Spotlight: Mind bender

Title: Open Mind Artist: Yaon Capote Location: The School, Kinderhook, NY.

Open Mind by Yaon Capote; Kristen Abigail Collective

by Mimi Montgomery

This fall, there’s no need to venture inside to feed your need for culture. The North Carolina Museum of Art recently installed a new piece by Cuban artist Yoan Capote, a sculpture entitled Open Mind (Barricades), providing one more reason to explore its growing 164-acre Museum Park.

The piece is the gift of an anonymous donor and represents the first installation supported by the NCMA’s Art in the Environment Fund, which facilitates loaned, temporary, and permanent pieces of public art in the Museum Park.

Befitting its title, the fund’s first installation is a thought-provoking pick: Crafted to resemble a human brain, the Havana-based artist’s sculpture is made out of utilitarian metal barricades of the sort used in crowd-control situations. It’s an interesting comment on the societal and self-imposed limitations enacted by humankind.

“When I saw the piece from above, it made me think of each barricade as all the rules, dogmas, and taboos that are intended to control our behavior,” the artist says.

But Open Mind (Barricades) illustrates the first words of its title, too. The metal barricades Capote uses in the piece are elevated, so visitors can participate in and walk through the sculpture as if in a labyrinth, reversing the barricades’ original purposes. Viewers are no longer kept out, but invited to meander and move freely through the piece.

It’s a timely installation. “Capote is among one of the best-known contemporary Cuban artists still living and working in Cuba today,” says Linda Dougherty, NCMA chief curator and curator of contemporary art. “You can interpret Open Mind on so many different levels – Capote’s personal experience as an artist in Cuba, life for anyone who lives in a place where restriction and censorship are a given, and current events playing out across the front pages of our newspapers every day.”

2110 Blue Ridge Road; the Museum Park is free and open daily from dawn to dusk;