British street artist Banksy has sprung a surprise on the unsuspecting public by opening an epic new show in the West Country coastal resort Weston Super Mare. While setting out to parody disappointing fairground parks it succeeds in creating a hugely entertaining adventure with art and what Banksy describes as “entry-level anarchy” included.
There are fairground rides, stalls, a fairy castle which is grim rather than Grimm, galleries, cafes and bars and of course you exit through the gift shop.
Banksy himself has created 10 new works for the event and in the galleries and various other locations are sculptures, installations and paintings by another 60 or so artists. The program also features performances, film, bands and DJs.
Banksy’s last significant activity was the “Better Out Than In” 30 day residency on the streets of New York in 2013 and before that he had epic art events in the UK with Cans Festival in 2008 and Banksy v. Bristol Museum in 2009. This production manages to trump all those for a variety of reasons.
The creation of Dismaland was shrouded in mystery, there had been rumours for over a month that Bansky was up to something at the abandoned lido site but a pretend Grey Fox film production was used to mask the true intention behind the work taking place on the site. The announcement came 3 days before the official opening, typical Banksy secrecy and short notice.
To get deeper into the Dismaland experience and for insights into Banksy’s achievement, check Graffoto’s review (written by Dave, Shoreditch Street Art Tour’s guide).
Admission costs £3 per person and is either by timed entry tickets booked online here or some are available on the day at the site but are likely to be then subject to queuing with a one-out-one-in system in operation. At the moment the ticket website is down and expected to go live at noon on Tuesday 26th August. Monday 25th is “walk up, cash only” admission.
All photos: Dave Stuart except featured image courtesy Banksy website www.dismaland.co.uk