“Although Americans fascination with all things Polynesian pop culture has been well-documented, it hasn’t been well explained – until now….”
“A superb book that helps explain how America became obsessed with the idea of living on a beach where the skies were always sunny, women were beautiful, and drinks were strong.”
« C’est gai, coloré, frais, c’est un drôle d’art qui donne envie d’en croquer.»
“A gloriously kitsch gallery.”
“Elaborately illustrated throughout 36 chapters, author Sven Kirsten shows how Tiki came to represent the ‘noble savage’ lifestyle, free from the structures of Western civilization.”
Tiki Pop. America imagines its own Polynesian Paradise
Polynesian pop icon
How Tiki became an American dreamUrban islands and bamboo hideaways set the stage for a pop culture phenomenon like no other. In mid-century America, the imaginative appeal of Tiki penetrated fashion, music, eating, drinking, and architecture.
Published in connection with an exhibition at the prestigious Musée du quai Branly in Paris, Tiki Pop traces the development of Tiki as romantic vision and cultural appropriation. Follow Tiki from James Cook's first Pacific Island expeditions, through Gauguin's exotic paintings, Hollywood jungle fantasies, and elaborate temples erected to celebrate Tiki as the god of recreation. With hundreds of previously unpublished images, Tiki the pop icon unfolds from its earliest, enthusiastic beginnings to its spectacular downfall in the dawning awareness of the Western world's colonial misdeeds.
This book is the culmination of the extensive research of Sven Kirsten, urban archaeologist, Tiki sage, and author of earlier TASCHEN books, The Book of Tiki and Tiki Modern, which first recovered the figure of Tiki from obscurity. In his widely lauded graphic style, Kirsten places venerable ancient godheads next to their Polynesian pop counterparts, movie posters next to matchboxes, comic strips next to Robinson Crusoe illustrations. The result is at once a visual feast, a piece of cultural history, and a tribute to a very particular vision of paradise.