After having been kept tightly under wraps for most of its construction, street-graffiti artist Banksy has just opened “Dismaland,” an art exhibit-carnival hybrid, in England. The anti-Disney show opened to about two thousand people and displayed work by about 60 artists. The gloomy show will run through the end of September.
Banksy, notoriously private and reclusive, stepped slightly out of character for the creation of Dismaland. He contacted artists like Zaria Forman, a New Yorker, about eight weeks before the show opened and gave her a general idea of what the show would be like. Forman says she was instructed not to answer specific questions she would probably be asked, and she had “no comment” whether she had actually met Banksy.
The theme-park-themed show is, as expected, funereal, satirical, and glum. The park features grouchy, unfriendly guards, and “one installation on the site — billed as only for children — features a trampoline and a stand offering small loans with interest rates of several thousand percent,” reports the New York Times, as well as a statue of a woman being attacked by seagulls.
In an interview with The Guardian, Banksy describes the exhibit as “a theme park for the disenfranchised, with franchises available. I guess you’d say it’s a theme park whose big theme is—theme parks should have bigger themes.” He also says that he believes museums are poor places to look at art, as “the worst context for art is other art.”
Dismaland is located in a small seaside town, a place Banksy says is perfect because the show is only competing with “donkeys,” and because “this show is modelled on the failed winter wonderlands they build every December that get shut down by trading standards.” On its opening day the skies poured down rain over the show—adding perfectly to an already creepy setting.
Tickets to the show can be purchased online or at the entrance to the park.