Dismaland, the new theme park-styled pop-up art show created by Banksy in south-west England, appears to be a success. Although his consummate media manipulation and inveterate irony are making the true picture just as unclear as you would expect.
On Friday, 21 August, 1,000-strong queues formed outside the derelict lido hosting the exhibition. But on 22 August the show's website announced it was unable to process online ticket sales, meaning people had to buy tickets in person. But questions are now being raised over whether any online sales were ever really planned.
The website apology read: "We would like to apologise to anyone attempting to buy tickets online today. Due to unprecedented demand 'the UK's most disappointing new visitor attraction' is currently unable to process online ticket sales."
It went on to say to those interested in visiting on 22 and 23 August, that tickets would only be available on the door and, once the 2,000 capacity was reached, entry would be on a "one in/one out basis". It also stated that online bookings would be taken again from Tuesday 25 August.
The former derelict lido at Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, is hosting works by 50 artists including Damien Hirst and Banksy.
The show is the graffiti artist's ironic take on Disneyland theme parks; it even has its own branded logo. Highlights include a fire-ravaged Disney-style castle and a demented mermaid sculpture – not to mention the staff, who have been ordered to wear Micky Mouse-like ears and to appear gloomy.
Members of the public used Twitter to vent their frustration over not being able to buy tickets. But questions are being asked about whether the website "problems" are all part of the art show, with one tweeter saying: "I guess the misery of queuing and a crashing website is part of the satire."
Banksy, famous for his graffiti art, has described Dismaland, as "an escape from mindless escapism". He added in a press release: "It's a theme park whose big theme is – theme parks should have bigger themes". Dismaland will be open for five weeks.