Dismaland

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Dismaland
Logo of Dismaland transparency.png
Location Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England
Coordinates 51°20′27″N 2°58′58″W / 51.3409°N 2.9828°W / 51.3409; -2.9828Coordinates: 51°20′27″N 2°58′58″W / 51.3409°N 2.9828°W / 51.3409; -2.9828
Theme Art exhibition
General Manager Banksy
Website www.dismaland.co.uk
Status Temporary exhibition: 21 August - 27 September 2015
The 'Tropicana' swimming pool became 'Dismaland'

Dismaland was a temporary art project organised by street artist Banksy, constructed in the seaside resort town of Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, England.[1] Prepared in secret, the pop-up exhibition at the Tropicana, a disused lido, was "a sinister twist on Disneyland" that opened during the weekend of 21 August 2015[2] and closed permanently on 27 September 2015, 36 days later. Banksy described it as a "family theme park unsuitable for children."[3]

Banksy created ten new works and funded the construction of the exhibition himself. The show featured 58 artists of the 60 Banksy originally invited to participate. 4,000 tickets were available for purchase per day, priced at £3 each.[4]

Development[edit]

Local residents of Weston-super-Mare were told that a Hollywood company called Atlas Entertainment was using the location to film a crime thriller called Grey Fox. Signs proclaiming "Grey Fox Productions" were posted around entrances to the site.[5][6][7] Pictures of its construction began surfacing online in early August 2015, and included a "fairy castle and massive sculptures".[8] Holly Cushing, whose name appeared in the credits of a documentary about Banksy and who is often reported to be his manager, was sighted at the construction site before the opening, which contributed to the decline of its status as "secret".[8][9]

Works[edit]

Among the structures photographed prior to the opening were a large pinwheel by Banksy,[10] Horse Scaffolding Sculpture by Ben Long,[11] and a twisted truck sculpture, Big Rig Jig by artist Mike Ross which was previously shown at Burning Man in 2007.[12][13][14] Works by 58 artists, including Jenny Holzer, Damien Hirst, Jeff Gillette, Jimmy Cauty and Bill Barminski were featured in the park.[4] Banksy said he contacted the "best artists I could imagine" to exhibit, with two artists turning him down.[15]

Art Historian Dr Gavin Grindon from the University of Essex curated Dismaland's political exhibits, including a bus housing collection of dangerous and violent objects (from homeless spikes to riot shields and rubber bullets) under the banner of 'Cruel Designs'.

For one exhibit, the books of Jeffrey Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare, a British criminal, novelist and former politician, were burned each day in a fire pit.[16] Every one of the estimated 150,000 visitors to the park entered through a fake cardboard security check point created by artist Bill Barminski.

On Fridays there were scheduled performances by musicians including Run the Jewels, De La Soul, Damon Albarn, and Pussy Riot.[17]

Selected contributors[edit]

Inside Dismaland

– Source:[18]

A contributor Alzaqzouq later covered up his work with bed sheets in protest of the presence of Israeli artists. He was banned from the park but his covered work remained in Dismaland.[19] Banksy later resolved the issue and the work was uncovered again.[20]

Reception[edit]

Visitors queuing for tickets

High demand for tickets to the exhibition caused the Dismaland website to crash repeatedly. Some wondered whether or not this was deliberately contrived by Banksy as part of the irony of the Dismaland experience.[21]

Many celebrities were attracted to the venue, some international, such as Brad Pitt, Jack Black, Neil Patrick Harris, Nicholas Hoult, Wayne Coyne, Russell Brand, Ant & Dec, Mark Ronson, Darren Criss, Daddy G, CGP Grey and Brady Haran[22] to name a few.

