Through the photographs of three Bay Area photographers, this exhibition investigates shifting social paradigms in America during the second half of the twentieth century. Although Ruth-Marion Baruch, Bill Owens, and Larry Sultan approach their subject matter from different stylistic and cultural vantage points, all three reveal the realities and the illusions of the California dream. From the 1960s, a decade of intense cultural and political change, emerged a new mainstream America more amenable to diverse lifestyles, political views, and belief systems. These photographs provide intimate perspectives on the sixties and the following decades in California, the place where much of this cultural change was initiated and embraced. In her series Illusion for Sale, San Francisco (1961), Ruth-Marion Baruch explores the landscape of Union Square department stores, creating a study of women engaged in a private search for identity through consumerism. Six years later the search was no longer a retail experience, and the terrain shifted to the communal sidewalks of San Francisco in the series Haight Ashbury (1967). Fur collars made way for pet kittens and bridal veils were replaced by love beads. What shift of consciousness took place in America between the generation born in the Depression era and the baby boomers coming of age in the 1960s? Baruch's pictorial evidence may provide clues-or, from today's perspective, are the changing appearances mere fashion statements? Whether her subjects were sophisticated ladies shopping for shoes, or a family of three waking up in the back of a pickup truck, Baruch captured a timeless elegance and beauty in the images she produced. Bill Owens's important series Suburbia elucidates the geographic and cultural migration of middle-class America in the 1970s from the frightening city to the safety and conformity of the suburbs, idealized in tract homes, manicured lawns, and abundantly stocked refrigerators. The photographer intimately records the everyday events and rituals of this peaceful existence as both observer and participant. Images of the horrendous beauty of a lipstick-red toilet seat, a couple proudly enjoying their mirrored bedroom, and the devout Sunday routine of reading the New York Times and eating a roast beef dinner capture the optimism, humor, and, at times, dislocation of the period. Also included in the exhibition are photographs from Owens's subsequent series Our Kind of People; Working: I Do It for the Money;and Leisure, as well as a selection of his most recent short digital movies. In the 1980s, Larry Sultan set out to photograph his semi-retired parents at home in the San Fernando Valley, the suburban area where Sultan grew up in the 1950s, for a series titled Pictures from Home. Through photographs of his parents talking on the phone, waking up, reading the newspaper, or cooking a turkey, Sultan tenderly creates a final chapter of his own family album while beautifully illuminating the inevitability of aging. At the turn of the twenty-first century, in his series The Valley, Sultan depicted the same suburban neighborhoods from a different angle, documenting the pornographic film industry that rents homes to use as backdrops for movies. Sultan's photographs provocatively juxtapose the homeowners' personal effects-framed family photographs, religious objects, and children's dolls-with naked limbs, discarded clothes, makeup, cameras, and lights. Shown together, Sultan's two series suggest striking insights into the illusions of the domestic ideal. Dreaming California is inspired by the museum's growing photography collection, and highlights a recent major gift of the work of Bill Owens. The exhibition is on view in the Theater and Stairwell Galleries, where admission is free.