Theme parks are normally places of absolute, undiluted joy and fun. Yet for the newly opened park situated in Weston-super-Mare helmed by artist Banksy, the prevailing theme is one of anarchy and controversy. The park itself has been shrouded in secrecy with local residents told the 2.5 acre site was being used as a Hollywood movie set, only the truth being revealed this week. Although the name is clearly a swipe at the “happiest place on Earth” Banksy insisted the show was not a swipe at Mickey and co. “I banned any imagery of Mickey Mouse from the site,” he said. “It’s a showcase for the best artists I could imagine, apart from the two who turned me down.”
Featuring 58 international artists hand-picked by Banksy, including Damien Hirst and Jenny Holzer, installations are certainly controversial and fly straight into the face of the establishment. Julie Burchill has rewritten Punch & Judy to include a Jimmy Savile spin, Jimmy Cauty, once part of the KLF, is displaying his version of a fun model village resplendent with 3,000 riot police featuring the aftermath of a major civil unrest. With Banksy himself describing the place as a “family theme park unsuitable for small children” the popularity of the park is almost guaranteed, as is the fallout that will certainly accompany it.
The show will run until 27 September with 4,000 tickets a day at £3. Tickets are available now at dismaland.co.uk.