Stewart Turnquist led the Minnesota Artists' Exhibition Program (MAEP) at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts from 1977 to 2008.
Stewart Turnquist is known for one long and large accomplishment, but also for a more personal one. Professionally, he led the Minnesota Artists' Exhibition Program (MAEP) at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts from 1977 to 2008. Overseeing constantly changing - and consistently fascinating - shows by artists from all over the state, Turnquist enthusiastically served 6,000 participants, who treasured that chance to appear in a major museum. MAEP was and remains a pioneering, open-armed institutional project.
His other accomplishment lies closer to biography and home life. As a boy, Turnquist saw mists rising from the waters of Bloomingon, Minnesota, and discovered his own spirit was reflected in natural life. In 1969 he and Robert Saxon, a fellow MCAD sculpture graduate, built two homes for themselves deep in the woods near Monticello on the Mississippi River. Their design linked eight-foot prefabricated hexagons, the classic six-sided cellular structure found in all living plants and beehives.
"The units can make the house grow sideways or up and down," Turnquist said in the Star Tribune. He and his wife, Arline, raised three children who have grown up and left their home in the woods.
Today, Turnquist still lives in the area he and Saxon call Patternstation, applying the patterns of nature to art and practical living. "The ultimate goal is to be self-sufficient," Turnquist told the Star Tribune, "to start living through art."