FOCUS ON THE FACULTY
PLAYS AND FILMS (INCLUDING HIS OWN) DRIVE ART HISTORY PROFESSOR
By Grace LeSueur
When Frank Cossa began his artistic career, he envisioned himself as a playwright. He soon discovered that art history better fit him, so he pursued a teaching career. Since then, Cossa has found a way to be successful in all of his areas of interest, having won awards as a playwright and filmmaker and as a published short story writer and poet.
Cossa's research has focused on art historical
topics, such as filmmakers. He also analyzes the depiction of
artists on film. He has written essays on Stanley Kubrick, who
is recognized for such films as "A Clockwork Orange," "Full Metal Jacket,"
and "The Shining." Kubrick was known for the many genres he tackled
and for his sometimes controversial films. He has also studied Peter
Weir, who is a screenwriter, director, producer, and sometimes actor.
Weir has been involved in "The Truman Show," "Master and Commander,"
and "Dead Poet's Society."
Michael Haga, School of the Arts Program Coordinator and Art History professor, says, "Dr. Cossa has presented numerous papers and lectures during his academic career at venues and for groups, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Southeast American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, and the Southeastern College Art Conference. He has also studied the prints of Piranesi and themes in French cinema.
"The college has been very good at allowing me a very wide range, in accepting not only scholarly historical research, but creative work as well," Cossa says.
Cossa plans to research the portrayal of female artists on film. He is interested in the depiction of Frida Kahlo, Pan Yulian, Camille Claudel, and Artimesia. He is particularly interested in the problems female artists have encountered during their careers.
Cossa began playwrighting in high school and his
plays have run in regional theaters throughout the
Cossa has mostly recently written fictional short stories, but began by publishing novels. His short story, "Cloud Shadows," was a finalist for the Short Story Awards for Writers and was published in an Irish anthology in 2000. He has since written four or five more short stories.
For the 25th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam
War, Cossa wrote an essay about photojournalism of the war and its
influence on public opinion. This essay was originally published
at College of Charleston and later made its way to the Internet.
He was interviewed last spring on National Public Radio about the
Iraqi prison photographs and how they differed from
As an undergraduate, Cossa majored in theater at Syracuse University and City University of New York. He earned two graduate degrees at Rutgers University. In Cossa's free time he plays tennis, watches sports, and keeps up with films. He frequents museums, theaters, and galleries and usually spends his summer in New York or Europe. This summer he will be teaching a Maymester course in London and hopes to study Italian Fascism on film at the American Academy in Rome.