Secretive British street artist Banksy has upped his own art ante, with the new “Dismaland” theme park (art exhibit) in the United Kingdom. It’s a place where fans of his work can experience “bemusement” in an exhibit that, according to Reuters is, “…tagged the UK’s most disappointing new visitor attraction!” Whether you fully understand Banksy’s art or not, this is one “theme park” worth checking out and enjoying with a good sense of gallows humor.
Banksy “Dismaland” Theme Park
The Dismaland theme park art exhibit is located in a run-down seafront site on England’s Weston-super-Mare. Visitors may first notice portions of a large distressed and burned-out looking “Magic Castle” surrounded by a moat. But there is apparently much more carnage to be seen—so bring your gallows humor. The exhibit opens to the public on Saturday for five weeks. If you can’t get to the United Kingdom but still want to have an idea of what’s there, follow the Dismaland Park Instagram account. Living in New York, and being fortunate enough to have seen a number of his works in person, I think it’s fair to say Banksy knows how to make a statement (even if you don’t always agree with it or fully understand it), so it should be amusing to check out this subversive “theme park”.
Who Knows Banksy
As Banksy prefers to keep a more-than-low-key profile, not revealing his identity publicly, few know who the real Banksy is. But despite his secret persona, his public murals have been found on buildings and spaces in locations around the world including London, New York and the Middle East. When his work first started appearing in public spaces it was often cleaned off or painted over by those who felt it was tantamount to graffiti. But now that he’s become a pop art icon of sorts, his work is considered incredibly valuable, and sought after by art collectors and others, and most public officials now keep their hands off and let it exist.
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A photo posted by Dismaland (@dismaland_park) on
While this exhibit is not suitable for children, it is full of Banksy’s statements on topics ranging from culture to capitalism, making fun of media and more. Park “workers” sport fake mouse ears and wear bright pink vests reading “Dismal” on the back. A sign reads, “This exhibition includes material that some people may find traumatic.”
Also to be seen:
- A blow-up orca whale diving from a toilet bowl, through a hoop into a kiddie pool
- A statue of a model citizen sitting on a park bench being attacked by seagulls
- Signs bearing statements such as, “Free Hot Dog for Anyone Who Can Guess What Animal is in their Hot Dog”
- A pumpkin coach lying on its side with the carnage of a princess surrounded by paparazzi taking photos
- A “Banksy-ized” billboard with an image of British Prime Minister David Cameron
In a statement to media, Banksy said, “It’s not a swipe at Disney.” But for die-hard Disney fans, know what you’re in for before you go.
Although, you do have to exit through the gift shop. Banksy-style.