Tiki Pop

Polynesian pop icon

How Tiki became an American dream
tiki_popUrban 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 With hundreds of previously unpublished images, Tiki the pop icon unfolds from its earliest, enthusiastic beginnings to its spectacular downfall in the dawning awareness of the Western world’s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.

Buy it now: Tiki Pop: America imagines its own Polynesian Paradise

Interior, 1950

Luau Beverly Hills, Interior, 1950

Kahiki bar chef George Ono and his creations, 1962

Kahiki bar chef George Ono and his creations, 1962

1962 - Americans were consumed by Tiki

1962 – Americans were consumed by Tiki

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