This comprehensive survey examines the fertile and diverse output of California artists during an extraordinary period of American history. The years between Richard Nixon’s resignation and Ronald Reagan’s election as president were difficult ones for America. Artists in particular were sensitive to enormous divisions in the country’s moods and beliefs. Examining art-making in California during a tumultuous transitional period, this catalogue accompanying a remarkable exhibition features approximately 125 California artists working in a wide array of media: from installation art to representational painting, from conceptual art to performance art, and from video to photography. Penetrating essays by leading art historians, critics, and curators explore the history and development of pluralist art practices throughout California; the artists’ responses to questions about race, gender, politics, and war; and the emergence of new movements and trends such as punk, post-studio art, and postmodernism. Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974-1981 is part of Pacific Standard Time, an initiative of the Getty.