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Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin’s new large-scale, multimedia exhibition, 50 States: Louisiana, unearths a 1720s history of a same-sex couple involved in the burgeoning indigo trade in colonial Louisiana. The work uniquely connects this tale to a series of gay Mardi Gras Balls that were held at the New Orleans Longshoremen’s Union Hall in the 1960s. Through video, sculpture, and sound, the installation envelops audiences in a 300-year span of queer life along the Mississippi River.

As of March 16, 50 States: Louisiana is closed due to the ongoing public health emergency. The artists have created a single-channel adaptation of the work:

Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin, from 50 States: Louisiana, 2020, audio and single-channel video (adapted from six-channel multi-media gallery installation at DiverseWorks, Houston). Courtesy of the artists and Devin Borden Gallery, Houston.

Bringing together their research into Louisiana archives; interviews with members of New Orleans’ LGBTQ community, historians and indigo experts; and travels to Louisiana and Dauphin Island, Alabama to shoot on-site video footage, the artists have created a fascinating visual experience that connects lost historical narratives to contemporary queer culture and LGBTQ community organizations.

Commissioned by DiverseWorks, 50 States: Louisiana is the sixth part of a long-term project by the artists that brings to light little known LGBTQ+ histories from each U.S. state. To date, they have completed and presented innovative, multidisciplinary projects about Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Arkansas, in addition to Louisiana. The 50 States series is not only a visual art project giving visibility to suppressed historical narratives, but a life-structure allowing manifold avenues of inquiry, including lectures, performances, activist forums, an upcoming publishing collaboration, and the creation of interpersonal connections between otherwise siloed members of LGBTQ+ communities.

About the Artists

Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin are a collaborative artistic duo based in Houston, Texas. They have presented their work nationally in solo shows at Oklahoma State University Museum of Art (2019), Aurora Picture Show (2018), Devin Borden Gallery (2018), Houston Community College Gallery (2017), Art League Houston (2016) and Invisible Dog Art Center, Brooklyn (2016), and in group exhibitions at Fotofest (2017), 108 Contemporary, Tulsa (2016), and BRIC Arts Media/Brooklyn Historical Society (2015), among other venues. Their work was included in Stonewall 50 at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (2019), a group exhibition marking the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.  They are recipients of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, a Tulsa Artist Fellowship, and grants from the MAPFund, The Idea Fund, and the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance. Learn more about the artists at www.nickandjakestudio.com.


On Saturday, February 29, celebrate the opening of 50 States: Louisiana with a reception from 7-9 pm, and experience a special live performance at 8 pm by Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin, who will be joined by free feral and Jinks Holladay, both from New Orleans.

free feral is a multi-disciplinary artist whose songwriting explores psychic landscapes through blues and folk traditions using cello, viola, guitar, vocals, and loops. They have collaborated with Leyla McCalla, The Music Box Village, and Junebug Productions, among others. As a composer, they score film and radio projects, including Last Call, a queer oral history podcast, where they also served as a producer, editor, and host. free also had the honor to be one of Found Sound Nation’s One Beat Fellows for 2019 and is a member of the New Orleans based ensemble, Les Cenelles.

Jinks Holladay is a queer sailor and writer who builds radical networks of solidarity and mutual aid in the Gulf of Mexico and beyond. She is a founding member of the Telltales Sailing Collective, a project to provide sailing opportunities to people traditionally shut out of mainstream sailing culture, including trans and queer people, people of color, and women. She has worked on anti-fracking, indigenous solidarity, and reproductive justice access campaigns. Her present vision is for living into the utopias that are already happening right here, right now.

On View:

As of March 16, 2020, 50 States: Louisiana is closed until further notice due to the ongoing public health emergency.

February 29 – April 18, 2020

Opening Reception:

Saturday, February 29
Reception: 7 – 9 pm
Performance: 8 pm




Gallery @ MATCH
3400 Main Street
Houston, TX  77002


November 7, 2019
Cabin Boy Blue


DiverseWorks is a Fotofest Biennial 2020 Participating Space

Additional Information:


A Brief Introduction to 50 States: Louisiana by Xandra Eden
read & download the exhibition essay (pdf)

Last Call Presents: The Krewe of Ishtar
recorded live by free feral at the 50: States Louisiana opening on February 29, 2020