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Klaus Ottmann

Klaus Ottmann is an independent curator, writer, and translator based in New York City. He is the Adjunct Curator of the Collection at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, NY, and Chief Curator Emeritus of The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. He is also the publisher and editor of Spring Publications, a small publishing press specializing in books on psychology, philosophy, religion, the history of ideas, mythology, classics, comparative literature, art, and ecology. From 1991 to 1995 he was the publisher and editor of the Journal of Contemporary Art. 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. In 2023, he received the Extraordinary Contribution to The Phillips Collection Award.

At the Phillips he curated the exhibitions Nordic Impressions: Art from Åland, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, 1821–2018; George Condo: The Way I Think; Arlene Shechet: From Here On Now; Karel Appel: A Gesture of Color; Hiroshi Sugimoto: Conceptual Forms and Mathematical Models; Angels, Demons, and Savages: Pollock, Ossorio, Dubuffet; and Per Kirkeby: Paintings and Sculpture. He also oversaw the installation of a second permanent installation at the Phillips, a Wax Room created by Wolfgang Laib. Dr. Ottmann has curated more than 50 international exhibitions, including Jennifer Bartlett: History of the Universe. Works 1970–2011; Still Points of the Turning World: SITE SANTA FE’s Sixth International Biennial; Life, Love, and Death: The Work of James Lee Byars; Wolfgang Laib: A Retrospective; and Strange Attractors: The Spectacle of Chaos.

His publications include Yves Klein by Himself: His Life and Thought; The Genius Decision: The Extraordinary and the Postmodern Condition; and The Essential Mark Rothko. In 2006, he translated and edited Yves Klein's complete writings from French into English, Overcoming the Problematics of Art: The Writings of Yves Klein. In 2010, he edited and translated F.W.J. Schelling’s Philosophy and Religion (1804), and in 2020, he edited and translated Schelling’s Philosophy of Revelation (1842–42) and related texts from German into English. In 2022, he translated the first part of Christian Wolff’s 1730 First Philosophy, or Ontology from Latin into English. He is currently working on the first complete translation of Nicolas Poussin’s correspondence from French and Italian into English.

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