Through his past shows, Heist has developed an increasingly allegorical voice in which his life as an artist, and art making in general, stand in for the larger institutions that shape all our lives. For this show, Heist has created a fictional corporation, a bank named UStrust, with the bank itself as the site where the individual attempts to come face to face with the faceless corporation.
The installation mimics a bank's interior, including variations on a teller window, posters, crowd control stanchions, cubicle partitions, video surveillance. In the bank lobby, painting-like felt-covered panels adorn the walls in UStrust's corporate colors of black and blue and transform the typical workplace, the cubicle, into a flattened, uninhabitable corporate sign. In a series of advertising posters, images from the artist’s relatively comfortable life – a supermarket, the workplace, home, car, and bank – are interwoven with texts from the poverty-stricken in the United States. These appropriated texts become open, less tied to the actual feelings of invisibility expressed by the poor than to an existential fear in the artist and viewer. This theme of invisibility flows through the show: A teller window reflects the viewer in black. Video footage of a failed robbery depicts the artist in front of this same window, humbled by his inability to get past his own reflection. This situation is complicated by a post-robbery act of vandalism in which the teller window has been spray-painted by a reversal of the corporate name: "UStrust" becoming a sardonic command, “trust us." The final act of invisibility is depicted in a life-sized diorama: a black dais at the center of the gallery, surrounded by incandescent black-lights and black, velvet ropes – a negative stage on which lies a dead, draped body.
This corpse at the center of the show startles. But it startles not because it is morbid but because it is funny. Read autobiographically, the artist is this slain martyr on stage, having heroically died for his art in the face of the world's indifference. What is refreshing about Heist's autobiographical impulse is that it lacks narcissism. Aware of his own feelings of powerlessness, aware of lording corporations, aware that there are those worse off and those better off than he, Heist neither descends into self-pity nor self-rightousness. Instead, he acknowledges his place in a complex network of consumption, a network in which the artist's desire to pursue the transcendent can not and should not break free from the context that makes such questions meaningful.