Opening of Pedro E. Guerrero: The Photographer of Mid-Century New Canaan

September 28, 2018
New Canaan Historical Society

Pedro E. Guerrero: The Photographer of Mid-Century New Canaan opens Sept. 28 at the New Canaan Historical Society. The exhibition includes 35 of Guerrero’s black and white photos, many depicting the architecture for which the town is famous, and will coincide with the Society’s much anticipated Modern House Day Tour on Oct. 20. A second gallery will be devoted to the life of Guerrero and his family in New Canaan during some of the town’s most tumultuous—and interesting—years.

Guerrero is internationally known for his work with the architect Frank Lloyd Wright and the sculptors Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson, as well as his photographs of modernist houses for the popular shelter magazines of the “Mad Men” era. Like many of the architects he documented, he moved to then-rural New Canaan just after service in World War II, and began building his own modernist house. He became an active member of the community and a strong voice against the Vietnam war, making national headlines as “The Dove on the Draft Board.”

The photographic exhibit, organized by the Society with Edward Cella Art + Architecture of Los Angeles, the gallery which represents his estate, will display timeless images of New Canaan’s architectural heyday, including houses by Marcel Breuer and John Black Lee, and portraits of Calder’s home and studio. The second gallery mines Guerrero family archives and attics, featuring images of the pioneer clan in 19th-century Arizona, vintage cameras, and Guerrero’s own artwork.  Other memorabilia depict a New Canaan that was at once pastoral and contentious – a battleground between hawks and doves, as illustrated by lively excerpts from the opinions column of the local newspaper.

Among other events planned by the Historical Society in conjunction with the exhibits are a lecture Sept. 30  at 3 pm on the photographer by architectural historian Dr. Emily Bills of Woodbury University in California, and Guerrero’s widow, Dixie Legler Guerrero; showings Oct. 11 at 11 am, 1 pm, 5 pm and 7 pm of the PBS American Masters, a documentary on Mr. Guerrero; and a family panel discussion Nov. 4  at 5 pm of  life in New Canaan followed by a festive toast to Guerrero’s heritage, a Mexican dinner.

The exhibition, continuing through Dec. 9, will open with a reception on  Sept. 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Society, 13 Oenoke Ridge Road, New Canaan, Conn. 06940; (203) 966-1776. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., or by appointment.


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