Colorado Creatives

Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Rupert Jenkins

#32: Rupert Jenkins

Colorado Photographic Arts Center director Rupert Jenkins arrived in Denver from San Francisco in 2005 with an extensive resume in arts administration and curatorship, bringing an international flair to the respected Denver photography gallery and classroom. But Jenkins didn't simply settle in at CPAC: He envisions a bigger, better center that will help put Denver on the map while celebrating photography’s past, present and future. We asked Rupert Jenkins to answer the 100CC questionnaire; his answers follow.

Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?

Rupert Jenkins: Staying with my photography interests, John Szarkowski, who headed the photography department of NY MOMA 1962-1991, was a brilliant curator who both legitimized and revolutionized the medium during his tenure. He championed photographers like Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand and William Eggleston, and in so doing created tumult and debate that pushed the medium into the modern era. Here in Denver, a smidgeon of uncertainty remains when it comes to accepting photography’s place at the “real art” table – Szarkowski would sort that out in a second.

Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?

Edward Snowden, NSA whistleblower, for sacrificing his personal freedom to disclose how the U.S. government hacked and bullied its way into all our private lives post-9/11.

What's one art trend you want to see die this year?

Abusing the term “curator.” If I may quote from the Lake Superior State University 2015 banned word list: “Instead of abusing ‘curated,’ why don't they say what they really mean: ‘We did an online search and posted the first 25 items we found.’”

What's your day job?

Directing the Colorado Photographic Arts Center.

A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?

Open a world-class contemporary photography and media center, with an international visiting artist program and curators to match.

What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?

Reconfigure SCFD disbursements to nonprofit arts groups. Collectively, the smaller Tier III organizations serve the greatest number of people but receive a disproportionately tiny amount of available funds. Given their value to the vitality of the arts in our region, I’d like to see more financial support given to those groups working hardest in the cultural trenches. One disclaimer: CPAC is a Tier III non-profit, so I have a hungry dog in this fight!

Who is your favorite Colorado Creative? 

I’m going to give this to an organization – the Denver Film Society. Film is such a dynamic, informative, escapist, sensorially intoxicating medium, and the DFS serves it so well by having the most adventurous and expansive film program, in the best auditorium in town. Where would we film lovers be without them?

What's on your agenda in the coming year?

Short term, fulfilling CPAC’s Month of Photography agenda and curating a show about the marijuana industry in northern California and Colorado. Long term, securing a new facility in Denver for the organization.

Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in 2015?

Monique Crine. Her upcoming show of photo-realist paintings at MCA Denver promises to be her breakout show.

Role Play, a Month of Photography offering from CPAC curated by Rupert Jenkins and Conor King, opens with a reception from 6 to 10 p.m. March 14 at RedLine and runs through April 25. Jenkins also served as juror for the MoP group show it's all here in black and white (figuratively speaking), which opens at tbellphotographic studio|gallery March 20 with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. and runs through April 4. Jenkins will give a juror’s talk there at 7 p.m. April 3. Learn more about Rupert Jenkins and CPAC online