America's dream Polynesian paradise
Commissioner : Sven Kirsten, author and expert on pop culture
Tiki bars, wahini, flower-bedecked bowling halls and mesmerising music: far from authentic Polynesian culture, Tiki Pop presents us with a Polynesia as it was imagined by Americans in the 20th century.
It all began with the voyage of the French explorer Bougainville and the discovery of Polynesia. The great travellers arrived in these exotic lands and the dream began. Great artists such as Gauguin also contributed to creating the myth surrounding these distant islands. In the mid 20th century, the United States took inspiration from what were then called “primitive” sculptures created by the people of these oceanic islands, which were generally known as “Tiki”, and extended the myth of the paradisical South Seas.
A selection of more than 400 objects from private American collections presents the beginnings of this style, its increasing popularity in the 1960s and finally examines both the disappearance in the 1980s of this unique phenomenon in American culture and its recent resurgence.
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