Windshield (2011) by Dennis McNulty. Nightingale-Brown House, Providence, Rhode Island.

A public sculpture by Dennis McNulty

In the gardens of the Nightingale-Brown House

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage

Brown University

357 Benefit Street, Providence, Rhode Island

Curated by Ian Alden Russell, Fellow in Public Art and Cultural Heritage, Brown University



Windshield House, Fisher's Island, New York by Richard Neutra (1936-1938). Courtesy of Brown University Archives.

Windshield (2011) is an evocation of one of John Nicholas Brown’s earliest and most important modernist commissions, Windshield House, a summer home for the Brown family on Fishers Island, New York. Designed by the Los Angeles-based and seminal modernist architect Richard Neutra from 1936 to 1938, Windshield House was the first house built by the architect on the East Coast of the United States. Twice destroyed – first by the hurricane of 1938 and second by fire – the house exists now only as archive, memory and an affective absence.

In Windshield (2011), McNulty has inserted an excerpt from the architectural form of Windshield House into the gardens of the Nightingale-Brown House, John Nicholas Brown’s family home. Almost as if finally landing from the winds of the hurricane of 1938, the work embeds the formal language of Windshield House as an intervention into the atmosphere of historic preservation of the 18th century house, 19th century gardens and 20th century adaptive reuse that constitute the Nightingale-Brown House.

The mise-en-scène of Windshield (2011) is that of a film set, with its method of construction and support clearly visible from behind. The form is based on a fragment of the iconic ribbon windows from which Windshield House takes its name. In McNulty’s version, the glass has been replaced by mirrored surfaces. A surreal intervention into the gardens of the Nightingale-Brown house, its presence shifts the atmosphere of the historically preserved space into the register of the cinematic. As the viewer moves through the garden, passing between the two architectural façades, the reflection of the Nightingale-Brown House in Windshield (2011) shifts and distorts. The viewer is temporarily invited to take on the role of a cinematic actor implicated not only in the constitution of the artwork but also in the discourses and tensions within aesthetics of modernism, historic preservation and the landscaped environment.

Windshield (2011) was completed in parallel with Space replaced by volume an exhibition of new works by McNulty responding to the modernist architectural heritage of Brown University at the Granoff Center for Creative Arts and the Sciences Library at Brown University.



Dennis McNulty is an artist whose practice is concerned with memory, potential and flow. He begins with research, producing works in various media which overlap to suggest possible narratives. McNulty’s extensive exhibition record includes representing Ireland at the São Paulo Bienal and participating in solo and group exhibitions in Ireland, Northern Ireland, France, Canada, Japan, Brazil, Colombia, and the United States. His project Another Construction will be presented at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in May 2011. Recent exhibitions include The Driver and the Passenger, Green On Red, Dublin, Ireland (solo); Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven, Bureau for Open Culture, Columbus, Ohio & Bennington, Vermont; and Harboring Tone and Place, CCS Galleries, Bard College.

McNulty is represented by the Green On Red Gallery, Dublin, Ireland.

More information on Dennis McNulty’s work can be found at:

More information on Ian Alden Russell’s work can be found at:

This project is part of the Imagine Ireland, Culture Ireland’s Year of Irish Arts in America 2011, and is made possible through funding from Brown University’s Creative Arts Council, John Nicholas Brown Center for Publich Humanities and Cultural Heritage and Culture Ireland.

Special thanks to Dion Neutra, Simon Elliot, Dietrich Neumann, Rob Emlen, Steve Lubar, Ron Potvin, George Pare, Karen Bouchard, Scotty Zane Carroll and Kristin Kwasniewski.