November 17, 1929
Detroit, Michigan, United States
|Education||Michigan State University|
Jackie Ferrara (born November 17, 1929, in Detroit, Michigan) is an American sculptor and draughtswoman best known for her pyramidal stacked structures. Her work is in the collection of the MOMA, the LACMA, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, and the Phillips Collection, among others.
Ferrara studied at Michigan State University for 6 months in 1950, but had little formal arts education. She moved to New York in 1952 and became involved in the city's burgeoning art scene, as well as theatre and dance through a stint working for the Henry Street Playhouse. In the sixties she was involved with performances and happenings at the Judson Church, performing in two of Claes Oldenburg's happenings, which she was particularly influenced by. During this time she began sculpting, developing a unique style by the seventies. Characteristics of her work include wooden pyramid or ziggurat structures with accompanying horizontally stacked steps, "meticulous craftmanship, [...] reference to generic types of non-Western building, such as those of Mesoamerica and Egypt, and to geometric form." 
One of her earliest mature works was 1974's Hollow Core Pyramid. Other well-known works of the period include Curved Pyramid and Stacked Pyramid (both 1973). In the 1980s, Ferarra began working on a smaller scale, producing plywood works she called "wallyards" or "courtyards" that looked like models rather than finished sculptures. She ultimately added complexity to these works by combining multiple kinds of wood in a single work and experimenting with different stains. Another series of small works, which Ferrara referred to as "places," grew out of these works. Many look like small-scale models of temples.
Large scale public works Ferrara has created include Castle Clinton: Tower and Bridge (1979) and Meeting Place (1989), which featured a large 'lobby' with concrete and steel flooring, a raised platform with steps and concrete and steel seating. In 1988, she created the work Belvedere (which means "beautiful view") at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Other public art projects include the 250 seat "Amphitheater" (1999) at LACMA, 60 foot high "Stepped Tower" (2000) at University of Minnesota, 60 foot long red and black granite "Fountain" (2006) at University of Houston.
- Glaze, Delia (1997). Dictionary of Women Artists. London and Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers.
- Johnson, Cecile. "Ferrara, Jackie." In Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online, (accessed February 10, 2012; subscription required).
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- Henry, David J. (1991). "Art in Public". Art Education. 44 (1).