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Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974-1981

Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974-81 constitutes the most comprehensive survey exhibition to date to examine the exceptional fertility and diversity of art practice in California between 1974 and 1980, a unique period in American history when the political and social roles of artists, the authority of institutions, and the "objecthood" of art were all being questioned. The exhibition argues that the rise of pluralism was the result not only of the collapse of established canons but also the proliferation of new and divergent genres, mediums, and modes of production that reached their apex in the mid- to late 1970s in California, where, in comparison to the East Coast, artists were free to pursue catholic interests in the absence of the dominating forces of art institutions, commercial venues, and critical discourses. Organized by MOCA Chief Curator Paul Schimmel, the exhibition features approximately 500 objects from 130 artists, including decorative art, representational painting, conceptual performance, spectacular public demonstration, documentary video, and staged photography. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with Pacific Standard Time, a collaboration of more than sixty cultural institutions across Southern California, coming together for six months beginning in October 2011 to tell the story of the birth of the Los Angeles art scene and how it became a major new force in the art world.