Meet Barb

Barb Lafferty Ferrari is an award winning painter, a recognized performance artist and revered private instructor. Recently MoMa added photo documentation of Barb’s NYC performance pieces to their archive collection. At age 27 Barb had her first N.Y.C. solo painting show in SoHo titled: Bathers: A Tribute to Suzanne Lacy. Barb’s paintings are in national as well as international collections which include: the Yale Lewis Law Firm collection Seattle, Washington, the Simon Laurent collection Tokyo, Japan, and the Peggy Rice collection Rice Gallery Kansas City, Kansas. Barb received an NEA grant to study printmaking in Miami, Florida, with Master printer Julio Juristo and her MFA degree from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville Illinois where she received numerous awards and taught.

My Story

After graduating as a Fine Arts Major from the University of Illinois in Champaign Urbana at age 22, I left my hometown of Waukegan, Illinois to help a German sailor drive his jeep to NYC. As I climbed into his vehicle, I remember my mother pacing back and forth in our front yard saying, “B.J. sometimes you make me very nervous!”. I arrived in NYC with two hundred dollars in my backpack and was quickly accepted into the street-art and street-wise performance community. Besides pasting my life-sized stencil figures to the sides of buildings in SoHo and Little Italy, I appeared in numerous performance pieces of my male counterparts, as a naked lady. Not realizing at the time that I was being a cliched version of the naive starry-eyed Midwestern ingenue seeking recognition in NYC. Figuring no one knew me, I didn’t mind appearing in seedy art clubs before drunken mobs…naked. These performance photos along with other more serious photos of my work are now in MoMa’s archive collection. Since my youthful appearances without clothes, I have sought to define through my visual art and performance work deeper experiences and expressions of femininity.