Emblematic of the American popular culture of the years 1950-1960, the tiki style declines a fantasized imagery of the seas of the South. It originates from the fanciful representations of the Pacific, conveyed by the narratives of the explorers from the eighteenth century. Adventure novels and then films relay and popularize this reinvented vision of Polynesian cultures. The tiki style has influenced the architecture, decoration of American bars and restaurants since the 1930s, and inspires a real lifestyle with the archetypes of the beachcomber or the sexy vahiné. Tiki imagery, a very free adaptation of the original Polynesian model, is available in traditional or modernist versions and invades everyday life.
Nearly 450 works, photographs, films, musical recordings and archival documents testify to this enthusiasm that has become an art of living. A selection of amazing objects - such as glasses, match boxes, ashtrays etc., pop accessories (perfume bottles or ketchup bottles), interior decoration items, etc. - is presented alongside authentic works (sculpture Tekoteko Maori, bowl Tonga in Kava ...).
While the tiki style has recently returned to the forefront in the United States (reopening of cocktail bars ...), the exhibition "Tiki Pop, America Dreams its Polynesian Paradise" explores the rise of this phenomenon Unique in American culture, having reached its peak in the 1950s, to its decline in the late 1960s and its forgetfulness in the 1980s.
The special issue Beaux Arts éditions devoted to this exhibition takes up the main themes and goes back over the history of the tiki style.