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Welcome to Dismaland
« on: August 24, 2015, 05:31:07 PM »

Welcome to Dismaland: Banksy's new grotesque art theme park

Allyssia Alleyne, CNN
August 21, 2015


150820102010-02-56622823-h38871556-super-169 - Welcome to Dismaland - Weird and Extreme
Banksy's 'Bemusement Park': Dismaland

(CNN)The seaside town of Weston-super-Mare in south-west England is gray and gloomy when we arrive.

"Welcome to Dismaland," a dead-eyed girl in Mickey Mouse ears greets us at the gates of the old public pool.

150820175214-banksy-dismaland-super-169 - Welcome to Dismaland - Weird and Extreme
Marketed as a "bemusement park," it features work from fellow contemporary artists Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer and Jimmy Cauty, and will run for six weeks.

We're hassled by testy security guards at metal detectors before we catch sight of the main attraction: a decrepit fairytale castle in a moat of murky water and a crashed police van.

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Re: Welcome to Dismaland
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2015, 05:37:32 PM »

Surrounding it: an upside down slide fashioned from a battered old truck, an old-school carousel, a Ferris wheel. Inside, Cinderella's coach has crashed, surrounded by clicking paparazzi.

150820102058-06-56622823-h38871484-super-169 - Welcome to Dismaland - Weird and Extreme
This Cinderella piece -- taken inside of the decrepit castle at the center of the park, riffs on the death of Princess Diana.

Here it is: the latest exhibition from Banksy, the art world's favorite agent provocateur. Billed as a "bemusement park" and modeled after Disneyland, it's a warped vision of the so-called "happiest place on Earth". Officially opening to the public on Saturday, August 22 (it's open to locals only tomorrow), it's Banksy's largest exhibition to date and the 4000 allotted daily tickets, priced at less than $5, are expected to sell out fast.

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Re: Welcome to Dismaland
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2015, 05:43:33 PM »
 
This is, of course, the Banksy who has built a reputation for leaving often political, frequently comical graffiti everywhere from London to Gaza; the street artist known for exploring war, political corruption, hope and revolution with stencils and spray paint; the anonymous figure whose identity remains unconfirmed.

150402191245-03-banksy-gaza-super-169 - Welcome to Dismaland - Weird and Extreme
It's not the first time Banksy has played on the amusement park theme. In a poignantly different scene from earlier in the year, a child in Beit Hanoun walks past a mural that depicts children using an Israeli watchtower as a swing ride.

What we do know is he was raised in nearby Bristol, and that he's been planning this for months. There's been speculation for weeks about what was going on at the site -- formerly a public pool. Locals were told it was a film set.

There are rides, yes, and three galleries featuring pieces from the likes of Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, and Banksy himself, along with lesser-known artists. Many of the over 50 artists from 17 countries exhibiting share a common irreverence toward the political and cultural establishment.

150402191039-02-banksy-gaza-cat-super-169 - Welcome to Dismaland - Weird and Extreme
In this image, a Palestinian child stands next to a Banksy mural of a kitten on the remains of a house that was destroyed during the battles between Israel and Hamas militants in the summer of 2014, in the Gaza town of Beit Hanun on February 26 of this year.

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Re: Welcome to Dismaland
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2015, 05:56:00 PM »

As was expected, the artist isn't here to speak to his mission directly, or why he's sending up Disney, but the artists on hand were more than happy to theorize.

"[Disney] is vulnerable, to me," says Jeff Gillette, the Orange County-based artist who juxtaposes Disney characters with images of slums and dumps. "They're such a big presence and such a big part of culture and symbolic of so many things. It's hard not to f**k with them."

(To add insult to corporate injury, signs at Dismaland say lawyers are banned, along with spray paint, marker pens and knives.)

2B878E5900000578-3205835-image-a-34_1440156711518 - Welcome to Dismaland - Weird and Extreme
The airport-style entrance, created by artist Bill Barminski, to artist Banksy's biggest show to date, entitled Dismaland - Dailymail.co.uk

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Re: Welcome to Dismaland
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2015, 06:25:07 PM »

But it's clearly not just Disney in the spotlight here. One of Banksy's new works on display, ostensibly a game, has visitors navigating boats of migrants surrounded by floating bodies.

150820102042-05-56622823-h38872231-super-169 - Welcome to Dismaland - Weird and Extreme
Not every piece was quite so whimsical. This more topical installation -- one of the many games at the amusement park -- makes a powerful statement about the ongoing migrant crisis.

