As a little boy growing up in New York in the early 1960s I was fascinated by the little windows cut into the rough plywood walls of construction barricades. The cranes were nesting all over the city in those days, and it seemed like every other corner sported a cavernous excavation or a skeletal frame of steel beams rising tentatively into the sky. On daily walks with our old black lab I’d pester my parents to pick me up high enough to peer through the hole. I might just have been going through a particularly intense Mike Mulligan and MaryAnn moment, but in retrospect I suspect that it wasn’t what I could actually see that had me so enthralled, it was the fact that they’d framed the view.
We’re in the business of helping people connect with places and ideas, providing them with information and the tools and encouragement to use it. We tend to get deeply engaged with the subject matter of our projects, and we’re eager to share what we’ve learned. But in an age of information overload a little editorial discretion can go a long way. As the abstract painter Willem de Kooning is said to have remarked, “Making the marks is easy. It’s what you erase that really matters.”