Posted 08 Sep 2015
'American Masters – Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer's Journey,' explores the life and work of the Mexican American artist, who overcame segregation and prejudice to pursue an extraordinary international photography career. The film, which represents the first partnership between 'American Masters' and 'VOCES,' premieres on the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) Friday, Sept. 18, at 8 p.m. during National Hispanic Heritage Month.
The film showcases an in-depth, exclusive interview with Guerrero alongside his photography to explore his journey from segregated Mesa, Arizona, to his collaboration with three of the most iconic American artists of the 20th century: architect Frank Lloyd Wright and sculptors Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson. Using his outsider's eye to produce insightful portraits of important modernist architecture, Guerrero became one of the most sought-after photographers of the 'Mad Men' era, yet his story is largely unknown.
'Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer's Journey' highlights the milestones in Guerrero's life, including his serendipitous enrollment in photography classes, his 1939 meeting with Wright, his World War II service, his post-war magazine photography career, his work with Calder, the end of his magazine assignments due to vocal opposition toward the Vietnam War. This led to continued work with Calder, Guerrero's eventual work with Nevelson, and Guerrero's return to Arizona, where he lived until his death in 2012 at age 95.
Guerrero's second wife and archivist Dixie Legler Guerrero; Nevelson's granddaughter, sculptor Maria Nevelson; and Guerrero's friends, collaborators and architectural experts, including Martin Filler, also share insights and recollections throughout the documentary.
To take the film beyond its television broadcast and further explore its themes, stories and personalities, the 'American Masters' website will feature a digital exhibit of Guerrero's photography. An Instagram photo campaign inspired by Guerrero's work, using #PedroPBS, will also be launched to encourage viewers to share their own local art and architecture photos. The best images will be featured on the series website, a video compilation on the 'American Masters' YouTube channel and across PBS social media.
Educational resources focused on Guerrero's life and legacy, developed in partnership with Latino Public Broadcasting, will be available via PBS LearningMedia.
In partnership with 'American Masters' and through a grant from presenting station WNET, AETN will engage diverse audiences by conducting an outreach workshop and hosting a public screening of 'Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer's Journey.' The screening will be presented as part of the Architecture & Design Lecture Series Tuesday, Oct. 20, at the Arkansas Arts Center, 501 East 9th Street, Little Rock. This event is free and open to the public. A reception will be held at 5:30 p.m. and the screening, immediately followed by a panel discussion, will begin at 6 p.m.
This special presentation of 'American Masters' and 'VOCES' has been made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding is provided by Rosalind P. Walter, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Judith and Burton Resnick, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Vital Projects Fund, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, Berkeley Film Foundation, Castellano Family Foundation, Elise Jaffe + Jeffery Brown, and Mike and Ginny Lester.
Produced by Latino Public Broadcasting, 'VOCES' is PBS' signature Latino arts and culture documentary showcase and the only ongoing national television series devoted to exploring and celebrating the rich diversity of the Latino cultural experience. Further information is available at VOCES on Facebook or Twitter.
The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) is Arkansas's statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. For more information, visit aetn.org, or follow the AETN blog at aetn.org/engage. AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), and KETZ (El Dorado).