PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portlandia statue might be considered by many as Portland’s preeminent piece of art. But there’s another image from decades ago that is just as famous.
It’s called “Expose Yourself to Art” and the man in the poster eventually became Mayor. J.E. “Bud” Clark says people still come up to him and say they remember that poster.
“Oh yeah, all the time. That’s probably the first thing they remember,” says Clark.
Clark is 84 now and still owns the Goose Hollow Inn in Southwest Portland. That tavern served as headquarters for one of the biggest political upsets in Portland history — when Clark defeated incumbent Mayor Frank Ivancie in 1984.
Clark served two terms until 1992. His crowning achievement is the Oregon Convention Center, built during a recession.
“It gave people confidence (that) the city had a future and there was prosperity ahead.”
Clark also established the city’s first 12-point homeless plan. Today, a homeless shelter in Northwest Portland is named for him. It frustrates him that the homeless problem persists.
“The rich are getting richer, and there has to be a more equitable distribution of wealth,” Clark says.
That populist leaning is why Clark was known as The People’s Mayor. Every year he threw a big party called The Mayor’s Ball, and it seemed everybody was in attendance. But, it’s still this poster that most people remember. It made Clark’s backside and trench coat famous in 1978, years before he entered politics.
“And before I ran for Mayor, it sold a quarter of a million copies, 250,000 copies, and it’s still being sold,” Clark says.
The “Expose Yourself to Art” poster has been reproduced and imitated thousands of times over the years. The photographer who shot it, Mike Ryerson, passed away last year.
The statue still stands in front of Macy’s, downtown on NW 6th Avenue.