Three Bronze Discs

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Three Bronze Discs
Artist James Wines
Year 1967
Type Bronze Sculpture
Dimensions 300 cm× 240 cm(120 in× 96 in);150 cm diameter (60 in)
Location Milwaukee
Coordinates 43°04′38″N87°52′49″W / 43.077169°N 87.880285°W / 43.077169; -87.880285
Owner University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Three Bronze Discs is a piece of public artwork by American artist James Wines located in the courtyard of the Golda Meir Library, near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. Made of bronze, the sculpture is three circular bronze discs located in a pool of water. It is 10 feet by 8 feet and 5 feet in diameter.

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

James Wines American artist and architect

James Wines is an American artist and architect associated with environmental design. Wines is founder and president of SITE, a New York City -based architecture and environmental arts organization chartered in 1970. This multi-disciplinary practice focuses on the design of buildings, public spaces, environmental art works, landscape designs, master plans, interiors and product design. The main focus of his design work is on green issues and the integration of buildings with their surrounding contexts.

Milwaukee Largest city in Wisconsin

Milwaukee is the largest city in the state of Wisconsin and the fifth-largest city in the Midwestern United States. The seat of the eponymous county, it is on Lake Michigan's western shore. Ranked by its estimated 2014 population, Milwaukee was the 31st largest city in the United States. The city's estimated population in 2017 was 595,351. Milwaukee is the main cultural and economic center of the Milwaukee metropolitan area which had a population of 2,043,904 in the 2014 census estimate. It is the second-most densely populated metropolitan area in the Midwest, surpassed only by Chicago. Milwaukee is considered a Gamma global city as categorized by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network with a regional GDP of over $105 billion.


Historical information

Three Bronze Discs was created for the then new Golda Meir Library at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. It is set in a sunken brick courtyard outside the library. The building's architectural plan called for a sculpture, planter, and benches in the courtyard. Wines designed and molded Three Bronze Discs in plaster and the work was cast in bronze in Rome. According to Diane Buck, author of Outdoor Sculpture in Milwaukee, "The elements of the sculpture and its site represent one of the few local successful collaborations between artist and architect." [1]

University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

The University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee is a public urban research university located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. It is the largest university in the Milwaukee metropolitan area and a member of the University of Wisconsin System. It is also one of the two doctoral degree-granting public universities and the second largest university in Wisconsin.

According to Kenneth Bendiner, chair of the art history department at UW-Milwaukee, "The sculpture mixes and matches suggestions of the organic and the mechanical, the human and the human-made. It is a work not likely to incite the animosity of coming generations. One of the reasons for the rise of 'abstract' monuments in the 1960s is their ability to avoid controversial social issues. At a time of racial strife, civil unrest, anti-war protest, etc., committees can avoid the problems of representing specific people or specific events or specific statements by erecting monuments with indefinite reference." [2]

Location history

When the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee was formed in 1956 from the Wisconsin State College-Milwaukee and the Extension Division downtown, there were only two academic units: the College of Letters and Science and the School of Education. The Kenwood Library (now Mellencamp Hall) continued to serve the school for a time, but as the growth of the university accelerated, it became apparent the Kenwood Library would be too small for the anticipated number of holdings. Construction began in 1967 on the first stage of a modular library building planned to provide for future growth. After additions in 1974 and 1987, the original size of the library doubled. [1]


A native of Chicago, James Wines grew up admiring the architecture of Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. After receiving his fine arts degree from the University of Syracuse in 1956, Wines began competing for commissions which blended architecture and sculpture. Three Bronze Discs is one of his earliest commissions. He referred to the work as circular "geometric units designed in answer to the building's sharp angular feeling." The work is most effective as seen from different perspectives outside and inside the library, especially from the large window-encased stairwell overlooking the courtyard. [1]

Chicago City in Illinois, United States

Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois and the third most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,716,450 (2017), it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States. Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States, and the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, which is often referred to as "Chicagoland." The Chicago metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States, the fourth largest in North America, and the third largest metropolitan area in the world by land area.

Louis Sullivan American architect

Louis Henry Sullivan was an American architect, and has been called the "father of skyscrapers" and "father of modernism". He is considered by many as the creator of the modern skyscraper, was an influential architect and critic of the Chicago School, was a mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright, and an inspiration to the Chicago group of architects who have come to be known as the Prairie School. Along with Wright and Henry Hobson Richardson, Sullivan is one of "the recognized trinity of American architecture". The phrase "Form follows function" is attributed to him, although he credited the origin of the concept to an ancient Roman architect. In 1944, Sullivan was the second architect to posthumously receive the AIA Gold Medal.

Frank Lloyd Wright American architect

Frank Lloyd Wright was an American architect, interior designer, writer, and educator, who designed more than 1,000 structures, 532 of which were completed. Wright believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture. This philosophy was best exemplified by Fallingwater (1935), which has been called "the best all-time work of American architecture". His creative period spanned more than 70 years.

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Searchtool.svg James Wines - Three Bronze Discs
  1. 1 2 3 Buck, Diane M.,Palmer, Virginia A. (1995). Outdoor Sculpture in Milwaukee: A Cultural and Historical Guidebook, p. 137. Wisconsin Historical Society.
  2. UWM Department of Art History. "From the Chair", Spring 2008. Retrieved on 2010-12-17.