These works are a continuation of Heist's examination of the relationship between the individual and the crowd, spectatorship and its relationship to meaning. The installation, titled "Live Feed" is a quasi meditative space continually disrupted by the voice of authority. Heist transforms the architecture of the gallery to create a space that is both private and confining. Only one viewer is physically able to enter at a time because of the narrowing walls and ceiling. The space itself invites the viewer into a meditative state away from the chaos of social interaction in a shack-like spiraling construction suggesting something between an oversized speaker cabinet and a nautilus shell. A low volume sound disrupts the sense of isolation experienced when entering the seated inner chamber of this dream-like space. A police scanner on low volume broadcasting live provides an ongoing chatter that is both protective and invasive. This aural voyeurism is a reminder of the thousands of dramatic events happening in the immediate vicinity. Both fascinating and suffocating, the voice of authority asserts itself in a private setting.Heist continues this theme of the individual versus the crowd in sculpture/paintings made with plexiglas, silkscreened images and photographs. These works intentionally distance the viewer from the object of their gaze, controlling the way that the viewer perceives the artwork, also allowing only one viewer at a time. The viewer is forced to have an intimate viewing experience, undermining the spectacle of an audience, which the work depicts. In one of Eric Heist's peephole installations a color photograph is pasted directly onto a false gallery wall. The photograph, a 1970s picture of a football game, depicts the American suburban version of the pastoral. The sun shines brightly on the helmets of players near the back touch line; in the fore, the tops of the coaches heads are visible, as are those of the first few rows of excited fans. Near the center, one notices a hole bored into the right eye of the team's tiger mascot. Beyond it, trapped in a white Plexiglas box, is the grainy, pixilated black and white photograph of four naked inmates of a Rumanian insane asylum, the gaze of one hovering aimlessly in
frightful blankness. In Heist's piece, titled Asylum (1999), the banal serves as an entryway to a vision of horror.
Eric Heist, artist and co-director of Momenta Art, a gallery located, like Feed, in the up-and-coming Williamsburg area of Brooklyn, returns to themes he has explored as far back as 1997, pitting the individual against the impersonal crowd, the spectator's gaze against the phenomena of voyeurism and surveillance. The exhibition's title piece, Live Feed (1999), references both the gallery's name and the constricting power of information. A shack-like, spiraling wooden structure which suggests something between an oversized speaker cabinet and a nautilus shell, Live Feed pulls single viewers through its narrow passageway to reach a small, tight inner chamber. There, a live police scanner blares through a speaker located above a tiny bench, providing a constant litany of antisocial activity performed in the gallery's vicinity. Transformed by Heist's environment, the police dispatcher's tinny, detached voice veers from dramatic, purposeful information to a suffocating mantra.In Giants (1999), a picture made from sugar and silk-screened ink on fabric, Heist takes materials he has previously used for experiments in shape and color and turns them to mysterious use. The black, congealed sugar piles up on the blue-green silkscreen of a seated crowd like barnacles on a whale's side, obscuring here, letting through the features of random, anonymous faces
there; communicating finally through its nearly abstract blur the implosive potential of crowds everywhere. Heist's remaining two pieces in the exhibition employ duratrans, light boxes, Plexiglas and wood and are also constructed in the manner of Asylum. Of these Fans (1999), a hole in a door behind which is visible a color photograph of formally dressed men and women, begs particularly enigmatic questions. Why is the crowd Heist forces us to look at gathered on those bleachers? Have they come to see a sporting event or an execution?
Christian Viveros-Faune Art in America, May 1999