Behind the Ferris wheel and the high interest loan shop for kids seeking allowance advances, there's the activist corner. After taking in the art, visitors can explore a geodome covered in protest posters and the anarchist bookstore, or receive advice about collective bargaining and unions. A girl with cropped hair and a defiant smirk offers tips and kits for hacking bus stop billboard displays.

2B8D715900000578-3205835-image-a-63_1440167493262 - Welcome to Dismaland - Weird and Extreme
People get a first glimpse of Banky's Dismaland. Pictured is a spoof payday loan for children who want extra pocket money - dailymail.co.uk

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Re: Welcome to Dismaland
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2015, 06:27:46 PM »

It's not the kind of thing you expect from a seaside art exhibition, but there's no doubt an audience for it. And not just the usual art fanatics streaming in from out of town for the Banksy experience and something from the gift shop.

2B8BE30000000578-3205835-image-a-7_1440152682738 - Welcome to Dismaland - Weird and Extreme
It opened for residents at 11am today, who redeemed a voucher in the local newspaper, with queues forming around 7.30am. It will open for the general public tomorrow - dailymail.co.uk

Passersby on the way to the aquarium or the beach or home stop to ponder the ominous Dismaland sign and ask about admission without even knowing what's happening. It's a fun fair, some suggest, or an opening.

"It seems like an evil version of Disney," a little girl in a GAP jumper muses near the barriers.

Well, art has always been open to interpretation.

Dismaland runs from August 21 to September 27, 2015

http://edition.cnn.com/

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Re: Welcome to Dismaland
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2015, 06:31:22 PM »

150820102130-09-56622823-h38873872-super-169 - Welcome to Dismaland - Weird and Extreme
In fact, many of the artworks shown were politically motivated. This one by Peter Kennard and Cat Phillips makes quite a clear statement about Britain's current political leadership.

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Re: Welcome to Dismaland
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2015, 06:36:39 PM »

150820102120-08-56622823-h38871634-super-169 - Welcome to Dismaland - Weird and Extreme
Big Rig Jig, a sculpture by Mike Ross, on display at Dismaland.

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Re: Welcome to Dismaland
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2015, 06:37:09 PM »

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One of the highlights of the exhibition? The staff, who were convincingly glum throughout.

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Re: Welcome to Dismaland
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2015, 06:41:33 PM »

150820102034-04-56622823-h38872291-super-169 - Welcome to Dismaland - Weird and Extreme
Over 50 artists from 17 countries are represented among the works shown. However, Banksy did contribute a selection of new works of his own, including this installation of a woman being attacked by seagulls. (Yes, you can take a seat next to her if you want.)

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Re: Welcome to Dismaland
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2015, 06:41:57 PM »

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This killer whale jumping out of a toilet piece by Banksy was also on the grounds.

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Re: Welcome to Dismaland
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2015, 06:44:54 PM »

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The secretive street artist had built his reputation on playful images that began appearing on the walls of London and Bristol in the early 1990s. This image is from 2006.

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Re: Welcome to Dismaland
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2015, 06:45:22 PM »

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Banksy's work often plays with overtly political themes such as surveillance culture and state corruption.

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Re: Welcome to Dismaland
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2015, 06:47:05 PM »

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...Not to mention many a humorous dig at Britain's police force.

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Re: Welcome to Dismaland
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2015, 06:47:30 PM »

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Banksy famously took his firebrand style to the streets of New York in 2013, with a series of artworks appearing over the course of a month in neighborhoods around the city.

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Re: Welcome to Dismaland
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2015, 06:49:05 PM »

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The amusement park theme also made its way to New York's Lower East Side, during his month-long "residency" with this ghoulish exhibit "Grim Reaper Bumper Car."

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Re: Welcome to Dismaland
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2015, 06:49:30 PM »

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Despite his anti-establishment roots, Banksy has gone on to garner great enthusiasm from the high-end art market world. This stencil print "Love is in the Air" sold for $248,000 in 2013.

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Re: Welcome to Dismaland
« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2015, 06:51:37 PM »

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But not everyone is a fan.. .This Banksy mural depicting pigeons holding anti-immigration signs was destroyed by the local council in Clacton-on-Sea, England on October 1 after the council received complaints that the artwork was offensive.

http://edition.cnn.com/

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Re: Welcome to Dismaland
« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2015, 01:59:21 AM »

back to the dismaland where dismal is king

Dismaland - Welcome to Dismaland - Weird and Extreme

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Re: Welcome to Dismaland
« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2015, 01:59:50 AM »

not all is dismal after all

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