Art in California: Book Presentation with author Jenni Sorkin


Art in California is a fully illustrated history of modern and contemporary art in California from the early twentieth century to the present day. This introduction to the art of California focuses on the distinctive role the state played in the history of American art, from early twentieth-century photography and Chicanx mural painting to the fiber art movement and beyond. Shaped by a compelling network of geopolitical influences―including waves of migration and exchange from the Pacific Rim and Mexico, the influx of African Americans immediately after World War II, and global immigration after quotas were lifted in the 1960s―California is a center of artistic activity whose influence extends far beyond its physical boundaries. Including work by artists Yun Gee, Helen Lundeberg, Henry Taylor, Richard Diebenkorn, Albert Bierstadt, Chiura Obata, and Judith Baca, among many others, art historian Jenni Sorkin tells California’s story as a place at the forefront of radical developments in artistic culture. Paperback, 256 pages.

About the Author
Jenni Sorkin writes on the intersections between gender, material culture, and contemporary art. Her recent book is Art in California (2021), written for Thames & Hudson’s acclaimed World of Art series. As a state, California is the site of tremendous diversity in the visual arts and has been at the forefront of cultural production throughout the twentieth century. Her first book, Live Form: Women, Ceramics and Community (University of Chicago Press, 2016) examined the confluence of gender, artistic labor, and the history of post-war ceramics. Recent projects include the essay “Affinities in Abstraction: Textiles and Otherness in 1970s Painting,” in Outliers and American Vanguard Art. Lynne Cooke, ed. (Washington DC: National Gallery of Art, 2018) and “Alterity Rocks: 1973-1993,” Art in Chicago: A History from the Fire to Now. Maggie Taft and Robert Cozzolino, eds. (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2018). She has published widely as an art critic, and her writing has appeared in Artforum, Art Journal, Art Monthly, East of Borneo, NU: The Nordic Art Review, Frieze, The Journal of Modern Craft, Modern Painters and Third Text. In 2004, she received the Art Journal Award. She currently serves on the editorial board of Journal of Modern Craft, and has served as a member of the editorial boards of Art Journal and Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture. She is the recipient of fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies (2014–15), the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design (2012), the Getty Research Institute (2010–11), and the ACLS/Luce Fellowship in American Art (2008).

Sorkin has been an invited lecturer at numerous museums including the ASU Art Museum, Tempe, Dia Beacon; ICA, Philadelphia, Contemporary Art Museum, Menil Collection, and MFA, Houston; MAD and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon; Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas; Newcomb Museum, Tulane University; University of Chicago, and the Yale Center for British Art. She has been a visiting critic at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Colorado State University, Michigan State University, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Oregon, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin, Southern Methodist University, and the Yale School of Art.


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