ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
The case against Councillor Tom Carton is building today as the fallout from the latest French Quarter public art project has a community divided.
Councillor Carton, who is the youngest son of Betoota Lord Mayor, Cr Keith Carton AM SC, has been criticised heavily in local media this week for commissioning ‘one of the most visually offensive pieces of public art’ in recent memory.
The ‘Fountain of Youth’ sculpture on Rue de Lapin cost the community close to $500 ooo.
Those criticising the 27-year-old public servant have outlined that the artist behind the polarising artwork is a close friend of Tom’s – having both attended college together in Brisbane.
However, as pressure mounts on Councillor Carton, he’s begun to distance himself from the project.
“I didn’t have final say on the artwork,” he said.
“My relationship with Simon Beneau, the artist, was not as close as the media would suggest. We were acquaintances at university and those images of the both of us hazing fresher fucks together have been digitally manipulated. They are fake,”
“This morning at the town meeting, I will move a motion to have the sculpture pulled from the ground with Mr Jack Pearson’s D6. It will then be sold for scrap and the proceeds of that sale returned to the people of Central Betoota.”
Never the less, not every resident of the exclusive, cosmopolitan French Quarter district is pleased with the plan to demolish the eyesore.
Dame Wendolyn Cotfire, an ageing local heirless whose chequebook ultimately defines what is good art and bad art, said she’ll be sad to see the sculpture go.
Speaking exclusively to The Advocate, Dame Cotfire said she’s prepared to buy the artwork for her own private collection.
“A progressive and inclusive community such as the one we’ve fought hard to build here in South West Queensland shouldn’t destroy art, we aren’t savages, we should be praising it,” she said.
“I will start a campaign to save the artwork because I’m too old and too rich to bother myself with anything else.”
The Advocate reached out to the artist behind the artwork but have yet to receive a reply.
More to come.