The exhibit had a mixed reception from critics. Jonathan Jones in the Guardian found it depressing: "brings together a lot of bad art by the seaside."[23] Dan Brooks in The New York Times was critical of the easy sarcasm.[24]

The exhibition proved to be popular with visitors, with many prepared to queue for hours each day for one of the 500 daily walk-in tickets. It brought in 150,000 visitors from around the world, boosting the local economy of Weston-super-Mare by £20m.[25][26]

In May 2016, it was announced that Dismaland had been shortlisted for the South Bank Sky Arts Award.[27]


References[edit]

  1. ^ Morris, Steven (18 August 2015). "Banksy fans flock to Weston-super-Mare after Dismaland show rumours". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 18 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  2. ^ "Is Banksy about to open a new exhibition in Weston-super-Mare?". Bristol Post. 17 August 2015. Archived from the original on 19 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "Banksy Dismaland show revealed at Weston's Tropicana – BBC News". BBC News. Archived from the original on 20 August 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Brown, Mark (20 August 2015). "Banksy's Dismaland: 'amusements and anarchism' in artist's biggest project yet". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 21 August 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  5. ^ BEN WILKINSON (17 August 2015). "Is this Banksy's dark vision of Disneyland? Underground street artist 'is preparing new show' including a fairy castle and massive sculptures on site of old lido in Weston-super-Mare". DailyMail.com. Archived from the original on 25 August 2015. 
  6. ^ "Seaside exhibition 'bears Banksy hallmarks' says author – BBC News". BBC News. 18 August 2015. Archived from the original on 18 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  7. ^ "Welcome to Dismaland, Banksy's secret pop-up exhibition – video". The Guardian. 18 August 2015. Archived from the original on 18 August 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "Banksy 'using film set as a cover for secret new Dismaland exhibition'". ITV News. 17 August 2015. Archived from the original on 18 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  9. ^ Beggs, Alex (18 August 2015). "Is Banksy Out to Ruin Disneyland?". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on 21 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  10. ^ Pricco, Evan (24 August 2015). "An Interview With Banksy About Dismaland". Juxtapoz, issue 177. Archived from the original on 22 August 2015. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  11. ^ Mills, Eleanor (30 August 2015). "Banksy: A tantalising brush with the Rat King". Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 29 September 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2015. 
  12. ^ Siam Goorwich (18 August 2015). "Banksy's opening a post-apocalyptic theme park called Dismaland in Weston-super-Mare". Metro. Archived from the original on 18 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  13. ^ "Upcoming: Banksy "Dismaland" Pop-Up Exhibition @ Weston-Super-Mare". streetartnews.net. Archived from the original on 21 August 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  14. ^ Nicholas Jackson. "Big Rig Jig". Atlas Obscura. Archived from the original on 11 September 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  15. ^ Brown, Mark (20 August 2015). "Banksy's Dismaland: 'amusements and anarchism' in artist's biggest project yet". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 21 August 2015. Retrieved 21 August 2015. 
  16. ^ Hjelmgaard, Kim (21 August 2015). "British artist Banksy opens anti-theme park 'Dismaland'". USA TODAY. Archived from the original on 21 August 2015. Retrieved 21 August 2015. 
  17. ^ Schwab, Katharine (20 August 2015). "Welcome to 'Dismaland': A Theme Park by Banksy". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 20 August 2015. Retrieved 21 August 2015. 
  18. ^ "Artists — Dismaland". dismaland.co.uk. Archived from the original on 26 August 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  19. ^ Tara John. "Dismaland: Palestinian Thrown Out for Anti-Israel Protest". TIME.com. Archived from the original on 31 August 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  20. ^ Horton, Helen (29 August 2015). "Israel protest artist's work stays at Dismaland". Telegraph. Archived from the original on 20 December 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2016. 
  21. ^ Matt Payton (21 August 2015). "People trying to buy tickets don't think Banksy's Dismaland is real". Metro.co.uk. Archived from the original on 21 August 2015. 
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 October 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  23. ^ Jones, Jonathan (21 August 2015). "In Dismaland, Banksy has created something truly depressing". the Guardian. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2015. 
  24. ^ Brooks, Dan (10 September 2015). "Banksy and the Problem With Sarcastic Art". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 16 September 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2015. 
  25. ^ Hannah Ellis-Petersen (25 September 2015). "Dismaland closure leaves Banksy-shaped hole in Weston-super-Mare". Guardian. Archived from the original on 4 December 2016. 
  26. ^ "Banksy's Dismaland 'gave Weston-super-Mare a £20m boost'". BBC. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  27. ^ "Banksy's Dismaland up for South Bank Sky arts award". BBC. Archived from the original on 3 May 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 

External links[edit]