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50 States: Arkansas & Political Gestures // Nick Vaughan & Jake Margolin

Photo by Simon Courchel

Photo by Simon Courchel

Houston-based artists Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin present two new pieces, the fifth in their ongoing series of interdisciplinary installations that connect little known LGBTQI2 histories from each state to contemporary queer experiences (50 States: Arkansas) and a five channel video installation featuring drag performers from Eastern Oklahoma (Political Gestures).

50 States: Arkansas focuses on an extraordinary inter-racial same-sex relationship in a small Ozarks town in the 1920s and explores the murkiness of exhuming histories that were intentionally kept secret.

Political Gestures features drag performances of overtly political queer music and lip-synced renditions of queer political speeches, largely from the 1979 March on Washington.

Artist Lecture/Performance
The Ballad of Jesse
(50 States: Arkansas)

Saturday, April 13 at 7:30pm

A 60-minute multi-media performance/lecture presented as part of Nick Vaughan & Jake Margolin's exhibition 50 States: Arkansas and Political Gestures.  Inspired by the 1920s inter-racial same-sex couple at the center of Nick & Jake’s 50 States: Arkansas, “The Ballad of Jesse” explores the murkiness of queer histories that have been casually or intentionally erased in a region scarred by a traumatic racial history and unfulfilled economic promise.

Free admission

Political Gestures was made in collaboration with Andrew Schneider, Carden Crow, Nikki LaVie, Gizele Monáe, Mercy Monroe, Anita Richards and Josie Lee Turrelle.

Political Gestures was commissioned by Aurora Picture Show (Houston, Texas), created in partnership with Tahlequality and Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, and was made possible with generous support from the Tulsa Artist Felloship.

This project was generously funded by Mid-America Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Windgate Charitable Foundation, Inc., and the state arts agencies of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Exhibition Sponsors
Surpik Angelini, John Bradshaw, Susana Monteverde, Ellen Bartell, Beverly McPhail & Kevin Kulish, Janice Rubin and Charles Wiese, Nina Rubin, Sherwin Rubin, Sixto Wagan, Cristian and Theresa Kelleher, Rina and Malcolm Margolin, Bob and Annie Bacon, Matt Hubbs and Meg Kelly, Rachel Chavkin and Jake Heinrichs, Risa Shoup and Di Glazer.

Special Thanks
Julia White, Shronn Schuelke, Rena Detrixhe, Caitlin Young, Erika Wilhite, Rachel Luster, and the Artist Laboratory Theater (Fayetteville, Arkansas), Bob Bacon, Surpik Angelini and the Transart Foundation for Art and Anthropology.

Nick and Jake are a married couple and have lived in Texas and Oklahoma since 2014 whilst researching and developing their 50 States Project. Their research-based practice draws from recent groundbreaking academic work, the artists’ own archival research, and significant time spent learning from and collaborating with local LGBTQ community members. 50 States Arkansas follows the Invisible Dog Art Center premiers of 50 States: Texas, Oklahoma & Colorado (2016) and 50 States: Wyoming (2014).

Nick and Jake are recipients of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Tulsa Artist Fellowship, have received grants from the MAP Fund, The Mid America Arts Alliance, the Idea Fund (a regrant program of the Andy Warhol Foundation) and the Houston Arts Alliance. They will have their first solo museum show in 2019 at the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art in Stillwater Oklahoma. They show with Devin Borden Gallery in Houston, Texas.

Instagram: @nickandjakestudio

On View
March 9–April 14, 2019

Opening Reception
Saturday, March 9

Performance Lecture
The Ballad of Jesse
Saturday, April 13 at 7:30pm


The Main Gallery
51 Bergen St.

Gallery Hours
Thursday–Saturday, 1–7pm
Sunday, 1–5pm