Item description for Tiki Modern by Sven A. Kirsten...
Overview A follow-up to "Book of Tiki", this book brings together the two retro trends of mid-century modernism and Tiki style. It shows us how primitivism and modernism were two sides of the same coin in the 1950s and 60s.
Sexy savage: Excavating Tiki's finest offerings TASCHEN's Book of Tiki provided the blueprint for the re-appreciation and revival of Tiki style. Almost completely wiped from the consciousness of Americans until recently, Sven Kirsten's tome put Tiki on the map as a unique pop culture phenomenon. Never before had Tiki culture's visual power and pervasiveness been revealed with such detail and insight. Not only did the book inspire the erecting of many new Tiki bars from New York to London to Berlin to Prague to Waikiki, but also motivated a myriad of Tiki artisans to pick up the chisel and carry on the forgotten tradition, while spurring many others to create their own home hideaways, making "Tiki" a household name again. This new follow-up book, which brings together the two recent retro trends of mid-century modernism and Tiki style, is bound to lift the Tiki craze to a new level. With his usual mixture of ironic detachment and genuine enthusiasm for the subject, Kirsten shows us how primitivism and modernism were two sides of the same coin in the 1950s and 60s. Decor deities and ersatz ancestors outrageously merged in the modern brutalist furniture from the house of Witco, a company that outfitted Elvis Presley's Jungle Room and Hugh Hefner's Chicago Playboy pool. This was design porn at its best. The author: Sven Kirsten was conceived on a freighter of his grandfather's Hamburg-Chicago Line. Following the call of the big world, he moved to California at the age of 25. Kirsten studied at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles and began shooting music videos in the late 1980s for The Cramps, Tom Waits, Sergio Mendes and others. After years of hunting down pieces of the puzzle ofPolynesian Pop, Kirsten has developed a singular insight into the Cult of Tiki and has become the country's most eminent Tiki archaeologist.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1.5" Width: 9.5" Height: 10.75" Weight: 4.6 lbs.
Release Date Sep 12, 2007
ISBN 3822847178 ISBN13 9783822847176
Availability 0 units.
More About Sven A. Kirsten
<div><div><b>James Teitelbaum</b> has been the webmaster of the Tiki Bar Review Pages since 1994 and has contributed more than 70 articles and reviews to magazines such as <i>Alternative Press</i> and <i>Blue Harvest</i>. He lives in Chicago. <b>Sven A. Kirsten</b> is an internationally renowned artist and illustrator. He is the author of <i>The Art of Shag</i> and <i>The Book of Tiki</i>. He is the illustrator of <i>Night of the Tiki</i>, <i>Shag Party</i>, and <i>Tiki Drinks</i>. He lives in Los Angeles.</div></div>
Reviews - What do customers think about Tiki Modern?
Tiki Modern & the height of American influence Aug 12, 2008
While its predecessor volume, The Book of Tiki, is a straight-forward exploration of the Polynesian popular culture that came to fruition in early 1960's America, Sven Kirsten's Tiki Modern... and the Wild World of Witco is a more ambitious attempt to place this peculiar phenomena in the larger social, artistic and intellectual context of the time period, primarily as exemplified in the three-dimensional art and furnishings of William Westenhaver.
Both volumes offer an incredible wealth of playful imagery depicting all of the various idioms in which the concept of "tiki" found (and continues to find) expression. This makes Tiki Modern an entirely essential Volume 2 in Kirsten's ongoing attempt to catalog the genre for the growing number of tiki devotees worldwide.
For the intellectually curious, however, Tiki Modern is more than an extrapolation on the first book's suburban tiki archeology. It is an entirely sober effort to explain how a passing suburban infatuation can be understood as a metaphor for America's conflicted psychological condition at what could now be called the apex of her global cultural influence and power.
The World of Witco- a Westenhaver-sculpted map of the world - as depicted on the inside covers of Tiki Modern is the perfect expression of what Kirsten has tried to achieve with this book. On one level Tiki Modern and Westenhaver's map convey the limitless scope and raw energy of space-age primitivism, but on a deeper level they illuminate America's emergence from an inward-looking, pre-war isolationism to a self-conscious and over-sized sense of itself as a global superpower.
A careful reader will linger over the text in Tiki Modern as well as the well-cataloged art and be inspired not only to appreciate and perhaps collect Witco furniture, scupture and paintings, but to seek out and understand how North American society interpreted itself during a period in which the wealth and idealism of the New World pushed the boundaries of technology, art, fashion, architecture and music into realms both sublime and grotesque.
If one looks carefully, the seeds of America's eventual failure to fulfill its imagined destiny as a unifier of peoples and cultures can be glimpsed in the pages of Tiki Modern and within the wild world of Witco. The photograph on page 15 depicting TV host Steve Allen astride a New-Guinea-style crocodile is perhaps the best expression of this quixotic optimism. For those more tactile, I'm certain Kirsten would suggest taking a seat at one of Westenhaver's exotic bars, or perhaps lounging on a dragon sofa.
Moderism at its best! Jul 1, 2008
A MUST HAVE for anyone interested in the atomic/tiki/moderism era. Lots of information and historical photos all in one book. I also recommend another book by this same author (Sven Kirsten)entitled, The Book of Tiki. You will not be disappointed!
A Must Apr 7, 2008
We have several tiki books and this one is fantastic. Very good quality. Lots of information and wonderful pictures. We have some of the author's other books and they are equally good.
TASCHEN book quality! Beuatiful Pics!!! They dont make'em like this anymore! Apr 3, 2008
This book is absolutely AMAZING! The pictures are wonderful...colorful, big and vivid. There's pictures on EVERY PAGE...serious material here! Descriptions and the wonderful little tid-bits are executed nicely. Nothing was done as an 'afterthought'. There are even a few vintage items I was going to bid on at one time mentioned in this book...now I seriously regret it because of their rarity!!
If you're a tiki fan, new to tiki or just love art and Polynesian influenced pieces, this is a book you must buy. Pick it up..because once you do, you won't want to put it back down.
Another great tiki book by Sven Kirsten Mar 11, 2008
More beautiful images of a (sadly) bygone era, accompanied by well researched captions in multiple languages.
With that said...the main purpose of this book was to highlight a particular type of trashy looking furniture made by the Witco Company.
The Witco style can be extremely tacky looking to the point where I laughed out loud many times at how trailer trashy it was. Think: matching orange shag rug. This went far beyond the kitschy coolness of the tiki era. It's nauseating.
Witco's look was so repetitive it would be a bore except it was like a car wreck, you kept turning the page to see what other ridiculous item one could make out a dark stained log of wood and a chainsaw. It's like the guy who discovered he could make things with popsicle sticks and never stopped. Eventually he had a popsicle car.
The cover of the book, is a piece of art. The linen fabric of the hardback is tasteful and is enjoyable to hold. There is still enough non-Witco stuff here to keep the reader satisfied with the book.
All in all it was clearly a labor of love, and for that and most of the book, I give it an encouraging 5 star recommendation. Thank you Sven - waiting for your next project.