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Orange County
Stark Museum of Art
News Release
Monday, September 26, 2011

Stark Museum to Host Free Round-table Discussion of the Book The Orchid Thief

ORANGE, Texas - The Stark Museum of Art, Orange, Texas, will host a round-table discussion Orchidelirium: Past and Present on the book The Orchid Thief on Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. A panel will lead discussion, which will focus on the past and present of orchid collecting in the context of social and cultural history, art, economics, horticulture and protection of endangered species. Admission to the program is free. The Museum will offer light refreshments during the program and will give door prizes. This event is organized in conjunction with Orchid Festival at Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center that will take place from October 1 through 8.

The panel will be moderated by Andy Coughlan, Editor of ISSUE arts magazine, exhibiting artist and Interim Director of Student Publications, Lamar University. The panelists include James Burnes, M.A. (History) candidate, Lamar University; Jason Duncan, B.A. (English), senior McNair Scholar, Lamar University; Holly Hanson, B.S. (Plant Science and Horticulture), Volunteer Coordinator/Tour Coordinator at Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center; Dr. Elena Ivanova, Chief Educator at the Stark Museum of Art; Michael Saar, Assistant Professor and Reference Librarian, Mary & John Gray Library, Lamar University; and Dr. Steven J. Zani, Associate Professor of English and Chair of English and Modern Languages at Lamar University. The panel will invite audience participation. 

The Orchid Thief, a bestseller by Susan Orlean, is available for purchase at the Information Desk of the Stark Museum of Art. The questions for the discussion are posted on the Museum web site -

In relation to the book discussion and Orchid Festival, the Stark Museum of Art is presenting a mini-exhibit Orchids from the Hunt. It features lithographs of exotic orchids in nineteenth-century botanical publications. Two of the three beautiful flowers showcased in the exhibit were discovered by nineteenth-century orchid hunter and publisher Jean Jules Linden and the third one was named after him.

"Linden also originally discovered the Ghost Orchid, the flower that is the subject of the pursuit in The Orchid Thief, and his name is mentioned several times," commented Elena Ivanova, Chief Educator.  "We are fortunate to have nineteenth-century Belgian periodical L'Illustration Horticole, which was published by Linden, in our collection. The word 'orchidelirium' was coined in the nineteenth century as a fitting name for the wide-spread obsession with collecting and cultivating orchids. Susan Orlean re-opened the case of "orchidelirium" in her fact-based story about contemporary events in Florida. The book recounts an amazing tale about people who will stop at nothing, including crime, to satisfy their obsession with orchids. The panel will provide insights into the book for those not familiar with it, but for greater participation, we encourage attendees to read the book and the discussion questions on our web site in advance."

Located at 712 Green Avenue in Orange, Texas, the Stark Museum of Art is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Admission is free. Group tours are available by appointment. For more information, call 409.886.ARTS (2787) or visit

Photo 1: Dr. Elena Ivanova reading The Orchid Thief by the Orchids from the Hunt exhibit at Stark Museum of Art.

Photo 2: Alfred Goossens (1866 - 1944), artist; Pieter De Pannemaeker (active 19th century), lithographer; Jean Jules Linden (1817-1898), publisher; Odontoglossum ramosissimum, 1893, lithograph, 14.25 x 10.75 in., In L'Illustration Horticole, volume XL, plate CLXX; Stark Museum of Art, Orange, Texas, 11.69.4.EQ.

About the Stark Museum of Art: The Stark Museum of Art focuses on the stunning land, the dramatic people and the diverse wildlife of the American West. Paintings, sculpture and prints interpret the West from nineteenth century frontier artists to the twentieth century artistic colonies in New Mexico. Artists include John James Audubon, Frederic Remington, and Charles Marion Russell.
The Museum also features a significant collection of American Indian objects, including baskets, pottery, clothing and weavings. Other permanent collections in the Museum include the complete porcelain American Bird Series by Dorothy Doughty and the only complete series of The United States in Crystal, a collection of crystal urns produced by Steuben Glass to depict the 50 states and the Union.
The Stark Museum of Art is a program of the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, a private operating foundation, whose other programs include The W.H. Stark House, Frances Ann Lutcher Theater for the Performing Arts, Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center.

Remembering Jim Guidry

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