Courses & Instructors

The Articulate Gesture

Paris: Art Without Limits

ART 4814-402
(undergraduate, 3 art studio credits)
ART 6811-402
ate level, 3-4 art studio credits)
Instructor:  Ezra Johnson

With Paris looming in the background as an invitation to look at your artwork freshly, this course is contextualized by the developments of the early 20th century and the rise of Modern Art.  Paris between 1890 and 1930 hosted a paradigm shift as big as the Renaissance.  It was the world’s focal point for creative innovation in painting, photography, dance, ceramics, printmaking, architecture and sculpture.  This course will help you to expand your artistic vision through a guided structure that utilizes the city and its art resources as inspiration toward the creation of both individual and collaborative art projects.  Our thoughts, visions and class discussions will be fueled by visits to a diverse range of museums including the Louvre, Picasso Museum, Cluny Museum (middle ages), and contemporary art spaces such as the Palais de Tokyo, as well as to art galleries and sites of cultural interest.  There is no emphasis on particular techniques; your studios will be a sketchbook, camera (photo and video), blog/journal, and performative work, all of which can have the vital function of recording your daily activities and generating your responses to the city as well as documenting your creative visions and imagining future artworks inspired by your Paris experience.  Assignments will be supported by readings of relevant articles, essays or travel memoirs, including Hemmingway's "A Moveable Feast".   Prerequisite: Concepts and Practices or equivalent foundation art course.

Ezra Johnson is an assistant professor of painting and drawing at USF. His teaching philosophy encourages students to find a direct approach to creativity through balancing their own personal life experience with a knowledge of historical context. Johnson has exhibited his work in the US and Europe in prestigious galleries and museums such as ICA in Philadelphia, Freight & Volume in New York, The Hammer Museum in LA and New Gallery in Paris. 

Museums, Modernism and the Art of Paris

ARH 4890-402 (3 credits)
ARH 6891-402 (4 credits, graduate level)
Instructor:  Karen Fraser

This course uses the rich cultural resources of Paris to explore two interconnected phenomena central to the history of Western art: the advent of modernism and the concurrent emergence of public museums. As the art capital of Europe for more than two centuries, Paris gave rise to a succession of innovative artistic movements including Realism, Impressionism, and Cubism. This same period also witnessed the emergence of the public museum, a cultural institution intricately connected to both artistic modernism and to the politics of modern France. This class will consider various issues linked to this intertwined history, including the relationship between art, museums, and national identity; the role of gender and non-western influences in specific modern art movements and in museum collecting and display; and artistic responses to the modern urban spaces of Paris as well as to the artistic bureaucracy of modern France. Classes will include excursions to a range of museums and collections combined with discussion and debate of assigned readings and our museum and viewing experiences. Student projects will focus on the development of critical perspectives on both modernism and the role of museums and will include keeping an analytical journal of encounters with the art and culture of the city.   Prerequisite: History of Visual Arts or equivalent.

Karen M. Fraser is a faculty member in the Department of Art + Architecture at the University of San Francisco. Her current teaching and research interests focus primarily on issues of global modernism. She holds a Ph.D. in art history from Stanford University, and an MA in art history from the University of South Florida. 

Sites of Invention: Monumental Paris

The Paris Experience:
Discovery and Inquiry
in the City  

ARH 2000-401
3 art history credits
Instructor: Lisa Piazza
(If the student has already taken ARH 2000 and cannot repeat it, may also been enrolled as ARH 4930-401 - "Art History Survey")

This course will explore the rich history and culture of France through the lens of Paris, one of the world’s most enduring and complex cities. Our explorations of Paris will involve a consideration of the city and its environs including its public monuments,architecture and neighborhoods made famous by writers and artists. Through the investigation of notable Parisian sites such as the Louvre museum, the Georges Pompidou Center, and the Musée d’Orsay students will discover the complex historical, political and cultural influences that have shaped this vibrant city.  Students in this course will embark on an exciting journey of discovery, and will develop and practice critical skills including observation, reflection, creative and critical thinking, which are crucial to academic and professional success, and personal growth. Investigations of the city will culminate in the completion of a mini research project inspired by the student’s newly acquired knowledge of the city and its culture, and her/his personal response to it.  This course is part of the University of South Florida's General Education Core curriculum in Humanities and also satisfies the Gordon Rule requirement.  This course is open to non-majors and has no prerequisites.  

Lisa Piazza is assistant director of the USF Office for Undergraduate Research (OUR), and directs the OUR Research in Arts Scholarship program. She holds an MA in art history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is a doctoral candidate in the USF College of Education. 

Voyages in the Ile de France

ART 4905-401 (1 credit)
Instructor: Lou Marcus

The region surrounding Paris known as the “Ile de France” is culturally one of the richest areas of the country with numerous sites of interest and importance with respect to the art and history of France.    This course will consist of day trips by either chartered bus or train and scheduled mostly on Fridays, to sites in this region and slightly beyond including Chartres cathedral, the Chateaus of Vaux-le-Vicomte and La Roche-Guyon and Monet’s Garden’s at Giverny.   Grading is on an S/U basis only.  
Note:  This course is required for all undergraduates enrolled in the Paris program.   Students may not enroll in this course alone but must also enroll in one of the Paris art or art history courses above.   (Graduate students will not be enrolled in it but will be expected to participate in these excursions.)   The one credit earned by this course, in combination with the Venice excursion, will fulfill the extended studies requirement for School of Art and Art History majors.  

Optional Excursion to Venice
June 30 - July 6, 2017

ART 4940-401 (undergraduate)
ART 6940-401 or ARH 6055-401 (graduate)
1-2 credits
Instructor:  Lou Marcus

The Biennale di Venezia is the world's oldest and most prestigious exhibition of contemporary art and a showcase for artists selected from nations around the world.  Students who choose to participate in the Venice trip will experience some of the most challenging and innovative art currently being produced while also exploring the streets and architecture of this fascinating and unusual city.  In addition to the venues of the Biennale, students will also visit the Academia Museum, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and Palazzo Grassi contemporary art collection. (Grading is on an S/U basis only.)

Lou Marcus is the program director and will serve as on-site coordinator in both Paris and Venice and as instructor for "Art and Culture of the Ile de France" and the Venice excursion.   He is a Professor Emeritus at USF, having taught courses on photography and the history of photography and visual culture for many years.  He initiated the Paris program and has directed it since 1987. His work has been exhibited widely and is in numerous public and private collections including that of the Bibliothèque Nationale. He has led numerous groups of students to Paris, has completed four artist-in-residencies at Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris and is a part-time resident of the city.

Mary Ann Becker is the on-site program assistant. She earned her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Colorado. She is an active artist whose work has been exhibited regionally and nationally.  She has provided assistance to the program since its inception, sharing with students her strong knowledge of the city, its culture and history.


Other USF Credit Options:

Students have the option of earning additional credits by combining this program with other study options in Paris following its conclusion at the end of June, including French language study toward the fulfillment of the language requirement or with other study-abroad opportunities offered by USF including a semester or year-long exchange program in Paris or other locations in France. Contact the program director or the Education Abroad Office for further information.


Application Process:

Students must be approved into the courses through the application process and are encouraged to apply early in order to secure a place in the program. Click here for application information. A limited number of spaces are available in these courses and students may enroll in one Paris course only. Those seeking more than four credits are encouraged to enroll in the optional excursion to Venice or to combine this program with other USF study abroad options.