Guerrero's work explored in new exhibit
"Pedro E. Guerrero: Photographs of Modern Life," the first extensive exhibition of his mid-century modernist work to be shown in the East, will open at the Landis Gores Pavilion in a joint presentation of the Julius Shulman Institute at Woodbury University and the New Canaan Historical Society.
The exhibit, curated by Emily Bills and Anthony Fontenot, opens Sunday, June 9. At the opening reception, Bills, the managing director of the Shulman Institute, will present the 2012 Julius Shulman Institute Excellence in Photography Award to Guerrero's widow, Dixie. Other members of the Guerrero family will be in attendance for the presentation.
Established by architectural photographer Julius Shulman in 1995, the institute provides programs that promote the understanding of architecture and design, especially as interpreted by the art of photography.The New Canaan Historical Society, which operates the newly restored Gores Pavilion for the Arts, will host the event and exhibit. The exhibit will run through Nov. 1.
As a young art student, Guerrero was hired by Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin West. He became Wright's official photographer and a trusted friend. Guerrero's approach was to treat architecture as sculpture.
Guerrero, a longtime New Canaan resident, spent much of his career photographing Wright's work, and later, the art of Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson. But this little-known aspect of his work, in which he documented many of the most iconic architects of the midcentury era, is the focus of this exhibit.
Guerrero photographed a wide range of New Canaan's modern houses, including those designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Philip Johnson and Edward Durrell Stone. His photographs of Marcel Breuer's influential first house in New Canaan are among his best-known works. One iconic shot captures the enormous cantilevered deck; another (from the same shoot) shows the Breuers sitting at their outdoor table in that space. Prints of Wright's Taliesin West, Eero Saarinen's Ingalls Rink at Yale, Joseph Salerno's United Church of Rowayton, and John Black Lee's Day House are some of the works to be exhibited. Guerrero also photographed the Gores Pavilion when it was the Irwin Pool House, so his vintage photos of the exhibit building itself will be on display.
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The photographs are on loan from Edward Cella Art + ArchitectureAt the Gores Pavilion, the installation is overseen by Dianne Pierce, a design and decorative arts historian who teaches at Parsons and SUNY New Paltz.
Accompanying the Guerrero exhibit in second gallery will be a display of the works and history of the modern movement in New Canaan. This exhibit, originally curated by Alan Goldberg, features the Harvard Five and the architects who followed them to New Canaan.
Exhibit hours are Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and by appointment. The suggested donation is $5 per person. For information, call 203-966-1776 or visit nchistory.org.