ABINGTON, Pa. — The problematic and contradictory relationship between the art of Italian painter, sculptor and muralist Corrado Cagli and the fascist government that supported him will be explored in a presentation at Penn State Abington by Penn State Laureate John Champagne.
“Art and Politics: The Case of Corrado Cagli” will be presented at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, in 112 Woodland Building. It is free and open to the public.
Champagne, professor of English and chair of the Global Languages and Cultures program at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, uses Cagli’s career as a starting point for engaging his audience in a discussion of art and the contemporary resurgence of fascism at home and abroad.
“Do artists have a responsibility to politics?” he asks. “What is our obligation to art of the past, and what does history suggest to us about the role art plays in world politics today?”
An annual honor established in 2008, the Penn State Laureate is a faculty member who travels the Commonwealth to bring greater visibility to the arts, humanities and the University, as well as to his or her own work. Champagne’s laureate presentation is an expansion of his research for his sixth book, an examination of artistic culture in the Italian fascist years of 1922 to 1945 and the relationship of artistic works to the fascist regime.
Born in Milwaukee, Champagne wrote his first novel, “The Blue Lady’s Hands” (Lyle Stuart, 1988), while an undergraduate at Hunter College in New York City. His second novel is “When the Parrot Boy Sings” (Meadowlands, 1990).
After completing a master’s degree in film studies at New York University in 1988, Champagne earned his doctoral degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh in 1993. That same year, he began working at Penn State Behrend, where he teaches courses in literature, film, philosophy, composition, and Italian culture. He also has taught ethnic American literature and media theory at the University of La Manouba in Tunisia as a Fulbright Scholar.
Champagne is the author of three nonfiction books — “The Ethics of Marginality, A New Approach to Gay Studies” (University of Minnesota Press, 1995), “Aesthetic Modernism and Masculinity in Fascist Italy” (Routledge, 2013), and “Italian Masculinity as Queer Melodrama” (Palgrave, 2015).
About Penn State Abington
Penn State Abington provides an affordable, accessible, and high-impact education resulting in the success of a diverse student body. It is committed to student success through innovative approaches to 21st century public higher education within a world-class research university. With nearly 4,000 students, Penn State Abington is a residential campus that offers baccalaureate degrees in 19 majors, undergraduate research, the Schreyer honors program, NCAA Division III athletics, and more.