Tommy Hartung is an American artist who employs photography, sculpture, and video in his vast body of work. He was included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial, the 2010 Greater New York exhibition at MoMA PS1, and is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the Hammer Museum, among many others. He was the recipient of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award (2015), and the Painters and Sculptors Grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation (2011). Hartung is represented by C24 Gallery in New York. He lives in Chautauqua County, New York.
ABOUT THE OLD TESTAMENT (2019)
The Old Testament by Tommy Hartung is a feature length video comprised of 25 chapters that form a narrative about humanity, surveillance, and belief systems. It is an extension of THE BIBLE, his critically-acclaimed and sold-out 2014 video now in museum and private collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Hammer Museum at UCLA. Intended for collective ownership, The Old Testament weaves unique chapters that can be reassembled on the blockchain to play the video in its entirety. In collaboration with Snark.art.
When Snark.art and Hartung began discussing a collaboration in mid-2018, the company was in the early stages of developing its first project, 89 seconds Atomized with Eve Sussman, a digital artwork that explores community and collaboration using blockchain technology. Hartung, who was seeking an opportunity to create a longer version of THE BIBLE, his 2014 video heralded by Artforum as "an astonishing masterpiece,” quickly understood the potential in working with blockchain for digital art. Editions of THE BIBLE are included in museum and private collections, including The Whitney Museum of American Art (New York City), and the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles).
The Old Testament runs more than one hour long and is comprised of approximately 25 chapters that are each unique works of video art. For example, the chapter entitled Genesis features uncut footage and an in-depth look at David Bohm, one of the most significant theoretical physicists of the 20th century, who appears as a hand-drawn animated character. The chapter David opens with a nighttime image of a slum where a little boy learns to tie his shoe, accompanied by a choral version of the Lord’s Prayer. These individual chapters are vignettes that each tell a story, but together weave a larger narrative about humanity, surveillance, and belief systems, whether religious, social or political.
The chapters will be available for purchase on March 29, with one reserved for Hartung's own archive. Owners will be able to play the purchased chapters from their digital wallets. The collective of owners and the artist will have the ability and the right to reassemble The Old Testament through the loan mechanism Snark.art has developed. These loans will be temporary each time, but the protocol that allows loans to take place is coded into the smart contract that governs the ownership of each chapter.
Owners of the chapters will also be invited to view livestream footage of Hartung’s studio and artistic process as he begins work on The New Testament, his follow-up video. Hartung is interested in creating an interactive element to the work, where his collectors could have access to his studio from anywhere in the world.
Additionally, Hartung and Snark.art will hold a special online event in May accessible to all audiences. A live-feed of a theater built to miniature scale by Hartung will function as the “venue” for a special screening of The Old Testament. It is the artist’s playful way of layering multiple realities into one, and is also his way of incorporating sculpture (as he typically does in gallery and museum exhibitions) into a digital experience.
Purchases of the The Old Testament chapters can be made beginning March 29 by credit card or cryptocurrency on the Snark.art website. The chapters will also be available on Artsy, where Snark.art is the platform’s first blockchain gallery partner.
To request high-resolution press images, clips of The Old Testament, and artist interviews, please contact email@example.com.