|Location||Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England|
|Status||Temporary exhibition: 21 August - 27 September 2015|
Dismaland was a temporary art project organised by street artist Banksy in the seaside resort of Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, England. 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 and closed on 27 September 2015, 36 days later. Banksy described it as a "family theme park unsuitable for children." The aesthetic of the "bemusement park" was potentially inspired by the "Dismayland" series of paintings created by American artist Jeff Gillette, who also participated in the exhibition.
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. It received 150,000 visitors in the five-week period it was open. After it closed, the building material for the project was repurposed as shelters for refugees in the Calais Jungle where he also added murals.
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. Pictures of its construction began surfacing online in early August 2015, and included a "fairy castle and massive sculptures". 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 made the project less of a "secret".
Among the structures photographed prior to the opening were a large pinwheel by Banksy, Horse Scaffolding Sculpture by Ben Long, and a twisted truck sculpture, Big Rig Jig by artist Mike Ross which was previously shown at Burning Man in 2007. Works by 58 artists, including Jenny Holzer, Damien Hirst, Jeff Gillette, Jimmy Cauty and Bill Barminski were featured in the park. Banksy said he contacted the "best artists I could imagine" to exhibit, with two artists turning him down.
Art Historian Dr Gavin Grindon from the University of Essex curated Dismaland's political exhibits, including a bus housing a 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. Every one of the estimated 150,000 visitors to the park entered through a fake cardboard security check point created by artist Bill Barminski.
Banksy's coin operated Dream Boat, created for Dismaland, was donated by the artist to Help Refugees in the run-up to Christmas 2018 to help raise money for the charity. The artwork was displayed in Help Refugees' London pop-up shop and members of the public could pay £2.00 to enter a competition to guess the weight of the piece. The person whose guess was closest to the actual weight would win Dream Boat. The 'guess-the-weight' competition was seen as 'deliberately school fair' in style.
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. Banksy later resolved the issue and the work was uncovered again.
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.
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.
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." Dan Brooks in The New York Times was critical of the easy sarcasm.
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.
- 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.
- "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.
- "Banksy Dismaland show revealed at Weston's Tropicana – BBC News". BBC News. Archived from the original on 20 August 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
- Holmes, Kevin (28 June 2016). "Meet the 'Slumscape' Painter Who Inspired Banksy's Dystopian Theme Park". Vice. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
- 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.
- "Dismaland to be taken down and sent to Calais to build shelters". Press Association – via The Guardian=28 September 2015.
- "Banksy adds Steve Jobs mural to refugee camp made from Dismaland remains". De Zeen. 18 December 2015.
- "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.
- "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.
- "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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- "Upcoming: Banksy "Dismaland" Pop-Up Exhibition @ Weston-Super-Mare". StreetArtNews.net. Archived from the original on 21 August 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
- Nicholas Jackson. "Big Rig Jig". Atlas Obscura. Archived from the original on 11 September 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- N. Hinde, 'Buy A £2 Raffle Ticket And This Banksy Sculpture Could Be Yours' (11/12/18) on HuffPost
- Katie Baron, 'How Choose Love Made Charity Credible Again: Pop-Up Sales Storm Towards £1.5m, Doubling 2017 Total' (22/10/18) on Forbes
- "Artists — Dismaland". dismaland.co.uk. Archived from the original on 26 August 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
- Tara John. "Dismaland: Palestinian Thrown Out for Anti-Israel Protest". TIME.com. Archived from the original on 31 August 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
- 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.
- 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.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 October 2015. Retrieved 30 September 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- "Banksy's Dismaland 'gave Weston-super-Mare a £20m boost'". BBC. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
- "Banksy's Dismaland up for South Bank Sky arts award". BBC. Archived from the original on 3 May 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dismaland.|