From McColl Center to Dismaland

British artist, activist, and provocateur Banksy has constructed a pop-up art exhibition called Dismaland in Weston-super-Mare, England. “A dystopian riff on Disneyland,” as Hyperallergic describes it, Dismaland activates an old, unused seaside swimming resort into an art installation that will be open to the public for five weeks.

“My first impression is that it’s incredible, unlike anything I’ve seen before,” says art and design blogger Christopher Jobson in the Hyperallergic article. “It’s looking at what the purpose of an art exhibition is (or a theme park for that matter) and completely reinventing it.”

Dismaland detail (Courtesy of Christopher Jobson for Colossal)

Dismaland features 10 new works by Bansky and artworks by 58 other artists from around the world. The impressive list of artists includes Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, Josh Keyes, Espo, Bäst, David Shrigley (to name a few), and 2011 Alumnus UNC Charlotte Artist-in-Residence Michael Beitz.

Michael Beitz, Picnic, 2013, wood (Courtesy of the artist)

Beitz’s 2013 sculpture “Picnic” is the focus of Dismaland’s Picnic Area, described as follows in the “bemusement” park’s site map:

The humble picnic table proves a rich source of artistic ammunition for American furniture twerker Michael Beitz.


#Dismaland #banksy pic by @scotthove

A photo posted by Dismaland Park (@dismaland_park) on


#dismaland #Banksy

A photo posted by Dismaland Park (@dismaland_park) on

Beitz brings a sense of play and subversion to his sculptures of everyday objects and their surrounding spaces. In his construction of warped and elongated tables, knotted sofas, and “Picnic” itself, he obstructs each item’s ability to serve as a site of social interaction, and thus transforms, or reinvents, familiar household items into explorations of intimacy and alienation.

It’s a practice that makes him an ideal participant for Dismaland.


Michael Beitz at work at McColl Center in 2011

During his art residency at McColl Center in 2011, Beitz led a multi-week workshop with art students at University of North Carolina Charlotte, where they learned to use traditional and new media to explore historical and contemporary approaches to making and placing art in public spaces.

Michael Beitz at work at McColl Center in 2011

See more images and videos of Michael Beitz’s fascinating sculptures, drawings, and more on his website.

Dismaland photo courtesy of Christopher Jobson at Colossal