The pop-up show opened on 1 October on Church Street in Croydon, just a few miles south of London. If Dismaland was Banksy’s caricature of an amusement park, Gross Domestic Product is Banksy’s caricature of consumer society and shopping hysteria.
The reason for opening the store is not only artistic: There is a trademark dispute between Banksy and a greeting-cards company using the Banksy brand while selling products with Banksy motives. According to DACS (the not-for-profit visual artists’ rights management organisation in the UK) chairman and media lawyer Mark Stephens: “… the law clearly states that if the trademark holder is not using the mark, then it should be handed to someone who will.” The apparent solution: Create a merchandise range and open a shop.
In Banksy’s own words: “Everything in the store “has been created specifically to fulfill a particular trademark category under EU law”, Banksy says. “I had the legal sheet pinned up in the studio like a muse.” He adds: “John Lennon said: ‘I’m an artist, give me a tuba and I’ll get something out of it.’ I feel the same way about a trademark dispute.”
The goods on display will be sold on the website www.grossdomesticproduct.com