spring Publications, 2006); THE GENIUS DECISION: THE EXTRAORDINARY AND THE POSTMODERN CONDITION (Putnam, Conn.: Spring Publications, 2004), and THE ESSENTIAL MARK ROTHKO (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2003). In 2006 Ottmann translated Gershom Scholem's book ALCHEMY AND KABBALAH into the English language (Putnam, Conn.: Spring Publications, 2006). In 2007 he translated the complete writings of Yves Klein into English (OVERCOMING THE PROBLEMATICS OF ART: THE WRITINGS OF YVES KLEIN (Putnam, Conn.: Spring Publications, 2007).

Since 1991 Ottmann has been the publisher and editor of the JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY ART, which features conversations with and projects by a diverse international group of emerging and established artists including Marina Abramovic, Arakawa, Judith Barry, Barbara Bloom, Larry Clark, Christo, Dan Graham, Gilbert & George, Leon Golub, Antony Gormley, Imi Knoebel, Jeff Koons, Jonathan Lasker, Wolfgang Laib, Rita McBride, Mariko Mori, Takashi Murakami, Cady Noland, Adrian Piper, Mimmo Rotella, Richard Serra, Cindy Sherman, Bill Viola, and Sue Williams. The JOURNAL ceased paper publication in 1996 and its content is now available online.

Ottmann is also the publisher and editor of SPRING PUBLICATIONS, a small publishing house based in Thompson, Connecticut that specializes in books on psychology, philosophy, the history of ideas, mythology, classics, comparative literature, art, and religion.