For a while in midcentury America, Tiki was king of the land. With Polynesian-themed hotels, restaurants, cocktails, theme parks, apartment condos, music, movies and more, America?s infatuation with the Hawaiian Islands and Polynesian culture reached a fever pitch before suddenly collapsing. A new visual history of the phenomenon was recently released by Taschen, called Tiki Pop: America Imagines Its Own Tiki Paradise. 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.
The hardcover, 9.8-by-12.8-inch tome ($59.99) is published in conjunction with an eponymous exhibition in France on view through Sept. 28 at the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris, curated by Kirsten.