“It’s not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster.”
That is just one of the phrases that you’ll see when you’re at Dismaland, a dystopian theme park specially designed by Banksy to hold his latest art exhibition.
Tagged as “the UK’s most disappointing new visitor attraction”, Dismaland is situated on the seafront of the legendary Weston-super-Mare in south-west England. It wouldn’t take long for anyone to realise that this “Bemusement Park” also bears a striking resemblance to the iconic amusement park, Disneyland.
Famed for his ironic murals at unexpected places, British street graffiti artist Banksy said in a statement that the show was something different as his street art had become “just as reassuringly white, middle class and lacking in women as any other art movement”. He described it as “a festival of art, amusements, and entry-level anarchism”, which was not suitable for children.
He added, “I guess it’s a theme park whose big theme is — theme parks should have bigger themes.”
The site is filled with his satirical statements and subversive epigrams that mock centralised power, the media, Western culture, and the extreme disparities of wealth. But as usual, the secretive artist could not be spotted at the press launch.
He only features 10 of his artworks at the site. Most of the bizarre artworks that are being displayed in the dystopian theme park are created by no less than 50 artists from around the world, including Damien Hirst, Bill Barminski, Caitlin Cherry, Polly Morgan, Josh Keyes, Mike Ross, David Shrigley, Bäst, Espo, Escif, Maskull Lasserre, Kate McDowell, Paco Pomet, Dietrich Wegner, Michael Beitz, Brock Davis, Ronit Baranga, and so on.
Banksy, who reportedly grew up in Bristol, started splattering buildings with his artworks in the early 90s. His work can be found on multiple locations ranging from London and New York to the West Bank, and Gaza. He is one of the most sought-after artists in the art world he satirises and his fans include pop star Christina Aguilera and actor Brad Pitt, who paid as much as $500,000 for pieces of his work.
The authorities have routinely painted over his graffiti for almost a decade, but they also now recognise the value. The North Somerset Council said they support the exhibition, as they are mindful of a previous show in nearby Bristol that attracted more than 300,000 fans from around the world in 2009.
Council leader Nigel Ashton, who is also a member of Britain’s ruling Conservatives, said:
We were absolutely delighted to have the biggest drawing name in art here.
He was not put off by the anti-authority theme either, adding, “There’s nothing wrong with asking provocative questions.”
“Dismaland” opens today (21st August) and it’ll only be open to the public for 5 weeks.
UPDATE (27th August, 10:48am):
Dismaland, “the UK’s most disappointing new visitor attraction”, finally has a trailer.
Besides the eerie art pieces, the theme park also features an hour-long programme of short films by Ze Frank, Kristen Lepore, and many more
Take a look at Banksy Dismaland theme park via the trailer below:
You can view all the short films in the list below:
- F*ck That: A Guided Meditation by Jason Headley
- Bottle by Kristen Lepore
- New York Park by Black Sheep Films
- Symmetry by the Mercadantes
- Magic Hats by Jake Sumner
- Golden Age of Insect Aviation: The Great Grasshoppers by Wayne Unten
- Walking on By by Mr. Freeman
- Merry-go-round by Vladimír Turner
- The Gapby Daniel Sax
- 5 mètres 80 by Nicolas Deveaux
- I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up! by Dave Fothergill (with audio added)
- Danielle by Anthony Cerniello
- Anamorphose Temporelle by Adrien M. & Claire B.
- Stainless / Shinjuku (excerpt) by Adam Magyar
- Collapsing Cooling Towers by Ecotricity
- Liberty by Vincent Ullmann (edited with audio added(
- The Employment by opusBou
- Yawns by the Mercadantes
- Rush Hour by Black Sheep Films
- Pug Particles by Ramil Valiev
- Shell’s priceless Grand Prix moment by Greenpeace
- Living With Jigsaw by Chris Capell
- Teddy Has An Operation by Ze Frank
- Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared #1 by Becky and Joe