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15 Building the boat was a herculean endeavor. It took every inch of will and studio space available to complete it and for somebody who less than four years before had various flotation devices for children cast in iron and bronze with the titles Swimmies and This is Not a Life Saving Device for an exhibition he named Tomorrow The Birds Will Sing this was a definite departure in attitude. No longer was his priority to invest the work with the threat of adolescent death. This time Joe was playing the role of rescuer adamant that the boat that he was about to build was a viable seaworthy vessel. Consequently he spent an inordinate amount of time studying the blueprints of hull design and specifications on water displacement. As has often been the case with much of Joes work and like his comrade in arms the artist Chris Burden for the piece to have any credibility at all the conceptual had to dovetail with the engineering of the practical. This was not merely an aesthetic exercise this was a direct extension of his role as father husband and protector. For a man who had almost drowned twice there was also the practical question of survival. So what if it was exquisitely irrational Jamie still very much alive and as always blindly supportive of anything his lifelong brother was willing to tackle spent hours cashing in favors to find a flatbed truck and the right muscle to move what when completed could only be described as a rather rough skeletal version of the kind of craft that Shackleton skippered with his desperate crew across the frigid Antarctic seas to safety. Then Jamie was killed without warning in an attempted robbery and for Joe the skies immediately darkened to an impenetrable black the stars disappeared the water swelled in anger and the floating ark with the hull now destined to face the heavens was no longer a metaphor for security but instead a sinking coffin of false hopes and dashed dreams a potent symbol of the inevitability of heartbreaking loss. The big wooden boat returned to the studio unsold and sat partially dismantled in the corner. After an amount of time marked by the absence of any buyer Joe cut up the wood without apparent resentment or regret into pieces small enough to fit into his Franklin stove in the country where it was used to heat his cabin during a number of brutal winters that were to follow including the most recent. Watching the fire burn on a recent night it somehow seemed a more relevant ending to the narrative of this particular work than if it had been purchased by a stranger patron or institution. Instead its slow dismantlement transport and methodical stacking on the porch upstate created an extended and private memorial a Viking-style