Wyatt Niehaus


Wyatt Niehaus

Work from his oeuvre.

“Wyatt Niehaus’ Future Solutions is a bleak pastiche of corporate signifiers: eco-friendly pantones, quixotic windmills, industrial sterility, Plexiglas smoothness. Overexposed and homogenous, Niehaus’ visuals flaunt their artifice, as well as the contemporary phenomenon of “green-washing”—a branding gambit that flirts with sustainability but makes no promises. This form of corporate hypocrisy is so recognizable as to be passé, yet massive corporate bodies continue to brand-craft a façade of empathetic patriarchy while simultaneously overstepping ethical boundaries across the globe.

Niehaus’ previous work lampoons just such a hypocrisy, for example, in the case of the relationship between Euro-American companies and Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn, the world’s largest maker of electronic components and the single largest private-sector employer in China. Foxconn recently achieved worldwide notoriety for allegations of dismal working conditions. It has been the site of several suicides related to poor pay (and misplacement of Apple product prototypes). Foxconn’s official response to the controversy was to sign away their liability and install suicide nets above the machinery—a macabre gesture, to say the least. The Foxconn spectacle survives as a mere ghost in Future Solutions—its ugliness broils underneath the bland green surfaces, almost (but not quite) exorcised by feel-good branding voodoo.

Future Solutions is not alone in its indictment of corporations. Niehaus’ projects echo the concerns of Naomi Klein, whose book No Logo, in a similar way, exposes the misdeeds of global companies and the invasiveness of false branding. In a subtler manner, Future Solutions asks the same question as Klein. What will we do about it?” – Elizabeth Bauer

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