Banksy's new project "Dismaland" seemingly popped up out of nowhere. The rumor mill started churning in the middle of the week, and the next day we had a formal announcement that an intricate Disneyland parody park was opening up in a UK town most of us had probably never heard of before. If the whole process has left you wondering "what is this thing?" you aren't alone. In a rare interview with The Guardian, Banksy explained the where, what, and why behind his new project and muses on the current art scene.
Banksy provides a quick description for what "Dismaland" is. "In essence it’s a festival of art, amusements and entry-level anarchism," he tells The Guardian. "I guess you’d say its a theme park whose big theme is – theme parks should have bigger themes."
The legendary street artist speaks on his belief that low-income families make the best art consumers. "This show is modelled on the failed winter wonderlands they build every December that get shut down by trading standards – where they charge £20 to look at some alsatians with antlers taped to their heads towing a sleigh made from a skip," he says. "The advantage of putting art in a small seaside town is you’re only competing with donkeys. I think a museum is a bad place to look at art; the worst context for art is other art."
"Dismaland" was also influenced in part by Banksy's desire to do something different. The street artist believes that the way the current art market works for people who repeat their previous work. "Like most markets [the art market] rewards being able to reliably deliver recognizable product on a regular basis," he says. "Which isn’t necessarily a recipe for exciting art. I heard someone on the radio, it might even have been Richard Ashcroft, say: 'It’s not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster.' Which is why I’ve spent months making distorted fibreglass fairground sculptures to install in a dirty lido miles from anywhere."
Banksy also gives a funny reason for doing a theme park as opposed to an art show. "I asked myself: what do people like most about going to look at art? The coffee," he said. "So I made an art show that has a cafe, a cocktail bar, a restaurant and another bar. And some art."
If you're lucky enough to be in the area of Weston-super-Mare, buy tickets for "Dismaland" here. The show runs through Sept. 27.