A marble water sculpture “Tao” by renowned artist Fred Bendheim will be dedicated on Friday, September 23, at Beatitudes Campus in Phoenix at 4:30 pm. The sculpture, originally commissioned for Frank Lloyd Wright’s “The Pottery House” in Paradise Valley, Arizona, was designed and constructed from 1982-1983. It was donated to Beatitudes Campus by the artist.
The sculpture is made from Tennessee pink marble, water and colored concrete, and is over 5 feet high and 4 feet wide. “’Tao” is an homage to Arizona desert canyon lands and the artist’s family. It was rebuilt and relocated to Beatitudes Campus in 2013, and installed at the campus in 2016.
Funds from the Dan, Kathy and Samuel Mardian Memorial Fund at Beatitudes Campus were generously directed for the installation of the water sculpture.
“Being able to enjoy this beautiful sculpture at Beatitudes Campus is a privilege, and we are honored that Fred Bendheim donated such an important piece,” says Michelle Just, president and CEO at Beatitudes Campus.” The sculpture combines many elements of nature and will be admired for years to come by campus residents and visitors alike. Its location on Central Park Mall in the heart of the campus makes it accessible to all who live here, work here and visit here.”
The sculpture will join two other art pieces installed on the Central Park Mall. A bronze sculpture, “Ruth Reclining,” by John Henry Waddell, located on the west side of the mall by the bus stop, was donated by long-time Phoenix resident, Mrs. Ronnie Bendheim. The Peace Pole, located on the east side of the mall, was commissioned by Beatitudes Campus for the 50th anniversary, and made possible through generous donations of friends of the campus.
The water sculpture has an interesting provenance. It was originally commissioned by Charles Schiffner, a Frank Lloyd Wright trained architect and former son-in-law of Wright, for “The Pottery House,” which was built in Paradise Valley. The Pottery House was a Frank Lloyd Wright designed home – the only adobe structure that Wright designed. The sculpture was installed in 1982 at the Pottery House, and it was later rebuilt and relocated in 1991 after The Pottery House was demolished. In 2013, the sculpture was donated to Beatitudes Campus and installed in 2016.
“I donated ‘Tao’ to Beatitudes Campus because I knew it would be enjoyed by more people as a public art sculpture than if it were placed in a private setting,” says Fred Bendheim, sculptor. “The inspiration for ‘Tao’ was the Arizona canyon lands, Taoist philosophy and my family. The sculpture has had an interesting and difficult journey to its present and, hopefully, permanent manifestation. It took me nine months to carve. It has survived two acts of destruction, three locations, neglect and mishandling; but, like the human spirit, it has found a way to prevail.”
Arizona-born Bendheim has lived and worked in Brooklyn, New York, since 1983. As a teenager, he apprenticed with the pioneer surrealist painter, Philip Curtis. He has had numerous one-person shows and his works are in museum collections worldwide. His commissions include sculptures for Frank Lloyd Wright buildings and paintings for some of the finest hotels in the world. Although he has traveled throughout the world, he says that working in his studio in Brooklyn has been his greatest adventure. He teaches art in New York City at The Art Students League and the College of Mt. Saint Vincent.
“Tao” is the first of two water sculptures that Bendheim was commissioned to make in Arizona for Frank Lloyd Wright building.
About Beatitudes Campus:
Founded in 1964, Beatitudes Campus is a faith-based not-for-profit life plan community offering a wide spectrum of services for older people including independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, memory support and home care services. Beatitudes Campus is a center of excellence and a leader in the field of aging services. The campus offers a model of wellness that promotes soundness of mind, spirit and body.