How Tiki Became An American Dream

Published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Quai Branly museum in Paris, Sven A. Kirsten’s Tiki Pop traces the history of America’s most colorful cultural trend – a manufactured Polynesian paradise of hula girls, rum cocktails and the leisurely sounds of steel guitar.

So seductive was its influence on the American people, whether at war, returning from war, or subject to hectic urban lifestyles, its Hawaiian charm and escapist promise spread throughout all forms of popular culture. From best-selling novels and Hollywood movies, to laid back LPs, restaurants, interior design and architecture – the luau way of life was an all-encompassing draw on the public’s imaginations.

Sven A. Kirsten successfully collects an outstanding amount of material ranging from early historical artifacts to diner menus, movie posters and photos, accompanied by a leisurely and informative text that provides a genuine sense of Tiki’s appeal throughout the decades. The images are brilliantly reproduced in large format and offer a great overview of Tiki in all it’s forms. Where the 1970s and 80s saw a decline in its appeal due to over-exposure and commercialism, I welcome the modern resurgence of this undoubtably cool, graphic style and can think of no better introduction. Highly Recommended.

Tiki Pop by Sven A. Kirsten
Hardback 384 pages
23.1 x 26.9 cm