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Context and time, the story of a pop-up art exhibit that appeared downtown

Did you hear the story about the guy who broke into an abandoned downtown building to install some art? Just kidding, read the serendipitous story.

An art installation in a window featuring counterfeit money and blue lights.

The art installation will disappear on Wednesday, Oct. 25. | Photo courtesy of the artist ATB

If you’ve been downtown the past few nights, you might have noticed a blue glow coming from the abandoned Starbucks across from Rupp Arena.

Those blue lights and the counterfeit money are actually part of a SOULED pop-up exhibit from the artist ATB called, “WAVE 5 | WHAT YOU GET AWAY WITH.”

When asked about the meaning behind the specific release, the artist ATB posed this thought: “We say we ‘spend our time,’ but it’s not a currency, because the accounting is a paradox when we spend our balance. The more we spend, the more valuable our remainder becomes.” Is your mind blown yet?

The artist ATB’s work is released in WAVES, hence the titles. The WAVES feature 12 identical pieces, that are available for in-person viewing + purchase for 12 days. The starting price is based on the WAVE number, and when a piece is sold, the price for the next one is doubled. The first piece in this WAVE sold for $5. The 12th is valued at $10,240.

A room with blue lighting and pieces of art in various locations.

At the time of publish, the price of the next available piece is $640. | Photo courtesy of the artist ATB

His art is all about context. “Where a painter uses paint and ceramicist uses clay, I’m using context itself...And I think that the most important piece of context that we experience as people, is time. It feels like it goes forever, but it doesn’t — we have a very finite amount of time on the planet.”

You can read more about why time has such a special meaning to the artist ATB, especially as it’s a theme you’ll notice throughout all of the work he has (and will continue) to release.

“WAVE 5 | WHAT YOU GET AWAY WITH” opened at 10:13 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 13 and will close on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 10:13 a.m. Any work that isn’t purchased, will be destroyed in the performance of a WAKE.

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