A concise yet wide-reaching survey, this book presents visual art in California from the early twentieth century to the present day as a microcosm of the global contemporary, shaped by a compelling network of geopolitical influences, indigenous histories and complex migrations. Art historian Jenni Sorkin celebrates California as a centre of artistic activity whose influence extends far beyond its physical boundaries. Introducing an array of artists and practices, from photography to feminist art, the studio craft movement, Chicanx muralism and Black social activism, Sorkin focuses on art in California as radical, steeped in multiculturalism, ethnic identity, and community involvement.
Organized both thematically and chronologically, and illustrated in full-colour throughout, Art in California includes chapters on photography and painting examined through the lens of gender and racial identity; the influence of Mexican muralism; post-war abstraction and the expansion of art education; 1960s cultural and political activism and the rise of ethnic studies; art schools and the alternative space movement, and California-centred biennial exhibitions. As the first introductory text on the subject, this engaging study offers an important reassessment of California’s contribution to modern and contemporary art in the United States and beyond.