October 2014

Special Exhibit Curated by Santa Clara Art History Students

Interrupting Entropy: Selections from the Betlach Collection

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Oct. 13, 2014-  Fourteen Santa Clara University art history students have teamed up with San Diego pharmaceutical scientist and art philanthropist Charles Betlach to create a student-curated exhibit exploring the concept of entropy – the natural process of degradation or a trend to disorder that occurs all around us.

The result is an art exhibit titled “Interrupting Entropy: Selections from the Betlach Collection,” which will be on view from Sept. 20, 2014 - March 1, 2015 in the 3rd floor gallery of Santa Clara’s Harrington Learning Commons.


The work stems from an unusual spring Art History class that was designed to give students the experience of curating a contemporary art exhibit, from start to finish.

Drawing from a collection of artworks on loan from Betlach, the students envisioned and organized an exhibition of contemporary art to open this Fall.

As part of the 10-week class, the students participated in virtually every aspect of planning the exhibition, including researching artists and artworks, drafting a curatorial proposal, generating educational materials, writing a grant proposal, and producing an exhibition catalog.

The work for the students also included meeting with professionals in the field; ensuring the artwork would be safely transported and displayed in the public space; and making countless quick decisions as they reviewed the collection, selected works, and compiled them into a coherent theme – in this case “Interrupting Entropy.”

“This class on curating contemporary art immersed the students in the process of creating an exhibition from beginning to end,” said Tobias Wofford, the professor who organized  the class. “They got a behind-the-scenes look at the complexities of putting on an exhibition, which will help the students in their future endeavors in the arts, or wherever they may go.”

The class Curating Contemporary Art is an Art History, was made possible by the generosity of Betlach and a grant from the Hearst Foundations' Community Initiatives in the Visual Arts, a program designed to help Santa Clara University’s Department of Art and Art History build deeper relationships between students, faculty, and the broader Silicon Valley arts community.

Betlach, who is on the board of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and an avid art collector, was motivated to give access to his collection to young, aspiring curators, and to share with the larger community.

"Art has been in my blood for as long as I can remember,” said Betlach. “ Art relays a visual ecstasy, calming and pleasure.  Art can mean something different to every individual.”

The exhibit will be on display at the 3rd Floor Gallery of the Santa Clara University library and will be open to the public starting Oct. 8, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., as well as selected Saturdays.

 “We feel the artwork we’ve selected, which includes sculptures, paintings, photographs and more, shows how there’s chaos in everything, but upon examination, patterns emerge from within that chaos,” said Santa Clara University senior Gina Pasquali.

Other events scheduled in association with the exhibition  include a scholarly panel that will discuss the themes that are brought up with this exhibition as well as a student panel which will explore the curatorial project from the students’ perspective.

Media Contact
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | dlohse@scu.edu | 408-554-5121