TurnPark Art Center: Don't Miss It

 TurnPark Art Space

2 Moscow Road

West Stockbridge MA


Ever been inside an eye made from twigs?
Ever been inside an eyeball made from twigs?

A decade and a half ago, two Russian immigrants, Igor Gomberg and Kaya Brezgunova, had a vision. Before moving to the United States, they had befriended artist Nikolai Silis and had spent time at his Moscow studio. As is often the case with artists, Silis’ studio was also a community gathering spot. Gomberg and Brezgunova wanted to create something like that in their new home and found an ideal spot in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, on a small bluff that sits against the pond of an old quarry. From this TurnPark Art Space was born. It’s no accident that many of the artists represented are also Russian, Russian-American, or from former Soviet republics.

 TurnPark Art Space is deceptive in its outward appearance. A low slung whitewashed concrete building greets you as you pull into its parking lot. The side closest to you is a windowless blank, though the other has glass that helps illumine indoor exhibits. The galleries are small and are closed at present, but the grounds are open. Officially, this white structure, which looks like it might have escaped from Mies van der Rohe’s sketchpad, is called the Gatehouse. You can walk through it and see a few pieces, but after putting money in the donation box, I suggest you walk atop it.

Bohr and Einstein

Don Quixote

TurnPark Art Space is deceptive. At first glance, it looks small and, by the standards of places such as New York’s Storm King or the deCordova in Concord, Massachusetts, it is. Still, TurnPark Art Space is bigger than you imagine: 16 acres and growing. A winding path takes you on a journey that’s a blend of sculpture, environmental art, and conceptual pieces. One of the first pieces you see will bring a smile. At a glance, Vladimir Lemport’s “Bohr and Einstein” might look a bit like Ma and Pa Kettle smoking matching corn cob pipes, but the name gives it away. Lemport is whimsically honoring Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein, arguably the two greatest names in 20th century physics. Another amusing piece comes from none other than Nikolai Silis himself, “Don Quixote V” shows Cervantes’ noble fool cast in steel and sniffing a cut tin daisy. 

Inhabitants of Childhood

There are lots of real daisies and woodland flora to be viewed along the path, as well as a stone amphitheater that, in non-COVID times, is the setting for performances of everything from classic
al music and dance to lectures, yoga, ethnic fairs, movies, and comedy. The middle part of the grounds, where one finds the amphitheater, is a grassy expanse hemmed in by woods. For a unique look at this setting, see it reflected in “Heliograph 2,” a Vadim Kosmatscher inground mobile. If you want frisson from something spookier, installations from Uta Bekaia’s “Inhabitants of Childhood” will do the trick. His childhood was apparently more something out of the Grimm Brothers and macabre Georgian folk tales than Winnie the Pooh! 


Some of the pieces are just fun, such as stylized discuss and shotput competitors, and others that look amusing are more profound. This is notably the case of “Rain” from Ukraine’s Nazar Bilyk. It depicts a six-foot bronze figure with upturned head and a giant glass raindrop resting across his face. Bilyk wants us to consider several things, not the least of which is humankind’s delicate and precarious place within nature. There are also works that fall into the conceptual realm, such as Ben Butler’s “Jigsaw,” Gene Montez Flores’ “Puerto,” and Alexander Konstantinov’s “Wandering Rocks.” 


You may not like everything you see. To me, Konstantinov’s work on top of the Gateway evokes stacked window frames, though I liked his installation across the pond on the quarry wall, which is truly suggestive of rock striations. This is the beauty of art such as you will see at TurnPark. You can be enthralled or baffled, none of it is stuff you see every day, a mark in its favor. A bigger one still is that art such as Bilyk’s “Rain” stretches the mind. There are many meanings and interpretations one can assign to such pieces and each is probably valid. Plus, the grounds are simply a nice place to commune with your surroundings and plop down for an informal picnic.

Don’t worry about having trouble finding TurnPark. The go-to stop in West Stockbridge is No. Six Depot, a popular coffee and light snack destination. TurnPark is just up the hill from it. Don’t make my mistake of being in West Stockbridge dozens of times before finally paying a visit to the TurnPark Art Space.


Rob Weir 


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