Banksy's New Dystopian Amusement Park-Themed Exhibition Opens this Weekend
The Tropicana, an outdoor pool in the small British resort town of Weston-super-Mare, has been empty since it closed 15 years ago. But before then, the kid who grew up to be the internationally-famous graffiti artist known as Banksy used to spend time at the facility. This past January, Banksy went back to Weston-super-Mare and, after a visit to the abandoned Tropicana, decided to give the rundown vacation destination new purpose: The soon-to-be-opened Dismaland.
The facility has been transformed into a dystopian amusement park that serves as an interactive exhibition space for Banksy and more than 50 other artists, including Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, and Jimmy Cauty. Past the fake airport security are grim spins on county fair classics, centered around a dilapidated interpretation of Disneyland's Cinderella castle.
The park is "a festival of art, amusements, and entry level anarchism," Banksy writes in a statement shared with the press. "[A] family theme park unsuitable for children."
In order to keep construction under wraps, local officials were told that a production company had chosen the site as the filming location for the crime thriller Grey Fox (a totally fake movie boasting a very real IMDB page). Some people suspected the artist's involvement, but town officials told the BBC that even on the North Somerset Council, only four people knew what was really happening behind the Tropicana facade.
Admission to the grim theme park—open from August 22 through September 27—will set you back just £3. But if you're interested in going, be prepared to participate: Banksy wrote that "A dead princess is only complete when surrounded by gawping crowds with their cameras out or the opportunity to photograph yourself pulling an amazed expression when a killer whale leaps from a toilet."