New Exhibition Invites Visitors to Remember When
(TYLER, TX) May 3, 2011 – Heroes and villains from the silver screen collide with some of history’s most colorful characters in Remember When: Marvels and Memories from the Collection of Dr. James Clark. The exhibition will be on view at the Tyler Museum of Art from May 8 – August 14, 2011 and is the sixth exhibition in the “Tyler Collects” series, organized by the Museum to showcase private collections belonging to residents of Tyler. The exhibition comprises over 300 objects ranging from vintage movie posters to historic memorabilia collected by Dr. Clark, who is a reconstructive plastic surgeon in Tyler. This exhibition was organized by the Tyler Museum of Art, and admission is free.
“Most of the items included in this colossal exhibition are extremely rare examples,” said Ken Tomio, Curator of the Tyler Museum of Art. “Dr. Clark has spent decades searching for each piece, working with other collectors and through special auctions to refine his collection. Remember When is a unique and impressive presentation of materials which the public would normally not be able to enjoy at one time.”
Dr. Clark says that his fascination with movie posters stems from his high school job, when he worked for Interstate Theatres in Paris, Texas. His primary duties included changing out the movie posters and the theatre’s marquee. Over his thirty years of collecting, Dr. Clark has expanded his focus to include various items from the 1940s and 50s that recall prominent moments in American history as well as personal childhood memories. Visitors to the exhibition will see a collection of rings that children could redeem by sending in cereal box tops, watches bearing favorite characters like Gene Autry and Dick Tracy, and baseball cards featuring some of the game’s greatest players including Babe Ruth, Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle.
Forming the core of the exhibition is Dr. Clark’s expansive collection of vintage movie posters. Upon these posters, heroes and icons ranging from Superman to James Dean are immortalized by the roles that made them all stars of the silver screen. Visitors will remember favorite characters including James Bond, Batman, King Kong, and the Lone Ranger, beloved movie stars like Roy Rogers and Humphrey Bogart, and popular musicians such as Elvis Presley and The Beatles.
In addition to movie memorabilia, Dr. Clark collects many different types of war objects. This is due in large part to the Clark family tradition of military service. Dr. Clark’s grandfather served in World War I, his father in World War II, and Dr. Clark himself served as a physician in the Army Medical Corps from 1966 to 1969. As part of his service, Dr. Clark was stationed at the U.S. Army Hospital in Berlin from 1967 to 1969, and he was one of the physicians charged with the medical care of one of the world’s most notorious war criminals and the last remaining inmate of Spandau Prison, the former "Deputy to the Führer," Rudolph Hess. This experience, as well as his tenure at the Letterman Army Hospital at the Presidio of San Francisco, is described by Dr. Clark as both “unique and difficult,” and certainly intensified his interest in military history.
Dr. Clark’s military experience impacted his vision as both a collector and a physician, and his collection includes a wide variety of historical memorabilia, weapons, signatures, and more. One particular section of the collection is made up of different objects that relate to the Battle of Iwo Jima, a World War II battle that became an icon of U.S. military history due in large part to a photograph titled Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima taken by Joe Rosenthal on February 23, 1945. Among other items, the exhibition includes a postcard signed by all three surviving flag raisers at Iwo Jima: John Bradley, Rene Gagon, and Ira H. Hayes.
Another significant component of Dr. Clark’s collection is an assortment of items taken from the pages of Texas history. Important state leaders, military heroes, and legendary characters are represented through signatures, photographs and official documents. By looking at the individual items, the viewer is reminded of complete stories from history. For example, one of the documents shown is a $500 mortgage bond signed by the Mexican General Santa Anna, whose forces killed hundreds of Texans during the Battle of the Alamo and again at the Goliad Massacre. Viewers can also see a note signed by Texas General Sam Houston, whose forces eventually defeated Santa Anna and are remembered for the now famous battle cry, “Remember Goliad! Remember the Alamo!”
Dr. Clark’s collection of “marvels and memories” offers viewers a nostalgic retrospect on American culture and history. By assembling such diverse pieces, he has created a snapshot of an era, one that so many of us remember with great affection. Simpler times they may have been, but a thorough exploration of the exhibition reveals the strong character of our nation during a time when so much was on the brink of change. This exhibition offers people of all ages the opportunity to take a moment to reflect on the past, to revisit old memories and to tell stories.
Exhibition support has been generously provided by Lead Sponsor, Harold and Rosemary Beaird. Supporting Sponsors are Grant, Catharine, Clark and Sara Faulconer; Joe and Betty McMahan; Cecil and Bernie Ward, and Sherilyn and Patrick Willis. Sponsors are Citizens 1st Bank; James and Donna Culver; Susan and Ron Donaldson; Betsy and Elmer Ellis; Verna and George Hall; Tom and June Lowery; Gail and Harry Wallace, and Sam and Carrie Wolf. Collectors’ Circle Sponsors are Byars Foundation and Sheryl Rogers Palmer. Corporate Member Sponsor is Southside Bank. Media Sponsor is Tyler Morning Telegraph.
The Tyler Museum of Art, accredited by the American Association of Museums, is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave., adjacent to the Tyler Junior College campus off East Fifth Street. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. (The Museum is closed on Monday.)
Top: The Bride of Frankenstein (detail), 1935. Acrylic on canvas, 10 x 26 inches. Collection of Dr. James Clark
Bottom: Sergeant York (detail), 1941. Off-set print, 27 x 40 inches. Collection of Dr. James Clark